The Design Awards recognize design excellence of built and unbuilt work in
Connecticut or in other locations by Connecticut-based firms.
2021 Design Awards Jury:
Founder and Principal
Andrew Herdeg, FAIA
Lake | Flato Architects
Assistant Professor & Chair of Admissions
Yale School of Architecture
Congratulations 2021 Design Award Winners!
Corporate Tech/Co-work Campus | Kenneth Boroson Architects, LLC
Photography: Peter Brown - Woodruff/Brown Architectural Photography
This corporate innovation campus is the adaptive reuse of a defunct, neglected transit bus garage originally constructed in 1948, located on the outskirts of New Haven. The structure now includes a wide variety of tenants ranging from biotech startups to law offices and corporate branches all with a focus on aiding startup bio-tech businesses. The main building was completely transformed and includes a central atrium. Former leaking skylights and uninsulated garage doors were replaced with new energy efficient skylights and functional insulated glass “garage doors” to provide open-air work-spaces. The co-working open work-spaces required both flexibility and privacy. The design includes individual offices of various sizes as well as “phone booth rooms” and small meeting spaces.
Jury comments: Highly successful project that manages to dramatically transform while taking advantage of the unique qualities and characteristics of the original garage in the comprehensive way. Design shows respect for existing fabric and takes advantages of inherent opportunities.
Commercial, Industrial, Educational, and Multi-Family Residential Design
Washington Art Association | Gray Organschi Architecture
Photography: Millie Yoshida
For more than six decades, the Washington Art Association and Gallery (WAA) has served the artistic community of rural Northwest Connecticut through a diverse array of gallery shows, workshops, and installations. While the gallery was originally located in the town’s Post Office, in 1955 WAA purchased a small brick building and a series of milk sheds that would become the association’s permanent home in the center of Washington Depot, CT. In the intervening years, WAA has gained a national reputation for curating innovative exhibitions featuring internationally-renowned artists; however, their physical space remained largely unchanged from the 1950s, limiting their ability to display larger works of art and restricting access to visitors with disabilities.
Clad entirely in whitewashed spruce, the bright, naturally-lit entrance portal presents a sharp contrast to the artificially-lit galleries of the existing, colonial brick building. Additionally, the design team’s decision to include low-energy fixtures, exposed concrete floors, and a planted roof on the entry portal speaks to an ethos of employing simple, sustainable, and elegant material choices to maximize the addition’s impact while minimizing its carbon footprint and construction budget.
Jury comments: Beautiful, simple, well-resolved project. Sumptuous but restrained use of natural materials. Well-detailed and intelligent.
315 Buckingham Street Garage | Amenta Emma Architects
Photography: Robert Benson Photography
As part of the scope for the State Office Building renovation, our firm designed a new 1,000 space mixed-use parking garage adjacent to the building. The project involved the demolition of a tattered 450 space parking garage and service station. The new garage features full height ‘waffle spandrel panels’ of white precast concrete serving both structural and aesthetic purposes. The six levels of panels float above two levels of recessed spandrels, lightening the presence of the massive structure. Color coded floor graphics are color matched to LED lighting, allowing nighttime and daytime wayfinding. Ground floor retail spaces line the street-facing west elevation, located along a major pedestrian and vehicular boulevard.
Jury comments: Creative use of precast panels resulting in interesting patterns, textures, and color displays.
600 Canal Place | Pickard Chilton
Photography: © David Sundberg/Esto
600 Canal offers dramatic views of the James River and downtown and establishes a new identity for the client and Richmond. Acknowledging the city’s historical connection to the river, its curved enclosure is inspired by the shape of the sails of the ships that historically traveled the river and the city’s canals. Stainless steel diagonal rods articulate the sweeping façades to emphasize this metaphor. Culminating in a crisp tower top, its billowing sail reflects the river, city, and sky.
Certified LEED-NC Gold, 600 Canal provides for the comfort, health, and well-being of employees. High-performance low-E glazing, energy-efficient systems, including under-floor air and occupancy sensors, reduce energy use while improving indoor air quality and individual thermal comfort control. The enclosure ushers natural light into each floor.
Jury comments: Very interesting building. The siting, landscape and structure work together quite well.
New Lebanon Elementary School | TSKP Studio
Photography: Robert Benson Photography
New Lebanon, an elementary International Baccalaureate (IB) World Magnet school for students from preschool to fifth grade, was built to accommodate a population that had outgrown the walls of the old school. The additional space also provides for preschool classes and magnet seats, two components of the district racial balance plan. The new building brings unity and PreK and Kindergarteners back into the IB community where previously, they were excluded.
Jury comments: Compelling ideas, worthy strategies, sound performance, and interesting organization. Playful and beautifully conceived in its directness.
University of New Haven, Bergami Center for Innovation, Science, and Technology | Svigals + Partners
Photography: Peter Aaron/OTTO
The Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation is the University of New Haven’s first new significant academic building in 40 years. Gold LEED certified, the three-story transformational facility represents the University’s commitment to preparing the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers, while also supporting a shift toward collaborative and interdisciplinary modes of teaching and learning.
Jury comments: Nice composition and arrangement of forms. Feels like a great academic environment. Thoughtful and well done addition.
Art Barn | John Martin Associates Architects
Photography: Robert Benson Photography
In the process of structurally repairing the Art Barn much of the original building was uncovered, left exposed, and integrated into the renovated structure. Three fire escapes were replaced with three interior stairs and an elevator. Originally, the central pavilion was used to wash horse drawn carriages. This space is now a light filled entry with two offices, a print room and an elevator with a wraparound staircase. In the central pavilion dry wall was removed which exposed an original brick wall with an arch. This arch is now the entry to the new elevator. Bricks were removed on either side of the arch to incorporate two new openings with granite lintels above leading to new staircases.
The Art Barn is not open year-round, lending itself to a sustainable design. There is no heat or air conditioning in the art and music spaces on the first and second floors. With no mechanical system, natural fresh air is supplied to the indoor spaces by two large exhaust fans in the exterior cupolas on each wing. This natural ventilation cools these spaces and has a positive impact on the building’s total comfort and energy use.
Jury comments: Simple and restrained renovation with very nice use of daylight and a simple palette. Colors and materials enhance the shapes of the original barn.
575 Madison Avenue | Amenta Emma Architects
Photography: Robert Benson Photography
The design concept for the 2,000-square-foot spaced employs the extensive use of back-painted glass, both black and white, to make the space feel larger, its volume lifted. The effect is immediate from the street, where the heavy stainless transom above the revolving doors has been replaced by a 9-foot-tall by 17-foot-6-inch-long glass surround. At night, the entry appears to float. Walnut strips and linear LED lights pull the eye from the street to the back of the space, uniting two elevator lobbies. Glass walls, weighing more than 800 pounds per panel, contribute to the feeling of greater volume. Toe-kick lights around the low perimeter of the floor enhance the effect of floating glass.
Jury comments: Patterning and reflectivity does a lot with a few judicious and coherent choices. Creative and strategic use of materials. The wood adds an important sense of warmth to balance with the glass panels.
Hill House | Joeb Moore + Partners, Architects, LLC
Photography: Joeb Moore & Partners
Located in Litchfield County, Hill House occupies a naturally terraced site, shielded from view from the country drive by a forest grove of specimen trees. The house itself nestled between a ledge outcropping, historic hickory grove and a long sloping meadow, which provides panoramic views from both woodland property and built structure. The buildings are situated within the existing landscape to create indoor and outdoor rooms that respond to site and program conditions within and beyond. The central gallery or “break” between the active and passive spaces serves as a meditative room and gallery for the owner’s collection of art. Focused views are directed to both the meadow and the exposed rock ledge at the entry, where the groundscape has been displaced to the green roofscape of the building.
Jury comments: Handsome use of minimalist regional forms. Beautifully detailed and crafted. Quiet elegant material palette and colors.
Little Harbor House | Gray Organschi Architecture
Photography: David Sundberg (Esto) and Yanbo Li
Nestled in a wooded cove with views over a small harbor toward the Long Island Sound, this house was originally designed by Carleton Granbery and built in the late 1950s by our client’s grandparents. 60 years later, our client and her husband approached us, seeking an update to her childhood home. She was the third generation to have lived in the house and wanted to renovate and update it for her own young family. The house was reimagined from the ground up, keeping the existing carport intact. The building’s minimally abstract volume, articulated by an undulating, folded roofscape, is anchored atop granite outcroppings quintessential to the Connecticut coastline. To the southwest, the massing erodes, revealing expansive glazing and terraces which offer dramatic views over the new pool to the harbor and beyond.
Jury comments: Handsome and simple. Beautiful spaces and materials that connect inhabitants to the landscape and natural environment.
Pond House | Roger Ferris + Partners
Photography: Paúl Rivera
The Pond House, located on an a large pond, was designed with spectacular water views in mind. The residence provides a refuge, gently ensconced in the land, and seamlessly blending into its surrounding context. The objective was to create a variety of living spaces within the building forms, while maximizing functionality and taking advantage of the stunning views. Each volume focuses on the view overlooking a pool which faces the water beyond. The placement of the building on the site is in response to the challenge of preserving mature specimen trees and environmental regulations; however the natural plantings and trees provide screening and shading from the sun. Simple volumes of glass are shrouded in delicate western red cedar slats, providing a subtle, layered interior experience and helping to manage solar heat gain.
Jury comments: Sensitive relationship between two forms. Exterior wall details with horizontal boards add to the sculptural quality of the project. Simplified details are very calming.
Citation for Reimagination
Essex River House | Robert Orr & Associates, LLC
Photography: OTTO Peter Aaron
The 1848 Essex River House sits in Essex Village near the Griswold Inn, stretching from Main Street to the Connecticut River. During the previous 10 years, the house “suffered” 6 top to bottom renovations. Not one shred survived to suggest the original building. Thus, a process of reimagining the house turned into a 6-year process. Thence emerged a unique collaboration between client, architect, garden designer, interior decorator, builder, and ghost as we worked together to imagine the original architect alive today.
In the end, we designed a main house, a carriage house, and a summer house on the tiny lot, along with a rose garden, a secret garden, an urn garden, a loft garden, a tapis vert, an old-fashioned perennial garden, and an entry garden. Los Angeles artist Scott Waterman painted a mural wrapping the dining room to showcase the four seasons, which come to life as the sun shines on them.
Jury comments: Trying to reimagine the detailing of an existing building that has deteriorated is quite a different matter from starting from scratch, building a new house that looks like an old house. This project is particularly well proportioned and thought out.
Carbon Containment Lab | Gray Organschi Architecture
The Yale Carbon Containment Lab (CC Lab) launched in January 2020 as part of the Yale School of the Environment. Shortly after the CC Lab launched its research operations, their leadership team engaged our office to develop a strategic masterplan and conceptual building design for their offices and research space at Yale. Given the CC Lab’s mission to address carbon removal with scalable, cost-effective strategies, we developed a design and construction approach that minimized embodied and operational emissions, maximized the carbon storage potential of building components and systems, and optimized an undervalued site within Yale’s New Haven campus. The proposed CC Lab would directly abut the largest greenhouse, taking advantage of its existing thermal envelope and foundation retaining wall.
Jury comments: Great project demonstrating best practices. Thoughtfully engages various parts of the site and sloping topography.
Stuckbridge Park | TSKP Studio
Adaptive reuse of the Crook Point Bascule Bridge and adjacent brownfield sites at the shores of the Seekonk River. As an alternative to demolition, the City’s planning department sought out ideas for reuse of the defunct bridge. This design preserves the landmark Crook Point Bascule Bridge, without modification to the main structure, as the centerpiece of a vibrant new urban landscape. The Bridge is a monument to American industry. Its cultural value, however, is what makes the imposing steel structure truly worthy of preservation. Generations of trepidatious visitors: Brown crew teams, Providence’s legendary punk rockers, and graffiti and street artists, have contributed to making the Bascule Bridge not just a landmark but an icon.
Jury comments: Nice, thoughtful design that animates the surrounding public space and transforms simple open space to a true public park. The value of ruins and the idea to reuse it is strong.