Monday, October 2, 2023

Design Awardees


The Design Awards recognize design excellence of built and unbuilt work in
Connecticut or in
other locations by Connecticut-based firms.

2022 Design Awards Jury:

Wendy Evans Joseph,

Founder and Principal
Studio Joseph
New York, NY

David J. Lewis
School of Constructed Environments
New York, NY

Megan Panzano
Assistant Professor of Architecture
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Kim Yao, FAIA
Architecture Research Office
New York, NY

Congratulations 2022 Design Award Winners!

Adaptive Reuse

Sacred Heart University Toussaint Hall | The S/L/A/M Collaborative
Photography: Alain Jaramillo

The adaptive reuse of this 5-story, 62,000sf elderly skilled nursing tower is the first phase of a new residential village of on-campus student housing.The master planning is made possible by the departure of a retirement center to a new location, adding 15 acres to the campus’ 77 acres in a strategically central location.

Attuned specifically for the social needs of younger students, the interior is designed to create friendships through a cascade effect of expanding personal interactions and connections: self, roommate, suitemate, floormate, dormmate, schoolmate.

Jury comments: This project made clear and radical changes to the interconnectivity and feel of the interior through smart surgical adjustments. Impactful transformation of tough existing building.

for Exterior Architecture & Planning

Brim + Crown | Beinfield Architecture
Photography: Meg Matyia (Beinfield Architecture)

The Brim & Crown project located at the East Norwalk train station, involves the adaptive reuse of the Hat Corporation of America factory constructed in 1929, into a mix of uses. The building contains 42 residential units, first floor offices & retail, a restaurant, and a co-working component. The raw industrial character of the factory’s concrete structure is celebrated with salvaged windows and exposed steel structures, used to define interior spaces. The look and feel of the interior takes inspiration from depictions of the basement of the chateau in France where the Rolling Stones recorded their Exile of Main Street album. The lounge, illuminated by crystal chandeliers, becomes a great hang out space by day and party space by night. Reclaimed wood floors, clad select elements and new materials maintain and enhance the industrial quality of the existing building, including sheets of raw steel and exposed OSB. Perimeter walls were covered in a graffiti mural by a well-known graffiti artist Jahmane, to provide color and vibrant contrast while remembering the building’s past lives.

Jury comments: Really wonderful use of materials to enliven the original building. 

Architecture: Encompassing Art

Jury comments: Important research and in service of the profession and its future. Well-composed arguments and graphics on the potentials of buildings as carbon sinks and, specifically, what considerations carry most weight to that end.

Timber City | Gray Organschi Architecture

The growth and urbanization of global populations anticipated over the next several decades will create an enormous demand for buildings and infrastructure. As cities expand in size and density, the manufacturing of materials required for constructing mid- and high-rise urban buildings will create a significant spike in greenhouse gas emissions. This carbon debt could take decades to offset through operational energy efficiencies alone.

A small interdisciplinary team of architects, forest and industrial ecologists, social scientists and climate change researchers gathered in New Haven, Connecticut and Potsdam, Germany to consider the possibility of exploiting an anticipated global building boom as a means to mitigate rather than exacerbate climate change. Could the use of bio-based, carbon-storing materials such as timber, bamboo, and other forms of plant cellulose to construct dense urban building landscapes serve as a technique to offset the production stage emissions produced by the extraction and manufacture of building components?

Our transdisciplinary team of authors focused on concerns about the feasibility of sustainable forest harvest at the global scale and weighed a variety of potential mechanisms for the transfer of woody plant material into urban building structures, ultimately designing a study that assessed the relative potential of major structural materials to either accelerate or mitigate climate change, an approach described in a Nature Sustainability “Perspective”.

Commercial, Industrial, Educational, and Multi-Family Residential Design (over 25,000sf)

Yale University Humanities Quadrangle | Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Photography: Peter Vanderwarker

Awarded LEED Gold and centralizing fifteen dispersed academic departments, this adaptive reuse and expansion celebrates collaboration, community, and campus landmark renewal. Working with stakeholders campus-wide, programming and design was a two-year effort. A three-year construction schedule required a monumental commitment from client and design teams.

The project repurposes historic settings, expands without adding footprint, unifies a disparate building, and clarifies wayfinding. The design opens the closed, complex building and fosters chance encounters and collaboration essential to on-campus experiences. Open space, fresh air, and retention of historic resources reflect a commitment to sustainability, health, and heritage.

94% of existing structure was reused, with all historic masonry and millwork restored. 84% of new wood was FSC-certified, with all workplace furnishings manufactured within 30 miles of the site. Energy conservation measures included new windows with interior storm sash, displacement ventilation in historic spaces, and high-performing air handling units with heat recovery. Predicted EUI is 78, with 33.4% energy cost savings. Historic lighting was refurbished with LED and supplemented with new fixtures, resulting in 37% reduction in lighting power density. The new stormwater management system captures rainwater with a 71% decrease in runoff from the two-year 24-hour design storm.

Jury comments: Impressive renovation, transformation and insertion, reworking from within to address campus needs of today and future. The technical achievements of building this with existing towers and buildings in-situ are impressive.

Greenwich Academy New Lower School & Middle School Expansion | Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Photography: Michael Moran

Completed in 2021, this project transforms the campus of an independent day school for girls with a mission centered on diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Building upon the campus master plan, the project sought to create a landscaped campus entrance, preserve open space, and provide 21st-century classrooms. Developed with faculty and leadership, the project adds a new Lower School and a renovated Middle School to a reimagined landscape, highlighting a commitment to the academic and leadership development of students – one-third of whom identify as students of color – as well as to stewardship of the environment and community.

The buildings, featuring cedar board-and-batten siding and local fieldstone that references Connecticut and campus building traditions, frame a new campus entrance. Accessible pathways connect to a sloped, shared courtyard with “pods” for outdoor learning and gathering. The Lower School features an exposed structure with painted acoustical deck. Hallways are lined with Douglas fir, glass window walls, and doors. Flexible learning spaces feature matching wood ceiling clouds.

Jury comments: This project works beautifully from planning concept to materiality to the quality of the playful interiors. Beautiful, elegant, and works toward manifesting diversity, inclusion, and belonging in spatial interconnectivity and materials.

Jury comments: Very fine renovation, with clear objectives to honor the past while updated to today. Impressive refresh that still feels true to nice aspects of original design.

Athey Center for Performance and Research | Ennead Architects
Photography: Aislinn Weidele / Ennead

The transformation of Palmer Auditorium into the new Athey Center enhances the 1939 Art Deco building, designed by William F. Lamb, to be an accessible and inclusive communal space of assembly and a hub for arts education and innovation. The revitalization modernizes the building while honoring the Palmer family’s wish for it to be a “continuing benefit alike to college and community” – a shared destination for both town and gown.

The project scope included exterior restoration, improved accessibility, abatement, system upgrade, and interior renovations.

Stylistically, the design approach drew inspiration from original Art Deco fixtures and stone and metalwork motifs found throughout the building seamlessly blending old and new.

Gant Science Complex Renovation | Goody Clancy & Mitchell|Giurgola
Photography: Robert Benson Photography

This 288,990-square-foot complex located in Manchester, CT, houses research and teaching labs, classrooms, and offices for Physics and Biology. The building was designed by Westcott and Mapes Architects and Engineers (1974) with an addition by Allan Dehar Associates (2002); phased-while-occupied renovation phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2021.

The renovation transforms the dated building into a modern, welcoming campus center for science. State-of-the-art labs support 21st-century pedagogies and research. New collaboration spaces encourage community. Site and circulation improvements increase accessibility and cross-campus connection. A renewed envelope and efficient systems improve energy performance and comfort.

Jury comments: Really complex and compelling interweaving of new commons corridor through older buildings.

Walter P. Carter/Lois T. Murray Elementary/Middle Schools | Newman Architects, PC
Photography: Francis Dzikowski

This new public school building, completed in 2021 in Northeast Baltimore, combines the student populations of two existing elementary/middle schools. It also co-locates the Lois T. Murray School, which serves students with significant cognitive disabilities from across the district.

The building emphasizes collaborative and interactive learning in flexible and adaptable spaces. The classroom blocks are organized so that age cohorts each have their own “home” with daylit perimeter classrooms surrounding a shared collaborative zone and teacher offices. In the lobby, a second-floor bridge connects the two upper wings of Walter P. Carter and makes visible the choreography of students moving through the building.

Jury comments: The design of this project blends carefully with the site surrounding it through scale, aperture patterning, and material choices. Nice and simple design with good sustainability targets.

Commercial, Industrial, Educational, and Multi-Family Residential Design (under 25,000sf)

Art Lab | Joeb Moore + Partners, Architects, L.L.C.
Photography: Michael Biondo

Located in southern Connecticut, the Art Lab (completed 2021) is artist residency space, gallery and home to the Lost and Found Lab, created in honor of illustrator James Stevenson. The foundation’s mission is to provide a work and living space to visual artists, scholars, curators, writers, and interdisciplinary thinkers drawn to exploring the relationship between visual art and the written word. The building seeks to encapsulate this mission in physical form.

The structure was designed and constructed with sustainable features as an imperative; it sits atop the existing footprint of a former 1947 structure which was carefully deconstructed and elements returned to the market in order to minimize use of landfill. The original wood framing was repurposed as millwork elements throughout the new building. Similarly, triple glazed windows conserve energy and reduce the heating and cooling loads of the building, which are served by an all-electric system. Furthermore, radiant heat is embedded into the polished poured in-place concrete floors.

The Art Lab ultimately aspires to house a space for reflection and production, reinforcing the human experience and engagement with art, architecture and nature.

Jury comments: Beautiful and thoughtful project. Appreciate the sensitivity to site placement and repurposing of existing footprint and millwork elements in design.

‘r kids Family Center | Newick Architects
Photography: Tim Nighswander

The ‘r kids Family Center in New Haven is a place where families are re-formed and renewed. The new structure, approximately triple its original size, faces toward Dixwell Avenue with a refined, sculptural façade made up of 82 aluminum fins alternating with facetted wood-veneer Panels. The façade is the structure’s public face and presents the Center to passersby as thoughtful, reserved, and, as the sun moves across it throughout the day, rather beautiful. This feels an apt summation for a place so committed to restoring hope to children and their families.

Jury comments: Really beautiful exterior. Successful expansion of existing building on constrained site.

34 Old Kings Highway | Beinfield Architecture
Photography: Meg Matyia (Beinfield Architecture)

The project is among the first mass timber buildings in Connecticut using cross laminated timber as it’s structural, walls, floors and ceiling systems. The use cross laminated timber as a finish material adds both warmth and coolness to the space. A fiber cement exterior skin applied over a rain screen provides a crisp and environmentally friendly exterior expression. A roof deck expands the office environment to the outside and provides exterior informal gathering space.

Jury comments: Really appreciate the use of timber in the project. Great interiors.

Interior Architecture

Office for Creatives | Thiel Architecture + Design
Photography: Samuel Sachs Morgan Photography

Impacted by the pandemic, COLLINS, an award-winning branding and design firm, closed its Union Square office in New York and, like most creative firms, streamlined its operations. Mothered by necessity, a new office paradigm was born. Founder and chief creative officer Brian Collins, noting that his business was able to function and, in new ways, flourish while his employees worked from home, decided to down-size his physical office so that it functioned less as a ‘workhouse’ and more as a ‘clubhouse’, a gathering place where employees come together to re-energize, Zoom with remote clients and collaborators, and do intermittent touchdown work. Staff schedules were freed from physical space.

When one enters COLLINS Brooklyn, completed in fall 2021, the visitor is greeted with floor-to-ceiling library shelves holding 30,000+ volumes of resource publications including first edition design classics, philosophy, poetry, comics, pop culture and fashion. It's embracing, bold black finishes, with classic Modern furnishings create a dramatic introduction to the firm’s core principles. With an eye on sustainability, the industrial shelving, and many of the furnishings, were repurposed and reused from Collins' Union Square office which the architects had designed a few years earlier.

Jury comments: Nicely conceived and executed with clear intentions and cheerful palette. Smart design within tight urban footprint.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Campus | JCJ Architecture
Photography: Robert Benson Photography

Located in the Blue Hills neighborhood in Hartford’s North End, the MLK Campus began service to the community as Weaver High School. Slated for closure and demolition in 2015, the community rallied to MLK’s defense. In response the City and Hartford Public Schools advanced a request for funding to renovate the school to as-new condition. Funding was approved to replicated or emulate original details such as damaged plaster, ceilings and moldings. All parties rallied around the common goal to preserve and reveal original features; to transforming the building to provide rich and dynamic educational experiences to students; and to deliver the project on a fast track schedule.

Jury comments: Great restoration of building. Lovely sense of simplicity with the new that does not compete with the existing.

Residential Design

Mount Mauwee House | Paul Schulhof, Architect

Photography: Michael Moran (Michael Moran Studio)

Located in the foothills of the Berkshires, the Mount Mauwee House is tucked deep into the woods on one of the highest peaks in Connecticut. Its deceptively simple form uses prefabricated trusses and traditional building methods to create a cost-effective and energy efficient 2,200 SF house within a minimal footprint. The design gives an appearance of a single-story home, yet upon entering, the interior opens up to a series of light-filled lofted spaces over three stories. The uppermost floor is contained within an asymmetric hip roof, while the lowest floor is embedded below grade into the steep hillside.

The exterior is clad in a natural handmade brick providing texture and thermal mass. Contrasting the cool appearance of the brick, window frames constructed of solid wood increase the R value of the glazing assembly.

Modest in scale and cost, the Mount Mauwee House achieves a timelessness through its simplicity, innovative use of standard construction methods, rigorous attention to detail, and responsiveness to the site.

Jury comments: Small, appropriately scaled and compelling house, interesting section, and thoughtful approach to site. The design shows restraint and focuses attention on the spectacular views.

Sharon Carriage House | ALAO
Photography: Tony Luong

Sited to the rear of a 1920’s colonial-revival home this contemporary carriage house combines garage and accommodation with bonus spaces for recreation. The carriage house consists of meticulously designed vehicle and sports-equipment storage alongside recreation, dwelling, and home office spaces. Our team created a light filled open-plan that fulfilled the client’s program requirements within a limited building footprint by visually connecting rooms through the calculated placement of openings, the use of double height spaces, and a continuity of materials between spaces. The sense of openness is the result of the careful detailing of space and materials to create something that can celebrate the utilitarian and enhance the day-to-day.

The contextual form and natural materials ground the carriage house within its rural context: The charred wood façade and dark roof material complement the main house, cedar garage door panels pull tones from the surrounding forest, and locally sourced stone cladding draws inspiration from the perimeter walls of the property. At the interior, the generous use of utilitarian birch plywood to line the garage, coupled with the separation of the roof from the wall by means of a clerestory window creates a warmth in the enclosure and a lightness of structure. The carriage house, is a tool for fun: for guests, for snow toys, for play, for the family to come together. It is, as our clients call it: “the fun house”.

Jury comments: Project achieves combinatory use in single footprint with locally sourced materials and elegant, innovative, precise detailing. Nicely executed with some very special compositions.

Unbuilt Design

Wolf Creek | Nick Darin Architect

Wolf Creek is an unbuilt home design for a young family, situated in the backwoods of Greenwich, CT.

The project was inspired by the dry stack stone wall, a ubiquitous symbol of the New England landscape. The project aimed to keep the elegance of the dry stack wall, at the scale of a home. Traditional dry stack walls cannot be stacked much higher than 4’-5’ before becoming unstable. To combat this, we created a simple system of steel plates and cables. Steel plates, located every 4’, contain the stone and allow it to be stacked much higher. Steel cables strung between the plates add an additional layer of security.

Jury comments: Inventive study and beautiful design represented in stack stone at larger scale. Nice project and use of materials.