Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, president of the American Institute of Architects’ New York Chapter, and Rick Bell, FAIA, the organization’s executive director, offered their expert perspectives on the three New York City-based winners of the trade and advocacy group’s 2014 architecture design awards in an exclusive email interview with Commercial Observer.
The three local architecture “honor award” designees make up a larger group of 13 awardees and 22 merit recipients in four categories that includes national and international projects by New York City-based architects culled from 383 submissions by four separate juries convened for the occasion, and the organization’s two prominent leaders explained both the beauty and sophistication of the winners as well as the idea behind the contest.
“Our awards program varies from year to year based on the challenges facing the profession, opportunities provided by clients, and the theoretical pursuits, technical innovations, and aesthetic interests that the competitors bring to their work,” Mr. Brown wrote. “It is our hope that the submissions will illuminate current concerns and serve as a means of recognition for the competitors and new knowledge for the viewers. The expression of evolving generations coming to grips with changing demographics, climate, and technology is extremely exciting for all involved.”
Donald Judd Home and Studio: 101 Spring Street
Architect: Architecture Research Office
Client: Judd Foundation
Mr. Bell: The Donald Judd Home and Studio received an award because it succeeds in doing the impossible – preserving the work and home environment of world-renowned artist Donald Judd. The restored 8,500 square foot home looks like Judd just stepped out for a cup of coffee.
Mr. Brown: The late 1800s Soho home and studio is a “twofer.” It preserves, with the highest level of care and expertise, a building that represents the critical qualities of its era and that also served as an incubator of one of our most defining artists. The subtlety of both the building and artist reflects and belies the magic of this project.
4 World Trade Center
Architect: Maki and Associates
Client: Silverstein Properties
Mr. Bell: Its visible form, rising over the construction sites of adjacent towers-to-be, mirrors and refracts the complexity of Manhattan since Sept. 11, 2001. Its detailing carefully brings human scale to a tall structure, while its lobby-level artwork draws the eye upward, beyond the mundane. Most importantly its mix of uses, including retail and access to mass-transit, speak to the next generation of Manhattan commercial buildings, schooled by structures in Tokyo and Hong Kong, but, in this instance, a self-made Lower Manhattan success story.”
Mr. Brown: Fumihiko Maki has graced Ground Zero with a most elegant and sophisticated work of architecture, with a capital ‘A.’ Clearly conceived, contextually responsive, with extremely innovative detailing and a material palette that nourishes all the senses. A visit to the lobby evidences the serious and sensitive respect the building pays to the sacred site it fronts, reflecting the trees to brace the guests, visitors, and pilgrims.
Campbell Sports Center: Broadway and 218th Street
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Client: Columbia University
Mr. Bell: Steven Holl has created an athletic facility for Columbia University that gives a shout-out to the importance of physical activity in everyday life, as symbolized by the welcoming covered exterior stair. The double-height workout space at the Campbell Sports Center is tied into the city’s fabric, being at the same level of the playing fields but also the elevated subway.
Mr. Brown: A cacophony of action! Dynamic. Lively! Illuminated! A perfect counterpoint to exercising the mind, connecting the body and soul. A building that marks our march into the brave new resilient world.
Other honor award winners include Bjarke Ingels Group’s Danish Maritime Museum in Denmark and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects‘ Johnson Museum of Art addition and alteration in Ithaca, NY. For a full list of winners, visit the AIANY website.