Environmental Design Research Association Announces Recipients of 15th Annual Great Places Awards

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Awards presented at EDRA Awards Banquet in Providence, RI.

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Seven exemplary projects in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and urban design have been named winners of the 2013 Great Places Awards and were honored during the 44th annual conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), May 29-June 1, 2013. The EDRA Great Places Awards recognizes professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design and pay special attention to the relationship between physical form and human activity or experience.

A 2013 Place Design Award recipient, Perkins + Will’s “1315 Peachtree Street, Atlanta,” is a formerly derelict 1986 office building renovated into a six-story urban, adaptive reuse, high performance building. Completed in 2010, this LEED® Platinum project is a result of a rich participatory design process and rigorous research conducted in pre- and post-occupancy evaluations, and serves as a living example of how design can contribute to the healthy growth and development of its inhabitants.

Another 2013 Place Design Award recipient, “Dublin Grounds of Remembrance,” from PLANT Architect Inc. is a one-acre park that honors the service of veterans and revitalizes Dublin, Ohio’s heritage settlement. The project was deeply rooted in examinations of how architecture can be used to frame, reveal, and engage the landscape white connecting people to the site and navigating their experience of place; the plan eschewed a traditional monument in favor of promoting the act of walking and social gathering.

“Northerly Island Park Framework Plan,” from SmithGroupJJR, Inc. and Studio Gang Architects, one of two recipients of the 2013 Place Planning Award, embraces Chicago’s overarching lakefront principle of unfettered public access while extending the city’s green and sustainable design principles to its waterfront in a more comprehensive, ecologically-driven way. The framework establishes four major zones transitioning from urban/active to natural/passive use, and from woodland to waterfront ecology.

The second recipient in the Place Planning Award category, “Unified Ground: National Mall Competition, Union Square,” from Gustafson Guthrie Nichol presents an opportunity to overlay and enrich Union Square’s plaza in Washington, D.C. with spaces for informal activities; features and textures that respond to the underlying natural landform of the site; the day-to-day patterns of movement through the city; and the diverse needs and the desires of the people who visit. The plan extends the formal axis of the Mall into Union Square as a pool, plaza, and additional pathways.

The recipient of the 2013 Place Research Award, “Pop Up City: Temporary Use Strategies for a Shrinking City,” from the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University, is an action-based research program that explores ideas of urban reinvention through temporary projects, versus the public officials’ preference for permanent projects. The research has been integrated into the graduate architecture curriculum at Kent State, in the form of design/build exercises that culminate in the deployment and assessment of temporary projects.

The 2013 Place Book Award recipient, “Urban Composition” by Mark C. Childs begins with and aims to answer the question: “How can civil designers – architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, public artists, city council members, and others – collaborate in the collective work of creating environmentally sound, socially resilient, and soul-enlivening settlements?” Urban Composition addresses designers, but also serves as a teach tool for emergent design.

The Placemaking Award: Providence Award—a special recognition of the transformation of an environment over a number of years—was presented to “WaterFire Providence,” from WaterFire Providence®, a non-profit arts organization. This project consists of an evolving public art installation of music, floating fires, art, and dance along three rivers in downtown Providence continuously morphing in response to active, citizen grass-roots participation and the on-going expansion of the river park system.

The esteemed jury for the 2013 Great Places Awards included Julian Bonder, Principal, Wodiczko + Bonder; Gayle Epp, Partner, EJP Consulting; Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human Centered Design; Peter M. Hourihan, LEED®AP, Principal & Director of Research, Cannon Design; and Mikyoung Kim, Principal & Design Director, Mikyoung Kim Design. Ms. Epp, Ms. Fletcher and Mr. Hourihan were on hand to present the awards during the EDRA Awards Banquet on June 1.

To learn more about each of these projects, visit http://www.edra.org/content/great-places-awards.

About EDRA: The Environmental Design Research Association is an international, interdisciplinary organization founded in 1968 by design professionals, social scientists, students, educators, and facility managers. EDRA exists to advance and disseminate environmental design research, thereby improving understanding of the interrelationships between people, their built and natural surroundings toward creation and curation of environments responsive to human needs. For more information on the organization, membership, and services provided, visit http://www.edra.org.

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