Now in its 32nd year, the biennial(RBA) celebrates transformative places in recognition of their physical design and contributions to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of U.S. cities. Following a rigorous evaluation process, the 2019 Gold and Silver Medalists were recently announced. Memphis-based Crosstown Concourse won the top Gold Medal award and $50,000 cash prize to support their project.
Completed in 2017, Crosstown Concourse is the $210 million rehabilitation of a historic Sears, Roebuck & Company distribution center into a mixed-use vertical village. As the biggest adaptive reuse project in Tennessee and the largest LEED Platinum Certified historic adaptive reuse project in the world, the 16-acre development integrates housing, offices, restaurants, and retail along with nonprofit arts and culture, health and wellness, and educational organizations.
Once home to the city’s largest employer, the 1.5-million-square-foot structure was abandoned in 1993 and stood vacant for more than 20 years. In 2010, Christopher Miner and Todd Richardson founded, a nonprofit arts organization to create a vision for its redevelopment that would cultivate the city’s creative community through “an open and inclusive place designed to dissolve barriers to access.” The development was made possible in part by a partnership with (co-developer), and commitments from eight founding partner organizations dedicated to arts, education, and healthcare that collectively leased over 400,000 square feet in the building, as well as financing from federal Historic and New Market Tax Credits and support from the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Designed by Memphis-based in association with (Vancouver) and (UK), Crosstown Concourse is now home to 40 diverse tenants including a charter high school, and 265 apartments housing over 400 residents.
“Crosstown Concourse has received a number of highly regarded awards over the past year, but this one is really special,” said SteelStacks Arts & Cultural Campus in Pennsylvania and in Seattle is both exciting and daunting. We are encouraged by the growing, diverse community in Crosstown but also know we have work to do to create the kind of inclusive and sustainable impact we aspire to. The RBA Gold Medal prize will further this goal by supporting the ongoing arts events and programming that contribute to the unique Crosstown experience.”Co-Director/Co-Founder Todd Richardson. “We have been inspired by past RBA winners, and to be in the company of Gold Medalists like
“The 2019 RBA medalists illustrate the transformative power of design in creating places that bring people together and lift the human spirit,” says. "Gold Medalist Crosstown Concourse is an innovative, locally-driven solution to the challenge of repurposing legacy infrastructure nationwide. It reflects strong community values that foster inclusiveness and opportunity."
The following four finalists received Silver Medals and $10,000 each to support their projects.
Beyond Walls—Lynn, MA ↓
Buffalo Bayou Park—Houston, TX ↓
Parisite Skatepark—New Orleans, LA - Youth-driven DIY creation of a new public skate park on vacant land beneath a highway overpass. ↓
Sulphur Springs Downtown—Sulphur Springs, TX - Renewal of a rural, small-town civic plaza and main streets. ↓
The RBA will also produce detailed case studies about the 2019 five finalist projects, including key findings and highlights from the selection committee’s discussions. The case studies will be published online and in book form in 2020 as a resource for educators, practitioners, and students. Case studies about all past RBA winners are available on the
The 2019 RBA selection committee:
- —Mayor, City of Oakland, CA
- —Senior Vice President and Director of National Programs at the Trust for Public Land, New York, NY
- —Executive Director for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), New Orleans, LA
- —President and CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership, Memphis, TN
- —Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Michigan, Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ann Arbor, MI
- —Principal Designer, Ross Barney Architects, Chicago, IL
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