The biennial Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence is back for 2017, marking 30 years of recognizing distinguished, innovative urban placemaking in cities across the U.S. The winning projects are celebrated for notable design and exemplary economic, social, and environmental contributions to their communities. Following site visits to each of the five finalist projects, the competition jury awarded the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus by WRT Design with the Gold Medal and $50,000 for funding project upgrades. The other four projects received Silver Medals and $10,000 each.
Learn more about this year's winners below.
Gold Medal: SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Designer: WRT Design
“SteelStacks is the $93.5 million transformation of an abandoned steel mill into a mixed-use cultural and entertainment district. The iconic blast furnaces of the former Bethlehem Steel mill—which employed 31,000 people at its height and supplied steel for the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, and World War II battleships—now anchor a new civic commons that honors the city’s steelmaking legacy and symbolizes the rebirth of a region economically devastated by its closure in 1995. The 9.5-acre SteelStacks campus was designed by WRT of Philadelphia and developed by a consortium led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. Envisioned as a ‘21st century town square,’ it includes a public plaza anchored by the blast furnaces as well as the Levitt Pavilion outdoor amphitheater, Bethlehem Visitor Center, ArtsQuest Center, PBS39 public broadcasting center, and Hoover-Mason Trestle Park. The project hosts 1.5 million visitors annually for events including free outdoor concerts.”
Silver Medal: Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building - Boston (Submitted by City of Boston): “A community-oriented mixed-use development integrating public school headquarters, public meeting space, retail, and transit. Centrally located in Roxbury’s Dudley Square adjacent to a regional transit hub, it was created by the city of Boston to stimulate community development and investment. The 215,000 square foot complex incorporates the restoration of three historic structures, including the landmark Ferdinand building, coupled with new construction and capped with a green roof.”
Silver Medal: Chicago Riverwalk Phases II & III - Chicago (Submitted by Sasaki): “Phases 2 & 3 of Chicago’s Riverwalk transformed underutilized waterfront infrastructure into five distinct “rooms” connecting riverside amenities to the city. The project faced the technical challenge of lowering the Riverwalk to the river’s edge to enable boating and water recreation while creating a sustainable, flood-resilient landscape. While design elements and materials provide a strong sense of continuity along the path, each of the five waterfront blocks offers a unique shape and programmatic approach to exploring the relationship between the river and the city.”
Silver Medal: La Kretz Innovation Campus and Arts District Park (LKIC) - Los Angeles (Submitted by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects): “A clean tech incubator and demonstration facility promoting the city’s green economy. Completed in 2016 in Downtown LA's Arts District, the $49.2 million project is the product of an unusual public private collaboration between city agencies. Designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, the campus is part of a broader vision to promote innovation, technology, and a culture of sustainability while also encouraging reinvestment, job creation, and workforce development.”
Silver Medal: Iberville Offsite Rehabs I & II - New Orleans, LA (Submitted by Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners): “A historic rehabilitation of 46 homes in New Orleans, Louisiana into affordable housing for homeless women and children. Located within the 7th Ward and Treme, the formerly vacant and blighted one- and two-family structures were sensitively rehabilitated to provide affordable housing for primarily very low-income families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The renovations preserved each building’s unique architectural character while providing modern amenities and energy saving features.”
The 2017 selection committee: Knox White - Mayor, Greenville, SC; Kimberly Driggins - Director of Strategic Planning, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, Detroit, MI; David Lee, FAIA - President, Stull and Lee Incorporated, Architects, Boston, MA; Willett Moss - Principal, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA; Deidre Schmidt - President & CEO, CommonBond Communities, Minneapolis, MN; Scot Spencer - Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD
Photos courtesy of 2017 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.
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