The AIA California continues to highlight work that promotes architectural excellence with projects that focus on progressive changes in urban design, sustainability, and architectural design. The organization announces recipients of the 2023 Urban Design Awards and AIA California's inaugural Student category announcement.
Projects were awarded for their "excellence in the creation, improvement, and sustainability of the physical environment by architects and landscape architects as embodied in master planning, landscape architecture, and conceptual architectural design." The launch of the awards student category highlights three student winners. In total, 50 architecture students and recent graduates participated in the competition.
AIA California President Scott Gaudineer commented on this year's student category stating, "The caliber of work by the awarded students demonstrates the validity and vitality of creating this category. These student-designed projects address contemporary urban design challenges with solutions offering the quality and complexity required to realize their thoughtful ideas,” continued Gaudineer. Gaudineer first joined the AIA as a student member and has continued his participation in the organization ever since."
FIRM WINNERS - Honor Awards
Project excerpt: "The Civic Center Public Realm Plan remakes a mid-century landscape designed for exclusion into a civic space of inclusion: a place that reflects the diversity of the neighborhoods it serves, and embodies the democratic values of the City it represents [...] Through deep community engagement, re-thinking the open space framework, and strategic interventions in surrounding historic fabric and subterranean facilities, the Public Realm Plan transforms Civic Center into thriving social infrastructure, prioritizing public life and local needs." Learn more here.
Township Commons (Oakland, California)
By Einwiller Kuehl Landscape
Project Excerpt: "The park welcomes Oakland residents back to their waterfront with a bold and brave definition of a park. An adaptive re-use conceived with a radical imagination, the park is located within the footprint of the former 9th Avenue Terminal and is inspired by the shipping history as well as the natural history of the site. Select building elements including walls, trusses, and the imprint of loading dock geometry are preserved in the design but are also transformed to inspire and allow for new uses—including the creation of containers of coastal, drought-tolerant plants." Learn more here.
FIRM WINNERS - Merit Awards
Project Excerpt: "The proposal for the Hensley Field Masterplan in Dallas, Texas, is underpinned by the desire to deliver a bold vision informed by the principles of ecological urbanism that places equity at its heart. Careful consideration was given to how the design framework achieves the aims of the City of Dallas to create an inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community at the former airfield. The Hensley Field masterplan encompasses five core districts that create economic engines..." Learn more here.
Project Excerpt: "The renovation of Portola Plaza, completed in conjunction with the renovation of the 40-year-old Monterey Conference Center by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, reinvigorates an important economic driver for Monterey, a scenic international and regional tourist destination located two hours south of San Francisco on the California coast. The Plaza is the civic gateway and living room of the city, terminating an important retail street, activated on all sides by important uses and serving as a connector between the downtown and the historic cannery waterfront." Learn more here.
STUDENT WINNERS - Honor Award
The Diversity Plaza to the Jackson Heights Place (Queens, New York)
Frank Wen Yao (University of California, Berkeley – for identification purposes only, student projects were submitted by individuals, not schools)
Project Excerpt: "The existing Diversity Plaza has failed due to a lack of connection between the plaza’s function and the local community. Given that the Plaza is located just beside the MTA 7’s Line (which is 20 minutes from Time Square), the border of Diversity Plaza should be expanded more into the urban fabric and further away from the urban space and not limited to one spot. Jackson Heights is a vibrant urban area of cultural and ethnic diversity that serves the plaza’s function and the local community. Given that the Plaza is located just beside the MTA 7’s Line (which is 20 minutes from Time Square), the border of Diversity Plaza should be expanded more into the urban fabric and further away from the urban space and not limited to one spot. Jackson Heights is a vibrant urban area with cultural and ethnic diversity. While diversity is to be celebrated, such dissimilarities can cause social conflict. Thus, finding a correct solution that could benefit all groups equally served as the inception of this project." Learn more here.
STUDENT WINNERS - Merit Award Winners
Logistics Community Hub in California High Speed Railway (Central Valley, California)
Vishesh Naresh Khetwani & Daisy Porras (California College of the Arts – for identification purposes only, student projects were submitted by individuals, not schools)
Project Excerpt: "Logistics and their associated warehouses have permeated the Central Valley, taking advantage of both the cheap land and proximity to cities. The planned High-Speed Railway offers the opportunity to question how logistics might empower local businesses and communities. Large online retailers continue to capture an increasingly large swatch of the market, leaving small businesses without a competitive edge both in terms of online legitimacy and shipping speeds. Leveraging the High-Speed Railway to move goods, in conjunction with a digital platform that is more locally and collectively operated, allows small businesses to be competitive within the immediate expectations of the logistical world." Learn more here.
Project Excerpt: "The prompt of this project raises the questions of what urban planning would look like in the near future, with a focus on sustainability and the absence of cars. Subways, buses, and bikes will become the main methods of transport. The site stretches over the northern terminus of the 710 Freeway and W Del Mar Blvd in Pasadena, California, offers the opportunity to explore architectural form and methods of integration into urban planning and public transportation. With the freeway now unusable and running underneath the bridge, the main concept behind the design of Fluicity explored ways to retain the identity of the freeway without leaving it as a giant ditch separating two communities." Learn more here.
Learn more about the 2022 Urban Design Award Winners here.
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