by Darris James Assoc. AIA e-O Events Correspondent
Event: P/A Awards Party
Location: Center for Architecture — 01.24.07
Organizers: ARCHITECT magazine
Sponsors: Hanley Wood Business Media
The 54th annual Progressive/Architecture, announced at the Center for Architecture January 24, honors architects and designers whose un-built work varies in scale, from Marc Boutin Architect’s Calgary Centre for Global Community, a 25,000-square-foot community center, to Michael Maltzan Architecture’s 2,500-square-foot Pittman Dowell Residence in La Crescenta, California. Although many of the winning projects have international settings — Aziza Chaouni won for her in-depth analysis and proposals for vacant sites in the old medina of Fez, Morocco, and Boston-based Office dA won for an expansion of the Kuwait Sports Shooting Club — many of the projects are community-oriented.
The University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC) received a Jury Citation for its Good Shepherd Ecumenical Retirement Community in Little Rock, Arkansas. “The benefits of being recognized by the P/A awards include bringing to light a type of planning for an aging community and increased visibility to Arkansas’ struggle with urban planning in a disproportionate economic environment,” according to Aaron Gabriel, project director of the UACDC.
The awards ceremony itself was a modest affair. With the P/A Awards being inherited by ARCHITECT, there was a sense that this patriarch of design awards was a nascent event. Replacing the traditional exhibition that usually accompanies the ceremony, full descriptions of the projects were only available in the free copies of ARCHITECT offered at the event. Even though a slide show of the winners cycled throughout the evening, many attendees were disappointed by the omission of an accompanying exhibition. The ceremony itself was rushed and understated as winners were not invited on stage for recognition. In the end, the ceremony did not live up to the preeminence and prestige that a 54-year-old award program deserves.