June 23, 2009
by Linda G. Miller

Event: Design Awards Symposium — Project Winners
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.03.09
Speakers: Hangman Zo — Executive Director, H Associates (KIA), Joel Sanders, AIA — Principal, Joel Sanders Architect (Gangbuk Grand Park); Tim Bade — Partner, Stageberg Architecture: Bade Stageberg Cox (PSi: Summer Blow-Up); Johannes M.P. Knoops, Assoc. AIA, FAAR — Principal, Johannes M.P. Knoops (Marriage Bureau; The Office of the City Clerk, The City of New York); Sudhir S. Jambhekar, FAIA, LEED AP — Senior Partner, FXFOWLE Architects (Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing); Michael Manfredi, FAIA — Partner, Weiss Manfredi (Wandering Ecologies); David Maestres — Associate, TEN Arquitectos (Xochimilco Master Plan and Aquarium)
Moderator: Lori Pavese Mazor, AIA, LEED AP — Associate Vice President for Planning and Design, NYU
Organizer: AIANY
Sponsors: Benefactor: ABC Imaging; Patrons: Cosentino North America; The Rudin Family; Syska Hennessy Group; Lead Sponsors: Arup; Dagher Engineering; The Durst Organization; HOK; Mancini Duffy; Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Sponsors: AKF Group; Building Contractors Association; FXFOWLE Architects; Hopkins Foodservice Specialists; Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti; JFK&M Consulting Group; KI; Langan Engineering & Environmental Services; MechoShade Systems; New York University; Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Rogers Marvel Architects; Steelcase; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Tishman Realty & Construction; VJ Associates; Weidlinger Associates; Zumtobel Lighting/International Lights

(L-R): Gangbuk Grand Park by Joel Sanders Architect (Honor); PSi: Summer Blow-Up by Stageberg Architecture: Bade Stageberg Cox (Honor); Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing by FXFOWLE Architects (Merit). (L-R bottom) Merits: Marriage Bureau by Johannes M.P. Knoops; Wandering Ecologies by Weiss Manfredi; Xochimilco Master Plan and Aquarium by TEN Arquitectos.

Courtesy AIANY

With discussion about how many conceptual projects often take decades to realize, the winners in the Projects category of the 2009 Design Awards may be impervious to the current economy, whether they are planned for construction or not. Thus, the presentations felt more like a salon than a symposium.

The two projects that received Honor Awards most likely will never be realized. Stageberg Architecture: Bade Stageberg Cox’s PSi: Summer Blow-Up was short-listed in this year’s P.S. 1/MoMA Young Architects competition to design a temporary installation for the P.S. 1 courtyard, but not selected. The team wanted to explore “how to do the most with the least” by rethinking where materials are sourced and transported, said Tim Bade. The goal was to fit the entire installation in the back of one pickup truck, and the design solution used inflatables that could be easily set-up, deployed, and reinstalled in another space.

Gangbuk Grand Park, by Joel Sanders Architect, won second place in a competition sponsored by the city of Seoul. The design sutured two sides of a valley with three bridges, linking a park to the city center and surrounding communities. According to Joel Sanders, AIA, the firm wanted to create a hybrid of architecture and landscape with bridges and programmatic overlaps. Three different types of trails were proposed — “learn, play, relax” — affording park-goers the chance to invent their own experience. The bridges, stated Sanders, thicken the trails, providing for built-in activities such as skateboarding.

When Johannes M.P. Knoops, Assoc. AIA, FAAR, heard about the Mayor’s plan to move the Manhattan Marriage Bureau from the McKim, Mead, and White Municipal Building to Worth Street, in a facility designed by Drake Design Associates, he developed a plan to elevate the institution, literally and figuratively. Knoops wanted couples to be both in love with each other and with the city, and what better way to do that then atop the 40-story Municipal Building. The roof would be wrapped in translucent panels emulating a wedding veil blowing in the wind.

“The public is hungry for new and serious ideas about architecture and ecology,” claimed Michael Manfredi, FAIA, when speaking of Weiss Manfredi’s shortlisted plan for the Lower Don Lands in Toronto. Accepting the nature of the existing flood plain, the team set out to reintroduce wetlands and create recreational fields out of spillways. The firm also proposed preserving an overhead expressway, referencing the area’s industrial history.

TEN Arquitectos is currently working on the Xochimilco Master Plan and Aquarium, straddling ancient Aztec lakes in southern Mexico City. Intending to restore the area as a major tourist attraction, the master plan establishes cohesiveness among a flower market, rowing park, aquarium, and water treatment plant. According to firm associate David Maestres, the challenge is “to bring nature to its original essence, making sure there is balance between architecture and nature.”

When the Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing is completed in Dubai in 2012, the bridge will hail as the longest spanning arched bridge in the world. Sudhir S. Jambhekar, FAIA, LEED AP, senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects, dispelled the notion that Arab countries are unconcerned with mass transit, claiming, “Their aspirations may surpass ours.” The bridge will have six traffic lanes in each direction, able to carry 20,000 vehicles per hour, with a center track and station in the middle of the bridge for Dubai Metro’s Green Line. Originally planned as a single span, the firm proposed two separate arches that meet on an artificial island.

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