2015 American Architecture Awards
2015 World Architecture News Awards
Chicago Athenaeum 2015 International Architecture Awards 
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An ‘invisible’ renovation of a mid-century office building in Des Moines, a historical rebuild in Hong Kong, and a stadium designed to feel like an old-time neighbourhood ballpark are some of the notable winners of the 2016 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture announced recently.

Awarded by the American Institute of Architects each year, the prestigious design awards program recognises achievements for a broad range of architectural activity to elevate the general quality of architecture practice, establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and inform the public of the breadth and value of architecture practice.

The AIA Institute Honor Awards are given to architects licensed to practice in the USA; however, the projects can be located anywhere in the world.

Full list of 2016 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture (courtesy of AIA):

American Enterprise Group - National Headquarters Renovation, Iowa U.S.A by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 


Photography by Nick Merrick, Hedrich Blessing

Designed by BNIM for the American Enterprise Group, the project involved the ‘invisible’ rehab of a mid-century office building built in 1965. Designed originally by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the eight-storey building integrated the mechanical systems with the architecture. Updating the systems fifty years later would necessarily entail demolition of internal walls and finishes.

The renovation brought in historically matched, high-performance replacement windows, as well as new or additional insulation to assemblies. These updates and new, more efficient MEP systems put the building on track to consume about two-thirds less energy than it did before the project began in mid-2014.

Asia Society Center, Hong Kong by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects


Photography by Michael Moran

Designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects for the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, the Asia Society complex combines historical buildings from the British colonial period with an angular footbridge and a glass-wrapped modern pavilion. Envisioning the design as a horizontal campus in a vertical landscape, the architects connected the three 19th-century buildings to an extant 1940s structure via a footbridge that cuts a sharp ‘V’ line through the verdant setting, and inserted a new 11,000-square-foot pavilion behind the younger building.

Completed in 2012, the resulting medley beckons visitors to experience design and landscape in a highly urbanised Hong Kong. The zigzagging bridge through the greenery, covered like many walkways in traditional Chinese gardens, yields expansive views of the city.

Case Inlet Retreat, Washington State, U.S.A by MW Works Architecture + Design

Photography by Jeremy Bittermann

Designed by MW Works | Architecture+Design, the home sits on a 20-acre site on the Key Peninsula overlooking the Case Inlet on southern Puget Sound in Washington State. The design brief called for a modern, low-maintenance abode that had a strong relationship with the land. The architects devised a solution whose simple forms unfold into the landscape, offering a unique interaction with the site in each room.

The living space projects west into the tree canopy on a cantilevered platform, capturing views of the water and sunset. The kitchen reaches out through a sliding glass door to engage the meadow and the afternoon sun. The site permeates the building, through its ample windows and doors that bring in daylight, views of the Olympic Mountains, and natural ventilation.

CHS Field, Minnesota, U.S.A by Snow Kreilich Architects & Ryan A+E & AECOM

Photography by Paul Crosby; Christy Radecic

Designed by Snow Kreilich Architects, Inc., Ryan A+E, Inc. and AECOM for the City of Saint Paul, the CHS Field was intentionally designed to feel like an old-time neighbourhood ballpark, instead of a monolithic stadium set in an isolating sea of parking lots.

The St. Paul Saints are an independent league franchise committed to creating a unique fan experience. Working with the Saints and the City of St. Paul, the architects slipped a 7,000-seat ballpark into a remnant site between an interstate highway, an elevated bridge, a light-rail operations facility and the historic Lowertown District on the edge of St. Paul's business core. Wherever possible, the stadium is porous, opening itself to the life of the blocks around it. Completed in the spring of 2015, CHS Field employs a restrained material palette, using wood on the underside of the canopy and suite level combined with dark steel and masonry.

Henderson-Hopkins School, Baltimore, U.S.A by Rogers Partners


Photography by Albert Vecerka-Esto

Designed by Rogers Partners for the East Baltimore Development, Inc. and Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Henderson-Hopkins School is a bright, optimistic beacon that nestles itself into the traditional urban fabric of the neighbourhood known as Middle East Baltimore.

The complex fills most of two city blocks with a series of 'houses' or classroom clusters, and related facilities whose forms and layout echo the local tradition of low-rise row houses surrounding interior courtyards. The street-facing facades are dominated by a grooved pre-cast concrete that mimics Baltimore's home-grown Formstone. Neighbourhood streets continue through the complex as outdoor pedestrian corridors while the school's library occupies nine century-old row houses on Ashland Avenue, gutted and re-purposed. Facades that do not face the street are mostly transparent, allowing the majority of rooms to rely on daylight.

Mariposa Land Port of Entry Expansion and Modernization, Arizona/Mexico, U.S.A by Jones Studios


Photography by Timmerman Photography

Designed by Jones Studio for GSA Design and Construction R-9, the Mariposa Land Port of Entry (MLPOE) is located on the high-security Arizona/Mexico border, and is one of the busiest land ports in the United States, the gateway to $35 billion of commerce between the two nations.

In re-mapping the 57-acre site, the architects unsnarled traffic, while at the same time creating a place of bountiful welcome and respite from the desert heat. Completed in 2014, the design subtly raised a red, white, and blue banner with a series of canopies in those three colours, each signifying a different user zone, but together unfurling a long, dignified evocation of the United States flag. Central to the new facility is a long outdoor spine, a landscape garden through which pedestrians can approach and circulate through the crossing.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, U.S.A by Morphosis Architects


Photography by Iwan Baan

Designed by Morphosis Architects with Good Fulton & Farrell for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the museum features a stratified concrete facade with the concrete made from a scientific treatment of natural earthen material. The connection of material to mission continues with the landscaped plinth that supports the main cube. The undulating roofscape on the plinth supports an acre of rock and native, drought-resistant grasses, recapitulating some of the native landscape of north Texas.

The architects integrated architecture, nature and technology into the visitor experience, making the building itself an active tool for education on connections to the environment, sustainability strategies, and innovations in design and fabrication. A glass-encased escalator breaks out of the cube's geometry to carry visitors up from the ground floor to a cantilevered platform that affords a spectacular view of downtown Dallas.

Pterodactyl, California, U.S.A by Eric Owen Moss Architects


Photography by Tom Bonner

Designed by Eric Owen Moss Architects for Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith, the Pterodactyl is a 16,000-square-foot building atop a four-storey parking garage. The four-storey parking garage that serves as the Pterodactyl's podium predates it, but was built to withstand the load of an upward expansion. Completed in February 2015, Pterodactyl stands on top, but also cantilevers out front of the parking structure.

Despite its tumbling-blocks appearance, the building's main level has a simple rectilinear interior. It has an open floor plan suited to contemporary office layouts, and much of its glass front is two storeys high, providing an appealingly day-lit setting that a look at the exterior might not suggest. Above it is a level where the roof's angular contours create some private and semi-private spaces.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Conservation, Renovation and Systems Upgrade, New York, U.S.A by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects


Photography by Witney Cox

Designed by Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects for the Trustees of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the renovation launched in 2005 touched every building surface, from the top of its 330-foot spires to the bottom. At the same time, innovative mechanical and life-safety systems were installed, with minimal intrusion on the splendid visual pleasures of the cathedral.

The work was minutely detailed, including a forensic analysis to determine the precise specifications that the original architect, James Renwick, Jr., made for interior paint and exterior stone mortar. More than 30,000 individual repairs were made, and the team used a tablet-based software program that allowed for real-time tracking of the work, directly from the scaffolding. Carrying the building forward was an integral part of the overhaul. A key element of that aspect was installation of a new closed-loop geothermal system that will rely on below-ground temperatures to displace 240 tons of air conditioning power and participate in winter heating as well.

US Land Port of Entry, Maine, U.S.A by Snow Kreilich Architects & Robert Siegel Architects


Photography by Paul Crosby; Paul Warchol

Designed by Snow Kreilich Architects, Inc. and Robert Siegel Architects for the U.S. General Services Administration, the building is set on a long, slender site on a bluff over the St. John River, and is configured as a ‘Z’ to provide staffers shelter from harsh winds, sleet and snow while presenting a sleek profile to visitors and passers-by.

An exemplary outcome of the federal General Services Administration's Design Excellence Program, the Land Port of Entry skilfully couples a modern set of materials and program needs with an appreciation for regional history and landscape. The rhythmic alternation of opaque and transparent panels on the facade mimics the view between and among trees, while at the same time representing the requisite divisions between public and secure spaces that customs work demands. Abstracted references to the Acadian forests continue inside, where the colour palette of the panelised walls echoes the blazing beauty of the trees' fall foliage colours.

WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, Chicago, U.S.A by Studio Gang

Photography by Hedrich Blessing

Designed by Studio Gang Architects for the Chicago Park District and Chicago Rowing Foundation, the WMS Boathouse is one of four planned boathouses on the Chicago River's edge, part of the City of Chicago's plan to reclaim the once-industrial river for recreational and other healthy uses.

Zinc and slate clad the structure's two parts: a single-storey boat storage building that houses kayak and canoe rentals as well as the rowing teams' eight-person shells, and a two-storey field house containing an indoor rowing tank and other workout facilities. Their angular roofs subtly suggest boats stacked and waiting for use, but also have a deeper resonance with the sport. The zinc, slate, Douglas fir and other materials were chosen for their durability and low-maintenance characteristics to meet the public project's relatively low budget.