2012 Charter Awards!
The 2012 Charter Awards ceremony showcased some of the wonderful work done by CNU members over the past year. Emceed by Doug Kelbaugh, the event started out with some honorable mentions and then gave the first award to the New Wyvernwood, a large-scale development plan for an area about 3 miles outside of Los Angeles. Torti Gallas was very proud of their work as they spoke on stage and were bold in the statement that they foresee a completely transformed Los Angeles in the next 50 years; transit-oriented, connected, and walkable.
The next award was given to Urban Design Associates for their work on the New Faubourg Lafitte, a plan looking to restore an area in New Orleans badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The winners spoke on behalf of the local community and the processes behind developing this plan alongside community member for a successful and desirable space for current residents.
Mount Rainer Mixed-Use Town Center Development Plan was the next winner, and utilized a transit-friendly plan that included a streetcar system, something that once flourished in this Washington D.C. suburb. Proponents of CNU are happy to see the restoration of this transit method, with hopes that other areas will look to transform themselves into a walkable, streetcar suburbs.
The next winner was the new Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The architects were very strategic in their design and wanted to allow for a public open space that invites community interaction, adjacent park space, and access to various forms of transportation. Ken Amano accepted the award on behalf of William Rawn Associates, who spoke directly on the work that they did with the local community to ensure that the structure was exactly what was desired.
The Georgetown “Social” Safeway was a very intricate design looking to make a more attractive and congruent architecturally style while simultaneously hiding parking spaces. It utilizes green technologies such as solar panels special glass that lowers solar gain and was also awarded to Torti Gallas. This plan has already created a much friendlier public street life for the Georgetown area.
The next award was handed out for the David Brower Center and Oxford Plaza project by Dan Solomon. He was very modest in his acceptance speech and wanted to highlight the fact that this project was intended to be beneficial to those in need and an empowering symbol for residents of Berkeley, California.
The last award was given to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. The project was noted to be a jury favorite for its use of historicist architectural and the integration of previously existing industrial structures; a blending of the old and the new. Accepting the award was Christian Sottile of Sottile and Sottile designers and spoke in regards to the SCAD Museum of Art as a symbol of current notions on architectural preservation and methodologies of maintain urban designs for historic areas, such as the world renowned urban layout of Savannah, Georgia.
The academic grand prize winner of the Charter Awards was A Vision of Growth and Conservation in the Village of Berrien Springs & Oronoko Charter Township. Students from Andrews University looked into a corridor along a main road of Berrien Springs, Michigan with plans to conserve a small rural town and develop an agriculturally based strip alongside the road for residences and retail. The plan also called for increased green space in the city grid of Berrien Springs and various retrofitting strategies. The students were very proud of being able to work in the place they were living and seeing the changes they recommended and plan for. They discussed the numerous barriers of compiling the elements of the project, but were very content with how everything turned out in the end with this highly collaborative plan.
Finally, the grand prize winner was Verkykerskop Small-Scale Agricultural Town in Free State, South Africa and was submitted to the Metropolis, City, and Town category. This plan was a large-scale attempt to preserve an agrarian based farm town that had a potential of agricultural depopulation and cultural shift of the area. Gary White Associates looked into the context and developed a profound and comprehensive plan to revitalize the struggling agricultural town, including 300 residences, a health clinic, various retail stores, eco-friendly technologies such as solar panels and low-impact unpaved roads. There is a separation of agricultural space from recreational greenspace, and the entire plan was laid out in a practical and locally rooted manner, while simultaneously praising the beauty of the surrounding nature through numerous vantage points. Verkykerskop in Afrikaans translates to binoculars point, and the plan is a clear example of the juxtaposition of this rural agricultural town amidst the natural landscape of Free State, South Africa. - Mike Jersha.