2013 Inform Awards: A Delightful Dozen

The 2013 Inform Awards Jury announced their decisions April 22 having considered 140 submissions in three categories: Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Object Design. Jury Chair L. William Chapin II, FAIA, and Jury members Graham Gund, FAIA, and Bing Thom, AIA, FRAIC, meticulously reviewed the submissions over the course of a week to select the following projects.


  • Sapient Corporation

FOX Architects, LLC
Kelly Sigmund, Project Designer

#4 project_Page_2The driving concept behind this global professional services agency’s new office design was twofold: connect government services with the agency’s two other divisions and reinforce the brand through the physical environment. At the center of the parti design concept is the curved “Connector and Band.” Together, they provide a symbolic representation of the agency’s curved logo. Most importantly, the “Connector and Band” concept serves as the linking element that unites the office’s two floors and its public areas to its dedicated work zones. Additional curved structures in common areas, such as the pantry, further support the design motif.

Upon entering the space, it is clear that you have entered a work environment unique to the client. A dynamic graphic wall, in the organization’s signature red, is located adjacent to the reception desk and communicates a powerful statement to employees and visitors alike about the organization’s creative corporate culture: “Idea Engineers.” The distinctive design features are complemented with a bold color palette indicative of this young, tech-savvy company. Furthermore, the design team’s clever integration of materials and understanding of their relationship to one another resulted in a space where everything has a meaning and purpose.

#4 project_Page_3Early on, the design team engaged the client to examine how work was performed, how it could be performed better, and if a workplace strategy would be appropriate. During several design discussions, amidst an aggressive timeline, the team determined that an open office environment with benching would maximize space utilization and increase productivity. To further support each division’s culture and work, the team incorporated spontaneous interaction zones and “studio” space, complete with blackboards for brainstorming sessions. The ability to carry out these business initiatives was because of the strong parti concept developed early on through collaborative charrette sessions with the client. The new strategy has since been implemented on a national platform and embraced corporate-wide.

Beyond the pragmatic, the design team was able to deliver a customized office environment that increases efficiencies, encourages collaboration and reinforces the brand. Today, the client has a new office that embodies their brand essence and culture and is suitable for hosting some of the industry’s most innovative solution providers as well as prestigious clients.

Jury Comments: The circulation is clearly articulated circulation, with a crisp partnership between the office’s palate of colors and surface materials. The design successfully and effectively delivers natural light to the greatest number of inhabitants. This looks like a very pleasant place to work.

Owner: Sapient Corporation
Contractor: Bognet Construction
Design Contributors: Newmark Knight Frank, META Engineers, P.C., CPM
Office Environment of New England
Photographer: Ron Blunt
  • Lorber Tarler Residence

Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Brian Tuskey, Project Architect

#9 project_Page_4Located in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood of Washington, an existing row house has been re-imagined as a modern, light filled urban dwelling for a professional couple. The compartmentalized interior of the existing house was gutted, and the rear façade and porch were removed.

Surrounded by buildings on three sides and limited to the existing 17 x 30-foot-deep footprint, the new floor layout and open plan are intended to provide dynamic interior spaces in sharp contrast to the originally dark, cramped house.

Manipulation of natural light into this residence is a major component affecting the design of the project. A new stair and glass bridge system connects all three floors, with a skylight the entire length and width of the new stair opening above. The new rear façade is almost fully glazed, maximizing the amount of light obtainable from the east exposure. On the interior, translucent panels between rooms further offer sources for natural light.

#9 project_Page_2The stairwell is designed as a vertical core that organizes the project. While the open riser staircases with glass rails and bridges provide transparency, a three-story, wood paneled wall slices through the stairwell, integrating and defining adjacent spaces. This wall terminates inside the skylight well, allowing light from the skylight to the third floor bedroom.

A ground level terrace visually enlarges the living room and offers a private outdoor living space within the city. The terrace become an outdoor room with walls of glass, cement board, and mahogany. A galvanized steel planter with bamboo and black river stone runs the length of the terrace, offering an opportunity for greenery in the urban setting.

This project relies on the verticality of the row house typology to provide spacious volume, as opposed to large floor area. The spatial qualities of this project are further enhanced by highly considered, well crafted materials and close attention to detail. The palette consists of blue Venetian plaster, white terrazzo flooring, clear and dark stained rift-sawn white oak, aluminum, stainless steel, clear and translucent glass, painted steel, limestone, and granite, which are forged to enrich the spaces.

The house was built near the turn of the century and is located in a historical district. The end result of this renovation represents the co-existence of a Modern vocabulary adapted to current living patterns within an existing historically significant framework.

Jury Comments: Exciting spaces are made all the more so by shrewd introduction of natural light and sensitive choices of colors and materials. The detailing is wonderful.

Contractor: Prill Construction
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID
Photographer: Paul Warchol, Paul Warchol Photography
  • Tred Avon River House

Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Brian Tuskey, Project Architect

Easton, located in Talbot County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was established in 1710. Easton remains largely agrarian, with numerous farms interspersed among the area’s many waterways.

#39 project_Page_3Diverging from several acres of cornfields, a quarter-mile road lined with pine trees terminates at a diamond-shaped tract of land with breathtaking views of the Tred Avon River. Arising from the gravel drive and hedge-lined parking court, this new house is unveiled as three solid volumes linked together with glass bridges suspended above the landscape. The central, 36-foot-high volume is mostly devoid of fenestration, punctuated only by the recessed 10-foot-high entry door and narrow sidelights. The contrasting 12-foot-high western volume contains a garage and additional service space, while the eastern volume, floating above grade, contains the primary living spaces.

#39 project_Page_5After entering the house and passing through one of the glass bridges, the transformation begins. Initially presented as solid and austere, the house unfolds into a 124-foot-long living volume, light-filled and wrapped in glass with panoramic views of the river. A grid of steel columns modulates the space. Covered terraces extend the interior spaces, providing an abundance of outdoor living space with varying exposures and views. A screened porch provides an additional forum to experience views of the river, overlooking a swimming pool, located on axis to the main seating group.

Along with a geothermal mechanical system, solar tubes, hydronic floor heating, and a concrete floor slab to provide thermal mass, large overhangs above the terraces prevent heat gain and minimize dependence on fossil fuel. The entire house is elevated four feet above grade to protect against anticipated future flooding.

The house is crisply detailed and minimally furnished to allow views of the picturesque site to provide the primary sensory experience. The house was designed as a vehicle to experience and enjoy the incredibly beautiful landscape, known as Diamond Point, seamlessly blending the river’s expansive vista with the space.

Jury Comments: This interior space is highly sophisticated and self-assured without forgetting that its captivating natural surroundings are the most important ingredients of the project.

Contractor: Peterson & Collins
Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID
Landscape Designer: Lila Fendrick Landscap Architecture and Garden Design
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
  • 5110½ Offices

Robert M. Gurney, FAIA

#82 project_Page_6An unused basement located below street-front retail space provided a raw starting point for the design of a new office space in a desirable northwest Washington location. Sloping topography afforded the unexpected opportunity to incorporate windows at the south end of the 22 x 110-foot-deep space. The entrance is located at the rear of the property, a full story below the sidewalk level, between two buildings.

A series of planar walls oriented north/south organizes the plan and provides visual penetration through the entire length of the office. These planar walls are painted white, in sharp juxtaposition to the charcoal infused concrete floors. Perpendicular wooden walls and furniture elements punctuate the attenuated space and provide a warm contrast to the stark walls and floor. A centrally located glass-enclosed conference room provides acoustical privacy without disrupting the visual axes. A floating wood ceiling plane, concealing HVAC infrastructure, extends through all 110 feet of the interior volume and serves as an element to further unite north and south work spaces. With the exception of bathrooms and mechanical rooms, the entirety of the space is open.

#82 project_Page_4Almost all of the furniture is custom designed for the space. The vast majority of built-in millwork is constructed of quarter-sawn white oak and humble black plastic laminate. The conference room table is constructed with 18-inch steel channels while another steel and glass table anchors a smaller meeting space beyond. These components continue a theme of contrasting raw elements, including the concrete floors and exposed brick walls, with the more refined oak panels and glass walls. The light fixtures adopt this juxtaposition through a combination of asymmetrically hanging bulbs and carefully placed recessed lights.

This project hopes to elevate the perception of “basement space” without employing expensive finishes, materials, and light fixtures.

Jury Comments: This is an elegant and delightful space that reconfirms once again that less really can be more in the right hands.

Contractor: Bloom Builders
Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID
Photographer: Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography
  • 308 Mulberry

Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Brian Tuskey, Project Architect

#95 project_Page_3The small city of Lewes, Del., located on the eastern side of Sussex County faces northeast into the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Lewes is popularly known as an 18th-century coastal town commemorated for being the site of the earliest European settlement in Delaware. Lewes is composed primarily of late 19th century and early 20th century building stock. The dominant building type is timber, and the prevalent construction type is balloon framing. The starting point for this project is one such small house located at 308 Mulberry Street, originally constructed in the early 19th century in the heart of the historical district.

The current owner purchased the historical property, in poor condition, with the intention of renovating the existing structure and adding a substantial extension and swimming pool. In the redesign, the exterior of the original structure is meticulously restored. A shed-roofed screened porch, storage room, and poorly proportioned living space added to the back of the house in the early  20th century were removed.

The requested spatial requirements were substantial and necessitated more than doubling the footprint of the original building. The design strategy was to allow the historical, two-story house to remain prominent in the overall composition. The requisite space would be accommodated in the original house and four additional structures that would engage the historical house in a minimally invasive fashion. The additions are conceived as one-story pavilions organized around a new swimming pool and large Deodor Cedar tree, located at the rear of the property.

#95 project_Page_6While the exterior of the original house is restored with historically correct detailing, the new pavilions are crisply detailed. Cedar shingled walls and roofs match the historical house but without overhangs and trim. Large expanses of glass set in black steel frames punctuate the cedar walls. Tall red brick chimneys and landscape walls add vertical and horizontal elements, completing the composition.

The original house now contains the main entry and four bedrooms. The interiors are decidedly modern with white walls void of trim, casings, moldings, and baseboard that engage white ash flooring. An open, floating staircase, glass walls, aluminum, and stainless steel contribute to the modern palette of elements and materials. In juxtaposition to the primarily white interiors of the original house, the interior of the new living pavilion is rich with a variety material, including mahogany walls and ceilings, basalt flooring, white marble countertops and fireplace surround, and stainless steel cabinetry. Walls of glass and a long skylight at the ridge allow light to flood the pavilion.

Jury Comments: This brilliant marriage of the historical and the modern is masterfully executed in concept and detail.

Contractor: Ilex Construction
Interior Designer: Theres Baron Gurney, ASID
Landscape Designer: South Fork Studio, Landscape Architecture
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
  • Wissioming2

Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Brian Tuskey, Project Architect

#103 project_Page_3Located in Glen Echo, Md., just outside of Washington, this new house is sited on a sloping, wooded lot with distant views of the Potomac River. The house is positioned to preserve a majority of mature trees and is oriented toward the river views and south-facing slope. The house is organized into two volumes connected with glass bridges that span a reflecting pool, which separates the volumes. Secondary volumes intersect and overlap the two larger structures rendering the composition more dynamic. Material changes in the various elements intensify the relationships. Expanses of glass open to a terrace organized around a swimming pool with two “infinity” edges reinforcing the connectivity to the wooded landscape.

#103 project_Page_5The interiors are painted with light. Walls constructed with slender, steel window frames composed in Mondrian-inspired patterns combine with translucent panels, wenge and white oak millwork, and Pompeii Scarpaletto stone to define interior spaces. White terrazzo flooring juxtaposes the black window frames and unifies the volumes on the main floor.

This house is designed to provide spaces organized to integrate its inherently picturesque site in a way that the architecture becomes subservient to the landscape that surrounds it.

Jury Comments: The designer’s sensitive and thoughtful selection of exterior cladding works beautifully with the internal composition of solids and voids. It fits its site like a glove.

Owner: Lewie Bloom and Nancy Schwartz
Contractor: Bloom Builders
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer


  • 100 Light Street

Design Collective Inc.
Brian Reetz, ASLA


Repositioning Through Repurposing—Located at the nexus of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, 100 Light was a classic 1960s Modernist office tower rising 35 stories above a monolithic 1.3 acre granite plinth. The outdated building was 70 percent vacant, with a leaky underground parking garage and facing new competition from the next generation of Class-A office buildings. The client sought to reaffirm 100 Light as the center of downtown Baltimore.

The design team took an innovative approach to reposition the building, leverage available resources, and transform the barren plaza and lobby of Baltimore’s tallest building into a vibrant urban garden. The design goals were simple, yet interrelated:

• Leverage existing resources to minimize environmental impact and maximize environmental quality
• Seamlessly integrate with the architectural principles set forth by this Modernist icon
• Respect the urban context, particularly at the public and pedestrian scales.

#46 project_Page_3With sustainability informing all decisions, the design team set out to create unique solutions that not only celebrate the sense of place at 100 Light but also showcase how greening urban spaces can also serve as a model for storm-water retention and run-off quality.

Leverage Existing Resources “Buildings as a Quarry”—The building’s decorative granite window sills created a frustrating dilemma for prospective tenants. New tenants were faced with the question: “Should I pay Class A office rents when views to the skyline and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor are impeded on every floor?” Identified by the client as a problem, the design team proposed removing the granite sills and re-purposing the granite in the plaza below. Once removed, views back to the city were opened, rendering the building more transparent and reducing power consumption by increasing exposure to natural light. The granite sills have been reused as benches and planter walls creating social spaces that also provide adequate soil depth for roof-top plantings, which were nonexistent on the plaza.

In addition to poor views, the plaza was leaking into the parking garage below. To re-waterproof the plaza deck, existing 6-foot-2-inch-square granite pavers were meticulously removed, cleaned to increase heat reflectivity, and reinstalled atop new waterproofing. Anticipating 20 percent breakage and compensating for already damaged pavers, the size and shape of the salvaged pavers were integrated into the design to maximize reuse of material. Finally, glass fins from the existing lobby curtain wall were re-purposed as freestanding illuminated glass pylons to define the Light Street corridor leading to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Employing the above techniques, the design team was able to minimize the draw on natural resources, in essence using the “Building as a Quarry.”

#46 project_Page_5Modernist Principles Through Humanistic Solutions—Given the building’s prominence and modernist design aesthetic, the designers were challenged to respect the existing building and plinth design while balancing the need to improve and provide humanistic solutions. Simple design moves, resulting from a deep understanding of the building’s intent respect the structure while solving technical challenges.

Celebrating Modernist Forms—The re-purposing of material reinforced sustainable-design  ideals yet further restrained the design, given the monolithic proportions of salvaged window sills, pavers, and glass panes. Planters constructed of stacked granite sills re-imagine the plinth edge, respect the building structure, and soften the urban context.

A Regional Example of Smart Design—Lush seasonal plantings, 45 tree specimens, and a pristine lawn create a sense of place while reducing the impervious surface by 38 percent. These newly planted trees and understory, used throughout the plaza, reduce and slow storm-water runoff while simultaneously improving storm-water quality. 100 Light Street’s prominent location at the heel of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor showcases smart design contributing to the incremental changes needed to protect and restore our natural resources.

Jury Comments: This building-as-a-quarry plaza design is an elegant re-thinking of the pocket-park approach that promises to instill exciting urban life back into a sterile urban space and breathe new life into a once-tired building.

Owner: Lexington MKP Management LP
Contractor: Whiting-Turner
Project Manager: Derek Bujak
Photographer: Patrick Ross, Patrick Ross Photography
  • Diamond Teague Park

D.C. Landscape Architecture Bureau


Located on the north bank of the Anacostia River in Washington, Diamond Teague Park addresses the key issues confronting cities today: environmental degradation and its amelioration, persistent socioeconomic inequality, post-industrial redevelopment and the enrichment of the sensory world. It is the expression of a clear idea, carried through from concept through construction. Consistency of concept, material, gesture, and detail is critical to establishing the recognizable character of a project. Diamond Teague Park is a case-study in how a simple, urbane design for a very challenging site can satisfy all of the requirements of use, fulfill a varied program, and become an emblem of Washington’s urban renaissance.

Diamond Teague Park was conceived in 2003 to support environmental education and in reaction to the gun violence that has plagued the city for decades. The Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), whose headquarters are on the park site, is a nonprofit dedicated to “providing hands-on environmental education, job training, and community service programs … with an emphasis on serving at-risk youth from the inner-city neighborhoods of Washington.”

Diamond Teague was one of its most dedicated members: an honor student, athlete and committed environmentalist from “east of the River,” like many of his colleagues. He was shot while sitting on his grandmother’s porch in 2003, one of 12 ECC members to have fallen as a result of gun violence. In 2006, the District committed to build a park on the Anacostia at the ECC headquarters and dedicate it to the memory of Diamond Teague.

#59 project_Page_2The one-acre site is unique: it is the last stretch of naturalized shoreline in a formerly industrial part of the city. This, along with the ECC’s presence, makes it ideal for environmental education and monitoring. It completes a missing segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk and provides a key amenity for new development on all sides.

It links the Anacostia with the new Nationals Ballpark, encouraging thousands of people to discover and enjoy the riverfront. The program was both ambitious and complex, engaging with environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The park needed to be both serene, for communing with the river, and energetic, to connect it to thousands of residents and baseball fans. The ECC pier needed to be rebuilt and expanded to provide for more dockage and accommodate water taxis, kayaks, and canoes. The area demanded a stronger link between the park’s northern edge and the Ballpark. Designed and built in functionally independent phases, the project would have to avoid disturbing hydrocarbons under the site and toxic sediments on the river bottom while mitigating combined sewer overflows from the adjacent D.C. sanitary sewer pumping station. Finally, the site had to become visually engaging, beautiful, and a memorial to Diamond Teague.

The design began with the most striking, positive aspect of the site: direct access to the river. The riverbank, however, had become unstable due to tidal fluctuations, flood cycles, and District dumping. Soils were contaminated enough to merit brownfield status. Foot traffic on the shore itself threatened to damage the river’s edge, and any pathways on the ground would be vulnerable to damage from flooding. The response was to create an elevated promenade that reinforces the gesture of the shoreline. The north side of the Promenade is marked by a row of lights with reflectors reminiscent of aquatic birds, which have been adopted as a standard elsewhere on the Riverwalk. The Promenade is a 20-foot-wide walkway made of FSC-certified ipe decking that functions primarily as a throughway for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. It is bordered by a 10-foot-wide strip of aluminum grating near the river’s edge that denotes a slower section of the promenade where the public can enjoy the river. This area is distinguished by monolithic wood benches cut from 19th century “sinker logs” found at the bottom of the Tennessee River. To provide an unobstructed view of the river, the edge of the promenade is bordered by a 6-inch lighted toe-rail that emphasizes the directionality of the promenade.

#59 project_Page_6The Anacostia is accessed by aluminum gangways that slope from the Promenade diagonally down to a 20-foot-wide floating “environmental pier,” placing the public in the river rather than on the bank. It is an environmental classroom for the ECC, an access point for canoes and kayaks, and a dramatic vantage point up and down the river. The lighted toe-rails of the Promenade are repeated on the Environmental Pier.

In Phase Two, the gangways themselves will extend to the north, bridging over a constructed wetland garden connecting the promenade to new development. Between the Environmental Pier and the riverbank lies one of the park’s most distinctive and innovative elements: artificial floating wetlands. These circular mats are made in part with materials recovered from recycled plastic containers. Native aquatic plants grow through holes in the mats, their roots extending into the water where they filter pollutants that include coliform bacteria in the raw sewage sometimes expelled from D.C.’s combined storm/sanitary sewer system during large storm events.

The circular geometry of the floating wetlands makes them easily identifiable by the public as artificial and reinforces the message that human effort is required to remediate the river. Native riparian planting along the bank of the river complements the floating wetlands and provides additional opportunities for environmental education.

Jury Comments: An innovative design strategy that introduces people to the eye-opening wonders of a previously inhospitable riverfront, this project promises to be a very important part of the Anacostia River redevelopment, which endeavors to establish genuine cross-river connections.

Owner: District of Columbia Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
DCLAB Design Team: Jonathan Fitch, Lanshing Hwang, Doug Pardue
ODMED Project Manager: Judy Greenberg, Project Manager
Anacostia Waterfront Corp: Uwe Brandes, Exec. VP
Civil/Electrical Engineer: PB Americas Marine Structural Engineer: Moffat and Nichol Landside Structural Engineer: Robert Silman and Associates
General Contractor: Fort Myer Construction
Construction Manager: Mckissack and Mckissack
Plants: Signature Horticultural Services
Floating Wetlands: Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technologies
Hardscape Gratings: Ohio Gratings Inc.
Gangways: Gator Dock and Marine
Lighting-Toe Rails: Luxrail by Cooper Lighting
Lighting-Promenade Post Top: Schréder North America
Lighting-Custom Light Poles: Millerbernd
Lighting-Handrails: Luxrail by Cooper Lighting
Trash Receptacles: Landscape Forms
Photographer: Allen Russ, Hoachlander Davis Photography
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Campus East

RTKL/KlingStubbins, A Joint Venture

The primary landscape goal for NGA Campus East was to create a work environment that fosters a sense of community through large outdoor gathering spaces that allow for social interaction or quiet retreat. All outdoor gathering spaces, including the Entry Courtyard, Dining Terrace, and Water Feature are connected visually and literally with the natural environment surrounding the buildings. The design of these gathering spaces favors views from within the buildings while providing unique opportunities for staff interaction.

#114 project_Page_4The landscape throughout the site is coordinated with the campus design parti and visual and physical alignments established within the building, including the arrangement of the plantings on the site. The Central Utility Plant was placed off axis from the Main Building , which is thoughtfully integrated into the layout of both the plantings and hardscape in the entry and dining areas at the northwest and southeast courtyards. Grading techniques creatively integrated this subtle axial alignment, with adjustments in slope designed to accentuate the angle.

The parti is also revealed in the arrangement of the sweeping S-curve main entry drive, which captures the ceremonial lawn, providing a grand sense of scale to the landscape that works in harmony with the prominent scale of the Main Building. Plantings along the curve direct views toward the main entry while also directing vehicles to the garage access. This creates a delicate environment that fulfills the functional needs of security and force protection.

The entry courtyard for the Main Building consists of hardscape, site furnishings, and planting beds, all oriented off axis from the main building. The paving is arranged in a stagger-bond pattern with accent bands that lead people toward the main entrance to the building. The entry courtyard consists of 45,000 sf of pedestrian and vehicular precast concrete unit pavers. The landscaped beds contain ground-cover, shrubs, ornamental trees, climbing vines, and canopy trees. The outdoor dining terrace provides an informal, intimately scaled seating and dining area.

The terrace is paved with 11,000 sf of precast concrete unit pavers with waves of integrally colored concrete, a continuation of the terrestrial theme developed within the building. The waves of color flow through the dining terrace and into the landscape where the concrete transitions into decorative stone aggregate and vegetative ground covers.

#114 project_Page_6The water feature, located along the west side of the Main Building, is 330 x 60 x 4-feet-deep with water cascading over an infinity edge to a storm-water basin below. The stillness of the reflecting pool, combined with the soothing white noise of the cascading water, makes this a great place for retreat and relaxation. The water feature collects surface rainwater and has a capacity of over 1.3 million cubic feet, equivalent to 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This stored storm water is treated and used for all irrigation needs, including grass, shrubs, ground-cover areas, and more than 1,700 trees. The balance of the stored storm water is used for cooling tower make-up water and emergency sprinkler water for this facility.

The green roof areas on campus are designed to be an extension of the adjacent landscaping, continuing the lawn upward to become the roof plane. The green roofs have insulating value to reduce energy use, improve the southern view of the Central Utility Plant roof from the Main Building, reduce solar reflection on the adjacent office building, and reduce the load on the storm drainage system by slowing runoff and filtering rainwater.

Enhancing the extensive views into Accotink Creek was another goal in the NGA Campus East design. This is done through preservation of the existing vegetation along the western edge of the site and integration of landscape elements that relate to the stream valley. The selection of plantings responds climatologically to the site, creating a sensitive landscape design using drought-tolerant species. Natural screening elements, including berms with dense shrub plantings, large deciduous trees, and groups of evergreen trees inhibit clear views into the site from outside the secure perimeter and minimize direct views of maintenance and infrastructure elements within the secure perimeter.

Existing vegetation and the natural form of the site are incorporated into the campus design and landscape elements wherever possible. The outdoor spaces at NGA play an important role in the agency as technology and the demands of global interaction transform how, when, and where people work. The design thoughtfully considers the duality of subtle elegance in landscape and lasting strength in security. Now, 18 months after final occupancy of NGA Campus East, the reception from the campus’ occupants has demonstrated the success of the design’s implementation.

Jury Comments: This heroically scaled landscape goes beyond simple horticulture to provide a walking park, environmental resource, and unobtrusive yet effective security strategy for this massive campus.

Owner: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Contractor: Clark/Balfour Beatty Joing Venture
Associate Civil Engineer: Greenhorne & O’Mara Inc.
Traffic Engineer: Street Traffic Studies Ltd.
Irrigation Consultant: Irrigation Consultant Services Inc.
Fountain Consultant: Hydro Dramatics
Landscape Installation: KT Enterprises
Photographers: James West, JWest Productions and David Whitcomb, RTKL


  • Spraycube

3rd Year Architecture Studio at Virginia Tech
Douglas Cohn, Marcus Confino, Jenna Hoffman, Laura Green, Hanna Joseck, Dave Kolodziej, Ryan McGuinness, Carina Mohammed, Bongchul (Tom) Shin, Witt Smith, John Sturniolo, Nick Swedberg, Rebecca Warren, Jonathan Werstein, James Willis, Professor Joseph Wheeler

#72 Project_Page_4Faced with the design challenge to provide a designated space to spray paint, a student-led group designed and built a spray pavilion. The pavilion is based on the idea of a cube that pulls apart into two parts. A difference in material distinguishes the halves. One is composed of a polycarbonate wall while the other is a wood wall. However they are unified through the use of color. The interior W-space is the area for painting, while the void between the two elements creates two doorways. A workbench spans the width of the cube with a gap behind it to allow for ventilation.

#72 Project_Page_6Three rotating platforms rest on top of the workbench to facilitate the painting process. The booth is provided with LED lights in between the polycarbonate walls and an overhead light fixture. The lighting operates on a motion sensor system creating a clear “occupied” or “vacant” message from a distance.

This is an effective low-cost solution to replace the school’s current painting facilities, which have become outdated causing the student body to move to other areas. The exterior sidewalks, columns, stairwells, and doorways had become coated in layers of paint and plaster pours. The fumes and chemicals were contaminating the building, both inside and out. The project’s goal was to provide students with an alternative place to spray paint.

Jury Comments: This design exercise shows once again that innovative thinking, this time inside-the-box, can transform the most utilitarian object into an intriguing design item.

Designed for: Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design
Photographers: Hanna Joseck and Rebecca Warren
  • minibar by Jose Andres (domes)

Christopher Peli

#85 project_Page_4Two golden elliptical domes in this fine-dining concept are beautiful and essential elements of the design. Their main purpose is to focus the attention on the avant-garde tasting menu at the counter for these seatings. Beyond the counter is an interactive kitchen and culinary experience where guests are meant to observe the bustle and converse with chefs. They feel protected and welcome at the same time.

#85 project_Page_5The forms serve not only to shield guests’ view to the exposed ceiling above, but also to envelop them in a warm golden glow and enhance the appearance of the food. The downward form controls sight lines and sound but also curves to simulate a sculptural cocoon that envelops the guest in their experience. The result is a feeling of intimacy and connection to each beautifully presented dish that is placed before them.

Due to an incredibly tight construction schedule and budget, the domes were sourced from a local boat builder rather than being custom cast. Taken from the hulls of an old boat, each was cut into its elliptical form, sanded smooth, and gold leafed on the underside.

Jury Comments: A wonderfully innovative and bold application that transforms what could be a rather amorphous space into two distinctly intimate seating areas.

Owner: Think Food Group
Dome Fabricator: Reid Bandy, Bandy Boats
Photographer: Kenneth Wyner
  • Lath House

Frank Harmon Architect, PA
Will Lambeth, Project Designer

#105 project_Page_2The N.C. State Arboretum needed a new open-air lath structure to replace the existing dilapidated shade house adjacent to its Japanese garden. The solution was conceived of as an open-air laboratory for experimental horticultural techniques and methods. Because the Lath House also shelters infant plants, it was designed as an abstract of a tree that is spreading its branches to protect the plants. Through its screen of carefully placed wooden two-by-twos with steel support, the new structure will fulfill the specific light-to-shade ratio needed for the plants in the four seasons. It will shelter infant plants as they transition into larger gardens within the arboretum grounds. It will provide an accessible community garden for Raleigh and serve as an educational asset to North Carolina as a whole.

#105 project_Page_3Thermal performance was an important factor in choosing wood to build the lath house. The designer considered metal and fiberglass for the lath membrane along with wood, and chose wood for its low thermal mass, economy, and appearance. The 8-acre JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with the most diverse collection of cold-hardy temperate-zone plants in the Southeast. As part of N.C. State University’s Department of Horticultural Science, the Arboretum is primarily a working research and teaching garden that focuses on the evaluation, selection, and display of plant material gathered from around the world. Plants especially adapted to conditions in the Piedmont region of North Carolina are identified in an effort to find better plants for southern landscapes.

Jury Comments: This elegantly restrained device cleverly fulfills its specific practical mission while creating a fascinating and creative outdoor space that is both functional and beautiful.

Owner: N.C. State University JC Raulston Arboretum
Contractor: LT Bennett General COntractor Inc.
Structural Engineer: Tim Martin, PE
Photographer: Tim Hursley

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