Five projects from across the United States have been announced as the AIA‘s 2021 Regional & Urban Design Award winners. The program aims to highlight the best in urban design, regional and city planning, and community development.
Boston-based firm Payette managed to win two trophies this year for their Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex in Boston as well as urban interventions in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Read on for a glimpse of the winning projects.
Beyond Walls, Lynn, MA
Project excerpt: “Exploring how designers can activate connection through multiple interventions in the built environment, this project, a pro-bono effort, rallied the citizens of Lynn, Massachusetts, around art as a vital source of public engagement and civic improvement. To realize this, the team partnered with Beyond Walls, a collection of engaged citizens, to develop five distinct interventions. The emergence of COVID-19 prompted the two most recent, but all together they have significantly strengthened the connection between Lynn’s citizens and their physical environment while providing the corollary effects of enhanced safety and walkability.” ~ Read more about this project here.
Essex Crossing, New York, NY
Project excerpt: “Across 20 acres of land formerly owned by the city, SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle‘s collaborative team has created a dynamic but respectful contribution to life in New York’s Lower East Side. Fueled by a vision that orchestrates development at nine prominent and long-empty sites, this plan includes quite 2 million square feet of economic , retail, and community-use space which will maintain the vitality of this historic, bustling neighborhood. […] In 2013, the team was selected through a public RFP process initiated by the town , joining three well-known developers to craft an idea for the most important piece of undeveloped land south of 96th Street. one-half of the plan’s residential spaces are designated as permanent affordable housing, prioritizing those relocated during the 1950s and ’60s.”~ Read more about this project here.
Haxtun – Saving Main Street, Haxtun, CO
Project excerpt: “Like in many other small communities throughout America, the local health system and its medical centers are one among the most important single employers in Haxtun, Colorado. Haxtun’s population is simply 1,000, and therefore the Haxtun Hospital District employs quite 120 and welcomes a further 20 approximately volunteers. This plan explores what could happen if that working population is redirected to occupy Haxtun’s existing main street storefronts and buildings. What the team has envisioned can’t only save Haxtun, but countless rural communities across the country whose hospitals are threatened with closure. The plan seeks to redistribute the population density across the middle of the community so as to support these often-overlooked places and their medical centers. In Haxtun, the team conceptualized its ideas across a 3.3-acre site, roughly the dimensions of 1 block . It involves a mixture of nearly 20,000 square feet of adaptive reuse and quite 50,000 square feet of latest construction to realize a focused population gravity.”~ Read more about this project here.
Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, Boston, MA
Project excerpt: “Flow and movement are the defining features of this new academic precinct straddling Boston’s Roxbury and Fenway neighborhoods. This cutting-edge hub for the sciences has helped position Northeastern University as a premier destination for research, but it also is an important social space for college kids . Built on a brownfield, this new academic building, mentioned as ISEC, and its accompanying footbridge is that the first major project informed by the university’s institutional plan . The complex sits south of 1 of the city’s primary rail corridors, serving as a literal bridge between two diverse neighborhoods and a logo of the school’s desire to strengthen the communities surrounding it. The new footbridge , playfully referred to as PedX, and its surrounding landscape provide an accessible walkway up and over the tracks where the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Amtrak provide service. Pedestrians are greeted with a mild slope, shielding any views of the rail corridor, which eventually leads them to the 500-foot, free-form bridge that connects directly to the new building.” ~ Read more about this project here.
Rebuilding a Local Food Economy: Oahu, Hawai’i, Oahu Island, HI
University of Arkansas Community Design Center
Project excerpt: “Despite being the foremost inhabited remote landmass within the world, Hawaii imports quite 93% of its food. This plan aims to rebuild the local food systems on Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and residential to just about a million people. Working closely with the state’s department of agriculture, a various team of architects, urban designers, farmers, landscape architects, and food scientists embraced the thought of “thinking like an island” to make an innovative platform for developing value-added short food supply chains on Oahu. While food planning is usually viewed as a rural issue and is conspicuously absent in American planning and policy, food access is intrinsically linked to problems and health issues found in urban settings. Before the increase of commercial agriculture, local food processing and distribution centers were plentiful in American cities, ensuring both essential nutrition and farm prosperity. With food hubs, markets, and processors now absent, our cities became less resilient and susceptible to significant nutritional deficits.” ~ Read more about this project here.