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Mayor de Blasio Announces Winners of 35th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design

May 11, 2017

Projects in all five boroughs engender civic pride, sustainability and public service

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Public Design Commission President Signe Nielsen, and Executive Director of the Commission, Justin Moore, today announced the winners of the 35th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design. This year’s projects were honored for remarkable designs that create sustainable spaces, enhance neighborhoods and even preserve New York City history.

A book of all the projects is available here and high-resolution images here.

As part of NYCxDESIGN – an annual citywide celebration of innovative art and design from around the world – this year’s awards recognize projects that help fulfill the de Blasio Administration’s OneNYC goals of building a more resilient city, such as the reconstruction of Downtown Far Rockaway in Queens and the Tottenville Shoreline Protection project in Staten Island. Projects like the NYPD’s Bomb Squad Building and the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new Woodside Facility will help protect and serve the public and create more and better work spaces for police officers and cab drivers.

Also recognized are the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center, FIT’s New Academic Building in Manhattan, the Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens and the Conservation and Relocation of three WPA-era murals, which will enrich the lives of New Yorkers of all ages through educational programming and cultural exchange. 

“The best public projects are purposeful and use design to build a sense of community and civic pride,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We commend the teams behind these critical and creative projects that will help build a stronger, more equitable city and improve services and recreational activities for every New Yorker.”

The awards are given by the City’s Public Design Commission. This year’s event, at 4 p.m. today in the Rotunda at City Hall, also celebrates the 34th Annual award-winning projects.

“The outstanding public works being awarded today support the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to providing quality, equitable, and resilient public spaces to all New Yorkers. By integrating key principles of good design with sustainable practices and materials, these projects will regenerate the city’s natural environment, improve services to the public, and offer inspirational artworks and educational programming,” said Public Design Commission President Signe Nielsen

“The exceptional work of these designers, artists, and city agencies prove that New York remains a global leader in art, design, public infrastructure, and improving the quality of urban life and the public realm. As the City takes on some of the toughest challenges that impact our social, built, and natural environments, quality design, innovation, and creativity are some of the best tools that we have to reflect our values and shape a better future for New York City,” said Public Design Commission Executive Director Justin Garrett Moore.

“New York City is one of the most extraordinary built environments in the world,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “It’s thanks to our ongoing commitment to accessible and inclusive art and design that we continue work with communities around the city to enhance our public buildings and civic space. Many congratulations to the project managers, designers, architects, artists, and others whose work we’re honoring today, and for their visionary commitment to building a better New York.”

“We are very grateful that the Public Design Commission continues to recognize the high quality design DDC provides for a wide variety of public projects,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “Six PDC awards over the last two years demonstrate DDC’s commitment to delivering buildings and infrastructure of all types that advance Mayor de Blasio’s vision of a resilient, sustainable, equitable and healthy City. I thank DDC’s dedicated in-house staff, as well as the designers and architects we work with, for making this honor possible.”

The Public Design Commission

The Public design Commission reviews permanent works of architecture, landscape architecture, and art proposed on or over City-owned property. The Commission comprises 11 members, including an architect, landscape architect, painter, sculptor, and three lay members, as well as representatives of the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, and the Mayor.

Members of the Commission serve pro bono and meet once per month. Projects considered for the annual awards are submitted by City agencies and include the construction, renovation, or restoration of buildings and other structures; the creation or rehabilitation of parks, playgrounds, and plazas; installation of lighting and other streetscape elements; signage; and the installation and conservation of artwork and memorials. The Commission has been honoring extraordinary projects annually since 1983.

The Award-Winning Projects

Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center 
107 Norman Avenue, Brooklyn
A project by the Brooklyn Public Library
Marble Fairbanks Architects 
SCAPE Landscape Architecture

  • Exceeding LEED Silver goals, the center will become a demonstration project for innovative approaches to sustainable design, and an environmental learning tool for the community. 

Double Sun by Mary Temple
McCarren Park Play Center, 776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn 
A project by the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program and Department of Parks & Recreation
Mary Temple

  • Gracing the interior of McCarren Park Pool’s dramatic archway entrance, Mary Temple’s paintings create a subtle and elegant visual disturbance.

Downtown Far Rockaway Streetscape 
Central Avenue, Mott Avenue, Beach 19th Street, Beach 20th Street, Beach 21st Street, and Beach 22nd Street, Queens
A project by the Department of Design and Construction, Department of Transportation, and Department of Parks & Recreation
W Architecture and Landscape Architecture

  • Incorporating Vision Zero strategies, this comprehensive streetscape design will foster a safer, more inviting, pedestrian experience in this central business district and transportation hub.

Bomb Squad Building
100A Rodman’s Neck Path, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
A project by the Department of Design and Construction and New York Police Department
Rice + Lipka Architects
Liz Farrell Landscape Architecture

  • The simple and smart design of this resilient office and training facility elevates critical program elements above the floodplain and allows flood waters to flow through without damaging the building. 

Treetop Adventure Zipline and Nature Trek 
The Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx
A project by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Wildlife Conservation Society

  • Two new adventures provide unique perspectives at the zoo – visitors can zip across the Bronx River and navigate a series of bridges with narrow beams, obstacles, and climbing wiggling surfaces.

FIT New Academic Building
Fashion Institute of Technology, 28th Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue, Manhattan
A project by the Department of Education and the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
SHoP Architects; MNLA

  • The first newly-constructed building on the FIT campus in nearly 50 years has an NEA award-winning design that reflects FIT’s commitment to openness, community engagement, and the robust exchange of ideas across many platforms.

Woodside Office, Garage, and Inspection Facility 
24-55 Brooklyn-Queens Expressway West, Queens
A project by the Department of Design and Construction and Taxi and Limousine Commission
TEN Arquitectos; W Architecture and Landscape Architecture

  • Serving as the central inspection location for over 13,500 taxis, this facility will provide a welcoming and dignified experience for drivers, reduce queuing times, and increase inspection capacity by more than 200 cars per day. 

The Cubes Administration and Education Building
Socrates Sculpture Park, Vernon Boulevard, Broadway, and 31st Road, Queens
A project by the Department of Parks & Recreation and Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Constructed of 18 shipping containers, the Cubes will be Socrates Sculpture Park’s first permanent structure in its thirty-year history and a manifestation of the organization’s emphasis on reclamation and adaptive re-use, as well as a reference to the neighborhood’s industrial roots.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION                  
The Department of Environmental Protection, for the agency’s thoughtful design of green infrastructure in the watershed to help protect the city’s water supply

  • DEP’s use of green infrastructure in its upstate properties not only results in resilient and innovative designs, but is a critical component of the agency’s ability to maintain the high quality of New York City’s drinking water supply.

Tottenville Shoreline Protection
A project by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Transportation, and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Stantec; RACE Coastal Engineering

  • In tandem with ReBuild by Design’s Living Breakwaters Project, this shoreline initiative will increase public access by creating an interconnected and seamless waterfront trail, incorporating wetland enhancement, eco-revetments, hardened dune systems, shoreline plantings, maritime forest restorations, and earthen berms.

Conservation and Relocation of three WPA-era murals
A project by the Economic Development Corporation and Cornell Tech
EverGreene Architectural Arts; Fine Art Conservation Group; Morphosis; Weiss/Manfredi

  • Commissioned in the 1940s by the Work Projects Administration (WPA), these murals were painted over and forgotten for decades. As part of the new Cornell Tech campus, the murals were uncovered and conserved and will be integrated into new campus buildings for public enjoyment.

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