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Mayor de Blasio Announces Winners of 36th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design

May 23, 2018

Projects in all five boroughs enhance public service, resiliency, and civic pride

Artist rendering of one of the winning submission

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Public Design Commission President Signe Nielsen, and Executive Director of the Commission Justin Garrett Moore, today announced the winners of the 36thAnnual Awards for Excellence in Design. This year’s projects were honored for remarkable designs that enliven neighborhoods, improve recreational and cultural spaces, and preserve New York City’s historic gems.

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

“These eleven winning schools, parks, libraries, museums, and artworks aren’t only beautiful – they enrich their communities by bringing revitalizing existing spaces and creating vibrant new ones,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In coordination with 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 commitment to providing for a more equitable, resilient, and diverse city for all New Yorkers.

Projects include the reconstruction of Garrison Playground and renovation of the Brownsville Recreation Center, both of which will provide communities with much-needed recreation and amenities with human-centered designs.

The Studio Museum in Harlem’s new building, the renovation of the Hamilton Fish Park Branch Library and the installation of artworks at the Westchester Library and Snug Harbor Music Hall will enhance the City’s cultural offerings, providing inspiration and educational opportunities.

The stabilization and lighting of the New York State Pavilion, the adaptive reuse of the World’s Fair Reflecting Pool, and the restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion will preserve New York City’s rich historic fabric for the enjoyment of future generations.

In addition, a new education center and hotel at Cornell’s Roosevelt Island campus will act as the northern gateway to this center for learning, while a prototypical design for City plaza kiosks will offer a sleek and cost-effective solution to maintaining public plazas.

“The Public Design Commission is pleased to recognize these outstanding public projects, which prove that thoughtful design is a critical component of providing quality, equitable, and sustainable public spaces to all New Yorkers. By utilizing key principles of good design, these projects will provide new opportunities for education and recreation, offer inspirational artworks and cultural programming, and preserve our city’s historic structures and public plazas for the future enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors,” said Public Design Commission President Signe Nielsen.

“The projects that we are awarding today highlight the very best of our shared values and represent real investments in building a better city for all New Yorkers. Through excellence in design, our city’s agencies, architects, landscape architects, artists, and designers are working to enhance neighborhoods, improve our environment, health, and opportunities, and celebrate our creativity, history, and culture," said Public Design Commission Executive Director Justin Garrett Moore.

“Every one of these projects demonstrates how public art and design can creatively enrich the built environment while responding to the unique circumstances of each community,” said Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs. “Whether it's a park, a library, or a cultural venue, inclusively and thoughtfully designed art and infrastructure has the power to bring all New Yorkers together and shape an engaging, interactive, and welcoming city.”

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

Garrison Playground
East 146th Street, Walton Avenue, and the Grand Concourse, Bronx
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation
Department of Parks & Recreation In-House Design

As part of the Community Parks Initiative, the reconstruction of this park will benefit the previously underserved neighborhood of Mott Haven. With flexible spaces for a variety of uses, the park will become a nexus of community engagement and recreation for all age groups.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street, Manhattan    
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs and The Studio Museum in Harlem
Adjaye AssociatesCooper Robertson

 The Studio Museum’s new home will establish a distinguished architectural presence that celebrates the legacy of this critical cultural resource. Enlarged exhibition and program spaces will enhance the organization’s programming for Harlem residents and visitors from around the world.

 New York State Pavilion Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation 
Jan Hird Pokorny Associates
L'Observatoire International

 The rehabilitation of the 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion will provide stabilization, restored lighting, and maintenance access that will lay the foundation for future preservation and potential adaptive reuse of these iconic structures.

Reflecting Pool
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation 
Quennell Rothschild & Partners

The reconstruction of the Reflecting Pool is the first phase of a larger project to adaptively repurpose a series of fountains from the 1964 World’s Fair. The design references the original use of the space as a water feature yet transforms the site into an enjoyable and sustainable focal point in the park.

Convergence by Shawn Smith
Westchester Square Branch Library, 9 Westchester Square, Bronx
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, and the New York Public Library
Shawn Smith

Inspired by the New York Public Library’s collection of 19th- and early 20th-century illustrations, artist Shawn Smith chose 20 local songbirds for his artwork in the new Westchester Square Branch Library. Each of the 100 sculptures will be constructed from individually painted pieces of basswood, resulting in a diverse mix of bright patterns, shapes, and colors.

 Brownsville Recreation Center
1555 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation
1100 Architect

The rehabilitation of the Brownsville Recreation Center will transform an outdated 1950s structure into a vital neighborhood resource with renovated fitness areas, a pool, and multi-purpose classrooms. The revitalized center will provide the Brownsville community with enhanced programming and recreation for years to come.

Aship, Aground, Anew by Saul Becker
Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program and the Department of Design and Construction  
Saul Becker
Studio Joseph

 Saul Becker’s painting for the new Snug HarborCultural Center Music Halldepicts an 18th-century sailing ship run aground and transformed by nature with mature trees growing out of its hull. The artwork is an apt representation of a Staten Island community founded in a maritime tradition that is finding new ground and fostering growth.

 Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Hotel
Cornell University/Cornell Tech Campus, Roosevelt Island, Manhattan
A project of the Economic Development Corporation          
James Corner Field Operations

 As the northwest gateway to the Cornell Tech Campus, the education center and hotel will become an active and dynamic campus hub. The two buildings share a transparent podium that will house a mix of public and academic spaces, enlivening the exterior courtyard and campus and welcoming a diverse range of visitors from New York City and abroad.

 Concert Grove Pavilion
Concert Grove adjacent to East Lake Drive, Prospect Park, Brooklyn
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Prospect Park Alliance
Prospect Park Alliance In-House Design

Designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874, the Concert Grove Pavilion is an open-air shelter comprising eight cast iron columns supporting a decorative metal and wood roof with a stained-glass skylight. The restoration of the pavilion will repair water damage, reconstruct missing elements, and repaint the structure based on historic images, bringing new life to this charming historic gathering space.

Hamilton Fish Park Branch Library
415 East Houston Street, Manhattan
A project of the Department of Design and Construction and the New York Public Library
Rice + Lipka Architects
Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects & Planners

The renovation of this 1959 library will restore and renew a modernist structure with energy-efficient systems and resilient materials, transforming this civic structure into a light-filled, accessible and active facility that is visually connected to the community it serves.

Prototypical Kiosks for Citywide Plazas
A project of the Department of Transportation
Billings Jackson Design

The prototypical plaza kiosks will provide a cost effective source of revenue for the continued maintenance of city plazas. The versatile design is aesthetically harmonious with the city’s street furnishings and will activate public spaces with amenities and lighting.

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