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AIA Seattle announces 2017 Honor Awards winners

Featuring projects from 18 local architects and firms

North Transfer Station. Seattle, Washington.
The North Transfer Station in Wallingford took honorable mention.
Courtesy of AIA Seattle

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle announced the winners of its 67th annual honors awards last week, recognizing projects that Washington-based architects have worked on in the past year.

Out of 133 submissions, 18 designs, both built and conceptual, were chosen. That includes winners of the Honor Awards and the Energy in Design Award, which goes to projects that have top-notch design, but also make a significant contribution to energy reduction.

AIA Seattle accepts both built and conceptual submissions, but ultimately, only a couple of concepts were chosen for honorable mentions: a timber tower and an idea that gives “tree-lined street” new meaning.

The jury included J. Meejin Yoon, head of the architecture department at MIT; distinguished architect Robert Harris; and KPMP founding architect Shirley Blumberg.

Here’s what took honors.

Awards of Honor

The University of Washington’s west campus utility plant, completed in early 2017, “elevat[ed] the idea of what infrastructure projects can be,” according to the AIA. The sustainability-oriented project provides both cooling and emergency power to that section of campus. The project was completed by the Miller Hull Partnership.

The one residential project to take home top honors, a home in Magnolia designed by MW Works, was built for clients looking for a “strong connection to the outdoors.” It features strategic windows to maximize daylight and a passive ventilation system. Like MW’s other residential projects, it has a modern design using natural materials, appearing to draw inspiration from area midcentury homes.

Miller Hull renovated Renton’s 1966 library, built over a bridge—but with unfortunately small windows and a limiting design. The project involved opening up the space, exposing industrial details and adding floor-to-ceiling, energy-efficient windows to bring in the Cedar River view.

NBBJ is busy building skyscrapers in Seattle and elsewhere, but that didn’t keep it from building this ultra-sustainable science building—the Integrated Research and Innovation Center—at the University of Idaho. The design allows flexibility between different types of labs. The building is pretty innovative on its own: It is self-shading and reduces heat, earning it LEED Gold certification.

Energy in Design Awards

For the Chatham University Eden Hall campus in Pennsylvania, Mithun sought to create the first net-positive-energy campus—i.e., creating more energy than it expends. Passive-design buildings are only part of the strategy, which also includes an aquaculture facility that sustainably produces fish. Constructed wetlands provide wastewater treatment. Dorms have rainwater collection, photovoltaic sunscreens, and rainwater harvesting.

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the weather isn’t always the most pleasant for finding food off-campus. So it hired Perkins + Will to expand the dining area. The plan is inspired by the aurora borealis, with long strips of LED lights, which move from orange to green, with controllable intensity.

The building checks its own progress and energy efficiency, with panels collecting real-time data on the building’s envelope. Students and faculty can study its progress—so far, it’s resulted in a 66 percent reduction in energy use.

Awards of Merit

Wanapum Heritage Center. Priest Rapids, Washington.

Top left: Wanapum Heritage Center. Top right:100 Stewart Hotel. Bottom left: Weyerhaeuser Headquarters. Bottom right: University of Iowa Voxman Music Building. (Displayed top to bottom on mobile.)

Merit awards include the Wanapum Heritage Center by Mithun, the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building by LMN Architects, the University of California Irvine Mesa Court Towers by Mithun, 100 Stewart Hotel and Apartments by Olson Kundig, and the Weyerhaeuser Headquarters at 200 Occidental by Mithun, plus a literal dump—the North Transfer Station in Wallingford by Mahlum Architects.

Honorable Mention

Top left: Grasshopper Studio. Top right: JW’s King Street offices. Bottom left: 325 Westlake. Bottom right: Henry Apartments. (Displayed top to bottom on mobile.)

For honorable mention, Wittman Estes created a courtyard studio within the footprint of a 1940s house, JW built its own International District offices, Graham Baba’s arts-funding residential building 325 Westlake, and Public 47’s Henry Apartments.

Left: “Seattle Mass Timber Tower.” Right: “The RIght Way.”

Two design concepts also earned honorable mentions. Callison RTKL explored the feasibility of using sustainable mass timber for a 40-story residential tower (appropriately titled “Seattle Mass Timber Tower”). And Miller Hull’s concept, “The Right Way,” explored bringing biodiversity to city streets.