The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently announced the 2017–2018 Global Awards for Excellence winners. The Awards for Excellence program, established in 1979 and subsequently expanded to a global program, recognizes real estate projects that achieve the highest standard of excellence in design, construction, economics, planning, and management. Widely considered the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to promote best practices in real estate development, the program recognizes the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design. The criteria for the awards include leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnerships, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial viability. Throughout the program’s history, all types of projects have been recognized for their excellence, including office, residential, recreational, urban/mixed use, industrial/office park, commercial/retail, new community, rehabilitation, and public projects and programs.
The winners, each of which demonstrates an innovative, forward-looking approach to design and development, include eight projects in the United States, two in Canada, one in Europe, and two in Asia:
- Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, Spain (Developers: Bilbao City Council, Alhóndiga, Center of Ocio y Cultura, Bilbao Ría 2000; Designer: Philippe Starck)
- Buffalo Bayou Park, Houston, Texas, United States (Developer: Buffalo Bayou Partnership; Designers: SWA Group, Page)
- Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, Illinois, United States (Developers: City of Chicago, Department of Transportation; Designers: Ross Barney Architects [All Phases], Sasaki [Phases 2, 3] Alfred Benesch & Company [Phases 2, 3], Jacobs/Ryan Associates [All Phases] and Collins Engineers [Phase 1])
- Downtown Allentown Revitalization District, (including PPL Center Arena Block & City Center Lehigh Valley), Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States (Owners/developers: Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, Hammes Company, City Center Investment Corp. et al.; Designers: Sink Combs Dethlefs Architects (now Perkins+Will), Elkus – Manfredi Architects, et al.)
- Emeryville Center of Community Life, Emeryville, California, United States (Developers: Turner Construction Company, Swinerton Management & Consulting; Designers: Nexus Partners, DSK Architects, Mark Seiberlich Concordia, Steven Bingler, MKThink, Steve Kelley)
- Half Moon Village, Half Moon Bay, California, United States (Developer: MidPen Housing Corp.; Designer: Herman Coliver Locus Architecture)
- Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City, Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan (Developer: Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd.; Master planner and coordinator: Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha (UDCK); Designer: ZGF, Nikken Sekkei Ltd., Jun Mitsui & Associates Inc. Architects, Studio on Site (landscape architect)
- Marine Gateway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Developer: PCI Developments; Designer: Perkins+Will)
- Milwaukee RiverWalk, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States (Developers: The Milwaukee RiverWalk District, Inc., The Mandel Group, Business Improvement District No. 2, The Brewery Works, Inc. et al; Designers: KenKay Associates, Mary Miss, Engberg Anderson Architects, et al)
- Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore, Singapore (Developer: Far East Organization; Designer: WOHA)
- Pearl, San Antonio, Texas, United States (Developer: Silver Ventures, Inc.; Designers: Lake Flato Architects, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors, Don McDonald Architects, Sprinkle & Co. Architects, Ford Powell & Carson Architects, Jim Kissling Architecture, Dado Group, Clayton & Little Architecture)
- University Center- The New School, New York, New York, United States (Developer: The Durst Organization; Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP)
- West Don Lands, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Master Developer: Waterfront Toronto; Precinct Plan: Urban Design Associates; Developers: Urban Capital [River City], DREAM Unlimited, Kilmer Group [Canary District], Toronto Community Housing; Public Realm & Urban Designers: The Planning Partnership with PFS Studio with &Co., Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.; Landscape Designers: Claude Cormier & Associates, NAK Design Strategies; Architectural Design – River City: Saucier & Perrotte, ZAS Architects; Architectural Design – Canary District: architectsAlliance, KPMB Architects, Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects, Daoust Lestage, MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Design/Builder – Canary District: EllisDon Inc., Ledcor Group; Retail Designer: Live Work Learn Play)
The winners were selected by an international jury made up of ULI members representing a multidisciplinary collection of real estate development expertise, including finance, land planning, development, public affairs, design, and other professional services.
“Each of these winners demonstrates a thoughtful, innovative approach to urban development that is adding to the sustainability and livability of the communities in which they are located,” said 2017-2018 Global Awards Jury Chairman Wendy Rowden, president of 42nd Street Development Corp. in New York City. “The attention paid to project detail, flexible design, and neighborhood context were among the factors making these entries stand out. They represent the type of development that will withstand the tests of time and change.”
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