Honoring Excellence in Public Architecture and Design

Posted March 28, 2003

In a ceremony in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2003, the 2002 GSA Design Awards recognized 24 outstanding projects that reflect GSA’s promotion of outstanding public architecture and design.

Among those honored were the proposed design for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland; the seismic upgrade for the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City, Utah; the renovation and restoration of the Jose V. Toledo U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Tenant Guide for the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona.

“As you can see in this year’s design award winners, GSA is helping to shape what we believe future generations will see as an enduring gift to the nation, a treasured legacy of Federal architecture,” noted F. Joseph Moravec, Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service.

The GSA Design Awards program was re-instituted in 1990 and is held biennially. Entries for 2002 were judged in 17 categories: Architecture; Architecture on the Boards; Art in Architecture and Art Conservation; Child Care Centers; Construction Excellence; Craft; Engineering, Technology and/or Energy Conservation; First Impressions; Graphic Design; Historic Preservation, Restoration, and/or Renovation, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Lease Construction, Security and Openness; Sustainability, Urban Planning, and Workplace Environment.

“The extraordinary range of project attitudes and approaches impressed the jury,” explained Boston architect and Jury Chair Moshe Safdie. This was important because it demonstrated that GSA’s Design Excellence Program is not about a formula or preconceived design ideas but a process that attracts and embraces an exciting range of philosophies and viewpoints. Overall, we tended to honor buildings that effectively addressed urban design challenges and maintained a strong sense of openness. We also admired projects that were environmentally responsible.”

In addition to Safdie, the other jurors were: Gerald Anderson, Fort Gaines, Georgia; Deborah Berke, New York, New York; Richard Brayton, San Francisco, California; Susan Child, Boston, Massachusetts; Wendy Feuer, New York, New York; Tracy Hart, St. Louis, Missouri; Ralph Johnson, New York, New York; Ethel Kessler, Bethesda, Maryland; Raymond Messer, Houston, Texas; Elizabeth Moule, Pasadena, California; Mary Oehrlein, Washington, DC; William Stanley, Atlanta, Georgia; and Joe Valerio, Chicago, Illinois.

An exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, showcases the award-winning projects. It runs through October 19, 2003.

Following is a complete list of the award-winning projects with the jury’s citations.


Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building Center for Food Safety and Nutrition College Park, MD

N. Michael McKinnell—Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects

Citation - Jury Comment: Simple and dignified, yet dynamic, this building pleasantly infuses natural daylight into offices, labs and public spaces alike.

Pacific Highway U. S. Port of Entry

Blaine, WA

Thomas Hacker—Thomas Hacker Architects

Citation - Jury Comment: The combination of wood siding and corrugated metal gives the structure a regional mood and modern legibility.

On the Boards

United States Courthouse Eugene, OR Thom Mayne—Morphosis

Citation - Jury Comment: A highly rational plan with fluid, sculptural massing. This combination of order and artistry is an appropriate new symbol for the courts.

Census Bureau Headquarters

Suitland, MD

Gary Haney—Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Citation - Jury Comment: This project takes landscape design as seriously as architecture. The workplace maximizes light and views to create a pleasurable place to spend the day.

Temecula Border Patrol Station

Murietta, CA

James Garrison—Garrison Architects

Citation - Jury Comment: The border between the United States and Mexico is made visible in the steel cladding and linear form of this building. Generous use of glass symbolizes our country’s open society.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility

Suitland, MD

Thom Mayne—Morphosis

Citation - Jury Comment: Technology and nature are juxtaposed to create a powerful presence while providing a good workplace environment within.

Art Conservation

“State Pride” and “Justice” by Leo Friedlander

Nashville, TN

Catherine S. Myers—Art Conservation Associates

Citation - Jury Comment: A team of experts came up with innovative solutions to the complex problems of rescuing these plaster models.


Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building

Salt Lake City, UT

A. Parry Brown—Reaveley Engineers & Associates

Citation - Jury Comment: Structural upgrading and architectural cladding preserve a landmark while creating a modern, attractive, and energy-efficient building.

Workplace Environment

Office of the Chief Architect, GSA

Washington, DC

Debra Lehman-Smith—Lehman-Smith McLeish

Honor Award - Jury Comment: Well organized and beautifully detailed, the space is a handsome home for a Federal agency that sponsors world-class architecture throughout the country. The material palette, while understated, exudes richness.

First Impressions

James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse

Philadelphia, PA

Alan Greenberger—MGA Partners

Citation - Jury Comment: Glass panels combining patriotic imagery and memorable quotations make the courthouse more welcoming and better connected to its public purpose. It is easy to imagine a visitor being inspired by this space.

Martinsburg Federal Building and U. S. Courthouse

Martinsburg, WV

Debra Lehman-Smith—Lehman-Smith McLeish

Citation - Jury Comment: This design shows that a small project can make a big impact when handled creatively. It supports the GSA’s efforts to both enhance the workplace and give something back to the larger community.

Graphic Design

GSA Design Excellence Monograph Series

Washington, DC

Tom Geismar—Chermayeff & Geismar

Honor Award - Jury Comment: This stunning series exemplifies graphic design at its best. The format, typography, and photography let the architecture come to the forefront. Guidelines provide an excellent direction for perpetuating this series.

GSA Historic Building Poster Series

Washington, DC

Judith A. Cox—Cox & Associates

Citation - Jury Comment: The classical format and scale of these posters commands attention. High-quality printing and stunning photography make each design a gem.

Jacob Weinberger U. S. Courthouse Booklet

San Diego, CA

Rick Helf—Rightside Imaging

Citation - Jury Comment: This charming keepsake successfully tells the story of the building’s history and preservation. The designer honors the past with a high-quality piece for the building’s future.

Sandra Day O’Connor U. S. Courthouse Tenant Guide

Phoenix, AZ

Ray Vote—Ray Vote Graphics

Citation - Jury Comment: Large, complex buildings often need to be explained to their users—what to do in an emergency, where to find the bicycle storage. The graphic design of this tenant guide achieves the same precision and rigor found in the architecture of the courthouse.


Environmental Protection Agency Research and Administration Facility

Research Triangle Park, NC

William K. Hellmuth—Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum

Citation - Jury Comment: Even before the emergence of government-sanctioned standards for sustainable design, this project incorporated a wide range of environmentally sensitive features. The campus is a prototype that has influenced state and national guidelines for “green” design.

Interior Design

Poste Restaurant, Hotel Monaco

Washington, DC

Theo Adamstein and Olvia Demetriou—Adamstein & Demetriou Architects

Honor Award - Jury Comment: Strong use of color, materials, and lighting exude richness and warmth appropriate to a restaurant. The design points the way to new uses for Federal landmarks and urban infill sites.

Historic Preservation, Restoration, Renovation

José V, Toledo U.S. Post Office and Courthouse

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Maurice N. Finegold—Finegold Alexander + Associates

Honor Award - Jury Comment: This exceptional restoration maintains the maximum amount of historic fabric while integrating current security and programmatic requirements. The project has been a catalyst for the preservation of other historic buildings in Old San Juan.

U. S. Courthouse

Camden, NJ

Daniel Kelley—MGA Partners; Catherine S. Myers—Art Conservation Associates

Citation - Jury Comment: A sensitive adaptation of an historic building for modern use. The restoration and renovation of this U.S. Courthouse is a model for recycling Federal property in city centers.

Ariel Rios Federal Building Façade Completion

Washington, DC

Enrique A. Bellini—Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey

Citation - Jury Comment: The success of this project—to complete an unfinished façade—is that it’s invisible. The new design appears to be an integral part of the original 1930s construction.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Independence, MO

Dennis Strait—Gould Evans

Citation - Jury Comment: New elements successfully combine contemporary architecture with the character of the original building. The use of glass throughout the addition is superb.

Construction Excellence

Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building

Salt Lake City, UT

James F. Allison—Big-D Construction Corporation

Honor Award - Jury Comment: Innovative cost-saving ideas make this complicated project a model of value engineering. The contractor did an amazing job of pre-planning the construction to minimize disturbance to tenants.

Ariel Rios Federal Building Modernization—Phase II

Washington, DC

Kenneth M. Grunley—Grunley Construction Company

Honor Award - Jury Comment: A strong partnering and value engineering process allowed for change orders while keeping the project on schedule and under budget. Well-coordinated phasing allowed for tenant occupancy during construction.

James H. Quillen U.S. Courthouse

Greeneville, TN

Monte McKinney—Caddell Construction Company

Honor Award - Jury Comment: Completed early and under budget, this courthouse shows how cost-effective construction can be. Exemplary workmanship, user satisfaction, and neighbor-friendly design elements contribute to its success.

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