Region 9 Buildings Recognized at GSA Design Awards
By Javier Fernandez
The 2016 GSA Design Awards recognized four Region 9 buildings at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 8th. Since 2000, the biennial awards have celebrated outstanding achievements in design excellence as well as recognized the contributions of talented GSA employees and private sector architects, engineers, landscape architects, urban and interior designers and preservationists. The Design Awards also underscore the value GSA places on its investment of public buildings and the role they play in serving the public and creating highly productive work environments for the federal agencies they house.
“GSA delivers public buildings under the Guiding Principles of Federal Architecture. First, it must provide efficient and economical facilities for the use of government agencies. Second, it must provide visual testimony to the dignity, enterprise, vigor and sustainability of the American government,” said Dan Brown, Regional Commissioner for the Pacific Rim Region’s Public Buildings Service. “We are proud to be recognized for our work designing, building and maintaining our world-class public buildings. Our facilities are designed to incorporate the best architectural practices and latest sustainable technologies to serve our federal tenants and the public”.
This year, the Mariposa Land Port of Entry received an Honor Award in Architecture. Jurors singled out the 2-year-old port in Nogales, Arizona, for exemplifying how GSA has redefined the land port. The facility ensures security in a manner that is as efficient as it is humane, and which simultaneously celebrates regional landscape and national pride. The port also processes commercial vehicles and serves as a main port of entry for fresh produce entering the U.S. from Mexico.
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry received the Citation in the Urban Design and Planning due to the successful planning of the port and how its impact has had social, economic, and environmental benefits, reducing inspection wait times, increasing traveler satisfaction, facilitating commerce, and reducing air pollution. Phase one embodies these values in overt ways, as well. The Design Awards panelists deemed the new structures’ dynamic and inviting appearance a visual antidote to the anxiety of border crossing, for example, and praised the project team for pursuing water-management strategies that protect a nearby watershed and estuarine wildlife refuge.
“GSA understands the role it can have in helping shape and revitalize the communities, public spaces and neighborhoods that surround our construction projects,” said Maria Ciprazo, R9’s Regional Chief Architect. “As such, we strive to be good neighbors through smart urban design and planning activities that invite the community to become involved and be part of the process. The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry project is just one example that highlights this program and we are pleased to see it recognized in the Urban Design and Planning Award category.”
The newly constructed U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles, which will be formally dedicated on October 13th, received the Honor Award in the On-the-Boards category. The jurors particularly admired the relationship between the courthouse’s form and its important location near the Civic Center and Financial District. By extending the 10-story glass cube well beyond its limestone-clad base, the design team created a band of shaded outdoor space for the surrounding plaza, supporting pedestrian use of the downtown streetscape.
The Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas earned the 10 Year Award. According to the jurors, “the Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse is a milestone in the recent history of design - both repositioning GSA as a champion of contemporary architecture and shifting architect's’ mind set about what was possible in judicial buildings." The 10 Year Award recognizes projects that demonstrate continued excellence and have been substantially complete for at least 10 years. It being the 25th anniversary of GSA’s Design Excellence program, this is a new award category this year that is intended to reflect on the legacy of the program and recognize buildings that have stood the test of time through excellent building management as well as design.
"This 10 Year Award represents a validation and recognition of the Design Excellence Program,” said Ciprazo. “From its inception, the program has produced award winning projects that become permanent icons in their communities and reflect the best of American design.”