AIA San Francisco (AIASF) recognized two SOM projects in California in the 2017 Design Awards. The annual program honors the outstanding achievements in architecture and design of Bay Area individuals and organizations, as well as the distinguished work of architects and related professionals from outside the Bay Area who contribute to the framework of the local built environment.
The new United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles received a Merit Award in Architecture. In recognizing the building, the jury noted that the architectural expression of the building reflects an inextricable union of site topography, functionality, environmental performance, form, and democratic principles that honor the public realm. Additionally, the jury praised the project’s heroic modernism and natural lighting, noting that it is rare to see sustainability expressed so powerfully in architecture.
BayArc—a tidal responsive barrier concept—received a Citation Award in the Unbuilt Design category. Designed to protect cities along the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries from flooding caused by rising sea levels, BayArc is minimal, lightweight, and environmentally sensitive system that utilizes a tensile membrane to curtail high water peaks when deployed. The design for BayArc was informed by an analysis of tidal patterns in the bay, revealing the key fact that expected sea level rise would only cause major flooding in concert with high tides and storm surges.