At a ceremony on June 28, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognized recipients of the distinguished Honor Awards, which recognize excellence and distinction in architecture, urban design, and interior architecture. Daniel Ringelstein, SOM Director, and Kristopher Takacs, SOM, Associate Director, accepted awards for the Son Tra Peninsula Strategic Vision Plan and Denver Union Station. Both projects, winning accolades in the Regional & Urban Design category, demonstrate SOM’s commitment to ecologically integrated and livable development strategies.
SOM’s Son Tra Peninsula Strategic Vision Plan outlines informed strategies to guide the use of this Vietnamese land while protecting its unique natural assets, which are currently threatened by a wide range of economic development pressures. Adjacent to the city center of Da Nang and covering nearly 15,000 acres of unique natural landscape, the mountainous Son Tra Peninsula projects into the South China Sea. SOM’s vision plan calls for protecting the peninsula by distinguishing it as a national park while providing initiatives to strengthen eco-tourism. The plan proposes locations for compact, high-density development that enables new employment and increased GDP for the wider region, while protecting sensitive wildlife habitat zones and responding to existing topography.
The redevelopment of the former rail yards at Denver Union Station is a case study of the power of transit-oriented urban design. The 42-acre master plan knits together light rail, commuter rail, and buses into a 21st-century transportation hub. Intermodal connectivity is facilitated by integrating land use and transportation infrastructure to support more than 4 million square feet of mixed-use urban infill. This substantial public investment has catalyzed an unprecedented wave of private-sector activity, with over $1 billion in new projects shaping a transit-oriented precinct and new urban neighborhood.