United States Consulate General in Guangzhou Wins CODAawards

The U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, has been named the winner of the Institutional Curation category in the 2014 CODAawards. The awards program honors projects that demonstrate the most successful integration of commissioned art into an interior or architectural space.

Presented by CODAworx, an online platform that connects members of the creative community and showcases design projects featuring commissioned artwork, the 2014 CODAawards recognized one project in each of the 10 established categories and two overall People's Choice winners. After being shortlisted, an esteemed jury selected the U.S. Consulate General as the winner of the Institutional Curation category.

The U.S. Consulate General features a collection of works by leading American and Chinese artists. For the permanent outdoor sculpture "Now," artist Joel Shapiro collaborated with SOM on questions of scale, positioning, and lighting. Inside the Consulate, artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s massive video projection, “Orbit,” explores ideas of space and motion. Steinkamp’s piece anchors the south wall of the Consulates Great Hall, framed by a wooden veil wrapping the Hall’s Wall’s and ceiling. In the lobby, pictorial lightboxes by Doug Aitken embody the complex relationship between architecture and art.

The U.S. State Department's Office of Art in Embassies (AIE) curated a permanent art collection for the Consulate General, while the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), a non-profit organization dedicated to donating American works of art to U.S. embassies and consulates contributed the outdoor sculpture by Joel Shapiro.

In explaining the decision, CODAawards stated that “the jurors were incredibly impressed with the Consulate team’s project goals and the careful integration of the array of artworks into the interior and exterior spaces. In addition, the collaborative process between all of the parties involved is an outstanding example of how large-scale, cross-cultural projects can achieve success.”

SOM has a long history of collaboration with seminal and emerging artists, having always regarded art as integral to architectural space. This includes a legacy of site-specific work with masters such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Alexander Calder. The U.S. government shares a similar commitment to join great art with its landmark architecture at home and abroad.

“The Department of State has elevated the role of architectural design excellence and art as an integral part of the American diplomatic mission,” said Craig Hartman, SOM Design Partner. “It has been very gratifying to collaborate with FAPE and Art in Embassies during the design process to include site-specific art – and it has been an unexpected privilege to work directly with contemporary masters such as Ellsworth Kelly, Martin Puryear, and Joel Shapiro, among others, in achieving a powerful union of art and architecture.”

The winning projects of the CODAawards are featured in the August issue of Interior Design magazine. This recognition follows significant architectural praise for the Consulate in the December issue of Architect Magazine’s Annual Design Review Award.

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