The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the recipients of the 2019 Institute Honor Awards. The annual program recognizes excellence and distinction in architecture, urban design, and interior architecture. Three SOM projects were selected as winners. The Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan received an Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design; and the New United States Courthouse in Los Angeles and Optimo Hat Company in Chicago received Honor Awards for Interior Architecture.
Building on a ten-year initiative led by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, SOM developed a framework plan for Detroit's East Riverfront District. The district is adjacent to one of the world's busiest international border crossings along the Detroit River. Designed to preserve more riverfront land for public use, generate greater community access to the Detroit River, and spur investment along the East Riverfront, the project seeks to continue the transformation of the East Riverfront area into a vibrant public waterfront accessible to all Detroit residents.
The East Riverfront Plan identifies the starting point for redevelopment and presents prioritized phases for the longterm commitment required to realize comprehensive transformation. The planning framework also identifies future strategies that leverage existing initiatives on the East Riverfront, pulling them together to create quality riverfront destinations that are achievable today.
Optimo Hat Company is one of the leading makers of bespoke, handcrafted hats, serving a diverse and global clientele. Based for more than 25 years in the historic southwest Chicago neighborhood of Beverly, the company had outgrown its former premises in a small storefront-turned-factory. Optimo’s new headquarters consolidates its design, operations, and production spaces in a renovated 100-year old firehouse, formerly owned by the city. Designed to support an efficient and collaborative workflow, the new headquarters more than doubles the company's production capacity and accommodates future expansion, while allowing Optimo to reaffirm its commitment to the community.
The New United States Courthouse in Los Angeles features a design that is both modern in spirit and rooted in classic principles of federal architecture. It uses traditional architectural elements such as processional steps, grand public spaces, and enduring materials like limestone to achieve a strong civic identity. The building's distinctive facade incorporates opaque panels in east- and west-facing pleats to minimize solar thermal gain, while a light color palette maximizes the effectiveness of daylighting throughout the building.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Since its founding more than 80 years ago, SOM has earned a reputation for design excellence with a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Mumbai.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.