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7 great places that represent excellence in environmental design

Program celebrates professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design, with emphasis on human activity or experience.

June 13, 2013 |

An adaptive reuse to create LEED Platinum offices in Georgia, an Ohio park that honors veterans, and a grand national plaza are among the seven projects named winners of the 2013 Great Places Awards. The Environmental Design and Research Association  recognize professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design, with special attention paid to the relationship between physical form and human activity or experience.


2013 Place Design Award Recipients


1315 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 

Perkins + Will



This LEED Platinum project transformed a 1986 office structure into a "living laboratory" and educational tool for sustainable design. Rigorous research was conducted in pre- and post-occupancy evaluations.


Dublin Grounds of Remembrance

PLANT Architect Inc.


Located in Dublin, Ohio, this one-acre park honors the service of veterans and celebrates the city's heritage. The project examined how architecture can be used to "frame, reveal, and engage the landscape while connecting people to the site and navigating their experience of place." Designers chose not to provide a traditional monument, instead promoting the acts of walking and social gathering.


Place Planning Award Recipients


Northerly Island Park Framework Plan

SmithGroupJJR and Studio Gang Architects


This plan, for an island linked to Chicago's existing lakefront Museum Campus, extends green and sustainable design principles to the waterfont in an ecologically driven plan. The framework establishes zones ranging from urban/active to natural/passive, and includes woodland and waterfront ecology.


Unified Ground: National Mall Competition, Union Square 

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol


This plan overlays and enriches the Union Square plaza in the nation's capital with spaces for informal activities. New features and textures respond to the underlying natural landform, daily patterns of movement, and the diverse needs and desires of the users. The plan extends the formal Mall axis to Union Square, including a pool, plaza, and additional pathways.


Place Research Award Recipient


Pop Up City: Temporary Use Strategies for a Sinking City 

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative


Pop Up City is an action-based research program that implements temporary projects as a means of urban reinvention. The research is part of the graduate architecture curriculum at Kent State University, encompassing design-build exercises that culminate in deployment and assessment of temporary projects. (The photo is of Hipp Deck, an outdoor performance venue temporarily created at a parking deck that was once the site of the city's famous Hippodrome Theater.)


Place Book Award Recipient


"Urban Composition," by Mark Childs

This book, which addresses designers but also serves as a teaching tool for urban design, discusses how architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, public artists, city council members, and other participants can caollaborate to create environmentally sound, socially resilient, and "soul enlivening" settlements.


Placemaking Award: Providence


WaterFire Providence


WaterFire Providence, a nonprofit arts organizaton, manages an evolving public art installation of music, floating fires, art, and dance along three rivers in downtown Providence. The project continually changes in response to citizen participation and ongoing expansion of the river park system.


Jurors for the 2013 Great Places Awards:

  • Julian Bonder, Principal, Wodiczko + Bonder
  • Gayle Epp, Partner, EJP Consulting
  • Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human Centered Design
  • Peter M. Hourihan, LEED®AP, Principal & Director of Research, Cannon Design
  • Mikyoung Kim, Principal & Design Director, Mikyoung Kim Design. 
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