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BD+C's 2017 Reconstruction Award Winners

Reconstruction Awards

BD+C's 2017 Reconstruction Award Winners

Provo City Center Temple, the Union Trust Building, and the General Motors Factory One are just a few of the projects recognized as 2017 Reconstruction Award winners.

By BD+C Staff | November 30, 2017

Building Design + Construction’s 34th annual Reconstruction Awards honor 19 projects for standing out as the best in renovation, preservation and adaptive reuse work.

For the 2017 Reconstruction Awards, BD+C awarded two Platinum awards, four Gold awards, five Silver awards, five bronze awards, and three honorable mentions. The projects ranged in use from restaurants and university buildings to healthcare facilities and religious buildings.

Each award-winning project is listed below. For more information about each, click on the project’s name or image.




Harlem Renaissance: A vacant school provides much-needed housing and a clubhouse for children

New York, N.Y.

The after school program in the new clubhouse

The adaptive reuse of PS 186 in West Harlem shows what can be done when imagination and determination come together. Through the combined efforts of the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem and its development partners, an abandoned public school has been turned into an anchor institution for the Hamilton Heights neighborhood. The adaptive reuse of the 114-year-old school provides two sorely needed services: an 11,300-sf clubhouse with an after-school program and teen center, and 79 units of affordable housing in a neighborhood that is feeling the negative effects of gentrification.


Hallowed ground: A Mormon temple rises from the ashes of a fire-ravaged historic tabernacle

Provo, Utah

The Sealing Room

December 17, 2010. That was the day a 300-watt light fixture carelessly placed on a wooden speaker box caused a fire that burned down the 35,000-sf Utah Stake Tabernacle in Provo, which the LDS Church had dedicated in 1898.




Foyer fantastique: Faded images provide the key to a historic theater's lobby restoration

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland's Ohio Theater

The Ohio Theatre, which opened in 1921, is one of four historic theaters in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, the largest renovated theater district in the U.S. A fire destroyed the Ohio in 1964, and its latest reconstruction rectifies some incompatible remodeling of the past to restore the theater’s lobby to its prior grandeur. The restoration relied heavily on historic photos and drawings (archived at Columbia University) by the theater’s original designer, Thomas Lamb.


Back to the '20s: Coney Island gets a new eatery reminiscent of the past

Brooklyn, N.Y.

The gastropub at Kitchen 21

A $60 million public-private investment is catalyzing the resurgence of 2.41 acres of public land along Coney Island’s boardwalk into a dynamic civic space called Seaside Park and Community Arts Center. This project included the restoration of the landmark Childs Restaurant, which opened in 1923 but had fallen into decay. Its last tenant, a candy maker, vacated the property in the 1980s.


Elegance personified: New life for a neglected but still imposing retail/office space

Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Union Trust Building, commissioned by coal magnate Henry Clay Frick and completed in 1917, originally was a 240-store shopping arcade with 700 offices on its upper floors. This 11-story Flemish-Gothic–style building has had several owners. The latest, Pittsburgh native Jon Davis, CEO of The Davis Companies, paid $14 million in 2014 with the intention of revitalizing it into an amenities-rich commercial center.


Gray lady no more: A facelift erases a landmark’s wrinkles, but not her heritage

Chicago, Ill.

By 2006, the New York Life Insurance Building, designed in 1893 by the father of the skyscraper, William Le Baron Jenney, had receded into obsolescence. Its owner, Hamilton Partners, was planning to demolish the 14-story landmark in Chicago’s Loop to make way for a 51-story hotel/office tower next door.




Eyes wide open: Students can see their new home’s building elements

Calgary, Alb.

The light-filled, five-story atrium

“Engineering on display.” That was the theme for the 119,500-sf renovation and 197,000 sf of new construction of the University of Calgary’s engineering school. Instead of hiding MEP and structural elements, the design team of Diamond Schmitt Architects and Gibbs Gage Architects exposed them to students’ view, thereby celebrating them as a learning mechanism.


Honor Guard: Historic Veterans Building pays homage to those who served in World War I and other foreign wars

San Francisco, Calif.

The first-floor Arts Commission Gallery

The San Francisco War Memorial Veterans complex—a stunning example of the City Beautiful movement that includes the Veterans Building, the Opera House, and the Memorial Court—was built in 1932 to honor veterans of World War I. The Beaux-Arts Veterans Building, designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., and the Opera House jointly hosted the signing of the United Nations Treaty (1945) and that of the Peace Treaty with Japan (1951).


Mama mia! What a pizzeria!: It started as a bank nearly a century ago, now it’s a pizza parlor with plenty of pizzazz

Madison, Wis.

The 150-seat Lucille Pizzeria

Lucille is a pizzeria with all the toppings. The flatiron-shaped building, in the downtown Capitol Square section of Madison, Wis., first served as an early 20th-century bank. Two local restaurateurs, Patrick Sweeney and Joshua Berkson, teamed with investor Urban Land Interests to buy the 9,340-sf building—most recently used as the offices of a newspaper—and make it into an hip, environmentally sound pizza parlor.


The birthplace of General Motors

Flint, Mich.

When William Crapo “Billy” Durant and Josiah Dallas Dort leased a cotton mill in Flint, Mich., in 1886 for their new carriage-building business, no one could have predicted that, 22 years later, Durant would gain control of Buick Motor Company from its founder, David Dunbar Buick, and form General Motors Company. The old cotton mill, known as Durant-Dort Factory One, is regarded by historians as the place where GM was born.


Patient friendly: The University of Chicago Medicine Center for Care and Discovery adds 203 new beds

Chicago, Ill.

University of Chicago Medicine Center for Care and Discovery

Gilbane Building Company and Albert Kahn Associates completed the 204,000-sf buildout of two vacant floors at The University of Chicago Medicine Center for Care and Discovery, adding 203 new beds. Through the use of six-week, look-ahead planning, adherence to Lean construction principles, Gilbane’s own Quality in Construction program, and prefabrication (for headwalls, dialysis boxes, soffits, and ductwork and plumbing assemblies), the team was able to bring the job in two months ahead of schedule.




Bank statement: A project team saves a historic bank, yielding 100% leaseup for the developer

Birmingham, Ala.

The renovated entry with custom-made replica columns

Capstone Real Estate Investments bought the circa-1920s Birmingham branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and its 1950s-era annex in 2014. The property had been vacant for 14 years. Instead of tearing everything down and starting all over, Capstone and its design-build team, led by Hoar Construction and Williams Blackstock Architects, saved a piece of downtown Birmingham for future generations,
earning $7 million in tax credits along the way.


Higher education: The rebirth of a Washington, D.C., high school

Washington, D.C.

The Roosevelt Senior High School atrium

Built in 1932, the Collegiate Georgia–style Roosevelt High School campus in Washington’s Petworth neighborhood suffered from numerous shortsighted “improvements” made in 1977.


Broadway melody: Glass walls set just the right tone for a historic lobby in Lower Manhattan

New York, N.Y.

The public galleria at 195 Broadway connects Dey and Fulton Streets in Manhattan.

Ten years. That’s how long it took developer L&L Holding Company to get approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for its retail master plan of the lobby of the AT&T Headquarters Building.


Amazing grace: Renovation turns a church into elegant condos

Washington, D.C.

The 2,300-sf penthouse in The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary, a 30-unit condo conversion in Southeast Washington, D.C., may be a sign of things to come for some of the 850 or so places of worship in the Nation’s Capital that are closing their doors. Such was the case for the Way of the Cross church. When its congregation decided to relocate to the suburbs, The Rubin Group (in partnership with Regua) snapped up the 1898 Gothic Revival church and 1914 annex.


College credit: Historic rehab saves 50% on energy costs

Williamstown, Mass.

The Log, a historic deep-energy retrofit with a 15kW PV system

The Log at Williams College dates to the mid-1700s. In 1941, the structure was turned into an Alumni House; five years later, the Dodge Room was added. After a fire in 1951, another addition was built.


Honorable Mention


Rockefeller remake: Iconic New York tower is modernized for its next life

New York, N.Y.


Structural engineering innovations were at the heart of a repositioning of the landmark 75 Rockefeller Plaza, former home of the Standard Oil Company. The project involved revitalizing the building’s façade and base metalwork, enhancing its lobby and retail spaces, and overhauling its mechanical systems and infrastructure.


Gothic revival: The nation’s first residential college is meticulously restored

Berkeley, Calif.

It took 11 years and creative financing through a public-private partnership to resurrect UC Berkeley’s Bowles Hall, the nation’s first residential college. Built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Gothic-style building became too expensive to maintain and fell into disrepair over the years.


Rescue mission: Historic movie palace is now the centerpiece of Baltimore’s burgeoning arts hub

Baltimore, Md.

Situated at the heart of Baltimore’s budding Arts & Entertainment District, the 1915 Italian Renaissance–style Parkway Theatre for years was representative of the city’s economic and social troubles.


The Reconstruction Awards Jury 2017

The 2017 Reconstruction Awards jury convened in September at AIA Chicago’s headquarters to judge the 34th edition of the awards program.

(Pictured left ro right)

Jacob S. Goldberg: President, Goldberg General Contracting

Steve Martinez: Principal, Owner, PolyCon Corp.

Terry Fielden, LEED AP BD+C: Director of K-12 Education, International Contractors, Inc. (ICI)

Walker C. Johnson, FAIA: Principal, Johnson Lasky Kindelin Architects Honorary Jury Chair

Dan Ulbricht: Vice President, Skender Construction



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