Currently Reading

Bruner Foundation announces 2017 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence gold and silver medalists

Building Team

Bruner Foundation announces 2017 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence gold and silver medalists

The SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem, Pa., receives the gold medal and $50,000.

By Bruner Foundation | June 27, 2017

Photo courtesy of Halkin Mason Photography.

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), recently announced its 2017 gold and silver medalists. The biennial award celebrates transformative places distinguished by physical design and contributions to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of America’s cities. A nationwide committee of urban experts determined the winners from among five finalists, naming SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem, Pa., the gold medalist and recipient of $50,000 to enhance the project.

Completed in 2016, SteelStacks is the $93.5 million transformation of an abandoned steel mill into a mixed-use cultural and entertainment district. The iconic blast furnaces of the former Bethlehem Steel mill—which employed 31,000 people at its height and supplied steel for the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, and World War II battleships—now anchor a new civic commons that honors the city’s steelmaking legacy and symbolizes the rebirth of a region economically devastated by its closure in 1995.

The 9.5-acre SteelStacks campus was designed by WRT of Philadelphia and developed by a consortium led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. Envisioned as a “21st century town square,” it includes a public plaza anchored by the blast furnaces as well as the Levitt Pavilion outdoor amphitheater, Bethlehem Visitor Center, ArtsQuest Center,PBS39 public broadcasting center, and Hoover-Mason Trestle Park. The project is a significant source of community pride as well as a local and regional destination, hosting 1.5 million visitors annually for events including free outdoor concerts.


Four other finalists received Silver Medals and $10,000 each to enhance their projects:


A community-oriented mixed-use development integrating public school headquarters, public meeting space, retail, and transit. (Submitted by City of Boston)


Reclaimed waterfront that transforms the river into Chicago’s next great civic park.

(Submitted by Sasaki)


A cleantech incubator, education center, and neighborhood park developed by the local public utility. (Submitted by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects)


The rehabilitation of 26 scattered-site historic houses into 46 homes for low-income families. (Submitted by Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners)


RBA entries are completed projects across the contiguous United States. Finalists and medalists are determined through an in-depth evaluation process by the selection committee involving input from the award application, site visits, interviews with project participants and community members, and committee discussions.


The 2017 selection committee:

 Knox White - Mayor, Greenville, SC

 Kimberly Driggins - Director of Strategic Planning, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, Detroit, MI

 David Lee, FAIA - President, Stull and Lee Incorporated, Architects, Boston, MA

 Willett Moss - Principal, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA

 Deidre Schmidt - President & CEO, CommonBond Communities, Minneapolis, MN

 Scot Spencer - Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD

Related Stories

Building Team | Sep 6, 2021

A biopharma fitout in Colorado showcases one AEC firm’s Integrated Project Delivery approach

CRB Group supplements its own services with as-needed outside expertise.

| Jul 13, 2021

Don't sell services when clients want outcomes: Evaluating + investing resources to navigate past the COVID-19 pandemic

As AEC firm leaders consider worst-case scenarios and explore possible solutions to surmount them, they learn to become nimble, quick, and ready to pivot as circumstances demand.

Building Team | Jun 29, 2021

AGC and Autodesk launch media library to boost representation of diversity in construction

Images readily available for editorial use showcase women and people of color in construction to increase visibility in industry media coverage.

Building Team | Jun 4, 2021

Call for Speakers: BD+C’s 2021 Women in Design+Construction Conference

The 2021 Women in Design+Construction event will take place December 1-3, 2021. This is an online live event. 

Multifamily Housing | Jun 3, 2021

Student Housing Trends 2021-2022

In this exclusive video interview for HorizonTV, Fred Pierce, CEO of Pierce Education Properties, developer and manager of off-campus student residences, chats with Rob Cassidy, Editor, MULTIFAMILY Design + Construction about student housing during the pandemic and what to expect for on-campus and off-campus housing in Fall 2021 and into 2022.

Building Team | Apr 15, 2021

Owners, AEC firms primed for real collaboration

Survey findings point to a growing demand for collaboration and partnership during these chaotic times.

Building Team | Mar 3, 2021

To pivot or not to pivot: Resourceful solutions in a time of challenge

Like swerving to avoid oncoming traffic, over the last year, AEC companies have navigated the unexpected roadblocks presented by a challenging economy.

Building Team | Aug 21, 2020

A healthcare project in Wisconsin benefits from including MEP subs in early design discussions

Prefabrication played a major role in quickening construction.

Building Team | Dec 9, 2019

The right funding mechanism can help move your project forward

The following case studies illustrate some of the ways we’ve helped our clients navigate different tax credits.

More In Category

Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: