Announcing the 2007 Charter Award Winners

20 professional and 5 academic projects transform and repair their built and natural environments

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The Congress for the New Urbanism announces the recipients of its 2007 Charter Awards, the annual prize honoring the best of the New Urbanism. The 20 winning professional submissions and 5 student/faculty submissions were chosen by a seven-member jury of distinguished urbanists last month.

In fulfilling and advancing the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism, the projects create a series of powerful transformations. Multiple awardees selected by this year’s seven-member jury help renew the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast, repair damage brought by previous generations of development or disinvestment, supply high-quality affordable housing, and reduce the environmental impact of growth and development. “These projects exhibit excellence and often a strong sense of purpose,” says jury chair Stefanos Polyzoides, a CNU co-founder and principal of Moule Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists in Pasadena, CA. “They make a difference in the world.”

Winning entries extend from Camden, NJ to Antigua, Guatemala, with the southern United States, east of the Mississippi River, making a particularly strong showing -- 14 awards all told. Regions with multiple winners are greater Washington D.C. (five), the San Francisco Bay Area (two) and Northwest Arkansas (two).

Although the jury found much laudable work, Polyzoides said a winning project didn’t have to be perfect if it had important lessons to teach. To maximize the educational value of the awards, Polyzoides will give a lecture as part of this year’s awards ceremony, which will be held on May 18, 2007 in conjunction with the fifteenth Congress for the New Urbanism in Philadelphia. The lecture will be recorded and shared on CNU.org. See images and descriptions of all awardees.

Groundbreaking work of many types abounds among the honorees, including several strong examples of Gulf-Coast recovery. They include:

• Two projects that advance the promise of modest, quickly built Katrina Cottages in hurricane-damaged cities and beyond – one an innovative prototype for carefully detailed manufactured cottages, the other a model “Cottage Square” in Ocean Springs, MS that shows how cottages can enhance compact, walkable neighborhoods.
• A pattern book showing the re-emerging housing industry in southern Louisiana how to honor traditions in building design and neighborhood form that are deeply ingrained in the Louisiana way of life but are in danger of being lost in the wake of 2005’s major hurricanes.
• A master plan for Long Beach, MS that responds nimbly to the community’s rebuilding needs – including new storm surge protections -- while reflecting an involved citizenry’s desire to maintain the city’s character and appeal.

Other awardees repair urban contexts, provide affordable housing, and promote sustainable growth and development – sometimes in one project. They include:

• A novel project in Crystal City (Arlington), VA that brings life to an arterial street – and new residents close to a Metro rail connection - by wrapping townhouses along the edge of a superblock interspersed with 1960s-era residential towers.
• A master plan to coordinate needed redevelopment of the waterfront of Camden, NJ, one of the United States' poorest cities, employing a detailed pattern book to rebuild Camden’s unique but severely eroded mixed-use character.
• Two projects that use new strategies to renew deteriorated public housing and damaged natural environments: one replaces low-density barracks public housing in Alexandria, VA with carefully interlocking mixed-income buildings that build density while providing public spaces and emulating nearby historic urban fabric; another transforms deteriorating Tacoma, WA public housing into a desirable mixed-income community that uses bioswales and other water features to slow runoff and remediate a polluted trout stream.
• A grouping of Habitat homes built at $55 per square foot in a contemporary version of Arkansas farmhouse vernacular and grouped in a low-impact development incorporating a public square and many smart infrastructure features.
• A former RV park in Napa Valley, CA transformed into a dense, diverse and environmentally sensitive settlement of vacation cottages, for-sale homes, retail stores and recreational resources.
• A comprehensive plan that makes walkable urban neighborhoods the preferred development pattern for Fayetteville, AR, now one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. thanks to headquarters activity of Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart and other major firms.

Jurors also recognized one of the first neighborhood-scale new urbanist developments, Harbor Town in Memphis, TN. After beginning construction more than a decade ago, it is now nearly fully built out and serves as a fine example of high-quality design meeting successful execution.

The full list of winning projects (with location and entering firm):

    REGION, METROPOLIS, CITY, TOWN SCALE:

Louisiana Speaks Pattern Book; Louisiana, USA
Urban Design Associates
City Plan 2025; Fayetteville, AR
Dover, Kohl & Partners
Long Beach Concept Plan; Long Beach, MS
Ayers. Saint, Gross Architects and Planners

    NEIGHBORHOOD, DISTRICT, CORRIDOR SCALE:

Salishan Neighborhood HOPE VI; Tacoma, WA
Torti Gallas and Partners
Harbor Town; Memphis, TN
Looney Ricks Kiss Architects
Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities; nationwide
Reconnecting America
Cooper’s Crossing; Camden, NJ
Torti Gallas and Partners (master plan) and Urban Design Associates (pattern book)
Carneros Inn; Napa, CA
William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.
Innovista Master Plan; Columbia, SC
Sasaki Associates, Inc.
La Candelaria; Antigua, Guatemala
Castillo Arquitectos and Dover, Kohl & Partners

    BLOCK, STREET, BUILDING SCALE:

Takoma Walk; Takoma Park, MD.
Cunningham Quill Architects, PLLC
Kedzie & Rockwell Brown Line Stations; Chicago, IL
Muller & Muller, Ltd.
The Ellington; Washington, DC
Torti Gallas & Partners
Oak Plaza; Miami, FL
Cure & Penabad Studio and Khoury & Vogt Architects
Katrina Cottage VIII; Silver Spring, MD
Stephen A. Mouzon, Architect, PA
Courthouse Square; Redwood City, CA.
Freedman Tung & Bottomley
Lofts 590; Arlington, VA
SK&I Architectural Design Group, LLC
Habitat Trails; Rogers, AR
Univ. of Arkansas Community Design Center
Chatham Square; Alexandria, VA
Lessard Group, Inc.
Cottage Square, Ocean Springs, MS
Tolar LeBartard Denmark Architects PLLC

    ACADEMIC

Toward an Urban & Sustainable Puerto Nuevo; San Juan, Puerto Rico
University of Puerto Rico
Company Towns Revisited, Petit Paradis, Haiti
Notre Dame University
Connecting the City of Water to Its History, Castellamare di Stabia, Italy
University of Maryland
Saucier Town Plan, Saucier, MS
Andrews Univ.
A Response to the Current Development of Valparaiso’s Waterfront, Valparaiso, Chile
University of Maryland

CNU congratulates all 2007 Charter Award winners and thanks this year’s awards jury for its generous contributions of time and talent. Jury members are:

Stefanos Polyzoides, Architect and Urbanist, Jury Chair
Principal, Moule & Polyzoides, Pasadena, California
Hillary Brown, AIA, Architect
Principal, New Civic Works, New York, New York
Rick Cole, City Manager
City of Ventura, California
Andrés Duany, Architect and Urbanist
Principal, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Miami, Florida
Kjell Forshed, Architect and Urbanist
Principal, Brunnberg & Forshed, Stockholm, Sweden
Vince Graham, Developer,
President, I’ON Group, LLC, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Susan Van Atta, Landscape Architect,
Principal, Van Atta Associates, Santa Barbara, California

Read more about all of 2007's Charter Awards winners.