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On Thursday, the New Urban Guild presented the fifth annual Barranco Award to Ocean Springs, MS architect Bruce Tolar at the 23rd annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Dallas, TX.
Named in honor of the Mississippi native architect Michael Barranco, who was killed in a car accident in 2011, the award honors individuals who demonstrate oustanding commitment to "building enduring relationships beyond architecture, inspiring passionate coalitions for transformative change in the in the live of families and communities". 2014 Barranco Award winner R. John Anderson presented the award to Tolar.
Like Barranco, who rallied the New Urbanist community into action in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast, Tolar's career has been marked by his dedication to rebuilding and strengthening his native region. Working in historic downtown Ocean Springs, Tolar designs 'Katrina Cottage' infill projects that reflect local architecture and offer a walkable and bike-friendly lifestyle to residents—many of whom were displaced by the storm.
"The thing about Bruce that reminds me so much of Michael is his selflessness," designer/planner Mike Thompson, a close friend and professional colleague of the late Michael Barranco, told the Mississippi Sun-Herald. "He's always encouraging others in their work, when all along he's doing great work himself. He's got a great understanding of architecture and urbanism, and it's reflected in his work.
"The work he's done in Mississippi, as well as nationwide, has helped people regain their lives and quality of life."