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On May 5, The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) announced the winners of its annual Charter Awards, given for excellence in architectural, landscape, urban, and regional design that helps build more equitable, sustainable, connected, healthy, and prosperous communities.
CNU recognized sixteen professional and student design projects across the United States and in Mexico, Spain, and South Africa. The awards were announced at a ceremony culminating CNU’s annual Congress, a 4-day event that brings together as many as 2,000 people to discuss, debate, engage, and advance the principals of New Urbanism.
Regarded as the preeminent award for excellence in urban design, the CNU Charter Awards have honored a select number of winners and honorable mentions since 2002.
This year, the professional grand prize went to William Rawn Associates’ transformation of the inward-facing Boston Public Library into an open, inviting community resource. The student grand prize was awarded to the Ubuntu in Umbumbulu village planning project in eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; a student architecture project from the Urban Design Studio of Andrews University, initiated by Wandile Mthiyane and prepared by him and his eleven international classmates, under the supervision of Professors Andrew von Maur and Troy Homenchuk.
Fourteen other projects were also recognized for addressing challenges such as affordable housing, rising sea levels, community disruption by major highways, and small-scale interventions to quickly make major roads more walkable.
“These are designs that have a very real impact on people’s lives,” said Lynn Richards, President and CEO of CNU. “They demonstrate the value and flexibility of New Urbanist principles to combating important challenges, from climate change to the fragmentation of communities.”
CNU convenes a Charter Awards jury of distinguished designers, architects, planners and scholars who review entries and select winners. Applicants are judged on the extent to which they fulfill and advance the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism, which defines the essential qualities of outstanding buildings and urban places.
“The ideals of the Charter could be found at all scales [of the submissions],” said Stephanie Bothwell, chair of the Charter Awards Committee. “These ideals were not so much expressed in grand gestures but more in the designers’ efforts to be gracious neighbors, responsible caretakers, prudent resource managers, and careful observers. They had tried to allow the ordinary to become extraordinary.”
Read more at Public Square and see the complete list of awards below.
(Photo: The newly transformed Boston Public Library invites in light where it once turned its back on the street. William Rawn Associates.)
Grand Prize: Free to all | Boston Central Library Transformation
Boston, Massachusetts, William Rawn Associates
Student Grand Prize: Ubuntu in Umbumbulu
eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Andrews University, School of Architecture & Interior Design, (Student Project)
Blue Water Workforce & Affordable Housing
Tavernier Key, Florida, DPZ Partners
Guide to Placemaking for Mobility
Boston, Massachusetts, Stantec
Atlanta, Georgia, Thadani Architects + Urbanists
Building Durable Wealth
Providence, Rhode Island, The University of Notre Dame Graduate Urban Design Studio (Student Project)
Guadalupe Hirian: A New Town for Hondarribia
New town of timeless urbanism
Hondarribia, Spain, University of Miami (Student Project)
Envision Broadway Demonstration Project
Nashville, Tennessee, Metro Nashville Planning Department
Keeping History Above Water
Newport, Rhode Island, Union Studio Architecture & Community Design
Miami Beach, Florida, Dover, Kohl & Partners
Park Van Ness
Washington, DC, Torti Gallas + Partners
Duluth, Georgia, Kronberg Wall Architects
Plaza La Reina
Los Angeles, California, Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists
San Cristobal City Hall Renovation
Grand new plaza highlights history
San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico, C Cubica Arquitectos
Small Town Tactics
Test-driving a road diet
Avon, CO, Design Workshop
St. Joseph’s Redevelopment
Oakland, California, Van Meter Williams Pollack, LLP
The Storefront Theater
Lyons, Nebraska, Matthew Mazzotta