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AIA Pittsburgh announces 2013 Design Awards; PTC members among companies honored

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Council members WTW Architects and The Design Alliance Architects honored in 2013

AIA Pittsburgh recently announced award winners in its 14th annual design awards competition, a part of Design Pittsburgh 2013.  Design Pittsburgh is AIA Pittsburgh’s signature program, which supports its mission to recognize and promote excellence in architecture and design as created by members of The American Institute of Architects. The Gateway Engineers, Inc. was this year’s official program sponsor.  Awardees were announced at the Design Pittsburgh 2013 Awards Ceremony and Gala October 24 at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education Center, downtown. Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto presented the awards.

AIA members and firms whose principals are members of AIA Pittsburgh, or any member of any AIA chapter across the country who has a project in the 11-county Southwestern Pennsylvania area represented by AIA Pittsburgh, were eligible to enter the design competition.  The entries were judged by a panel of out-of-state architects measuring the architect’s performance against each project’s potential, not in competition with one another.  In this way, projects of ordinary program or modest budget can merit an award based on the architect’s skill in optimizing the design opportunity.

This year’s jury was from New Orleans and included lead juror Steve Dumez, FAIA, Partner and Director of design at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple; Anne Marie Decker, AIA, principal at Duvall Decker Architects P.A., Jackson, Mississippi; and Maurice Cox, Assoc. AIA, Associate Dean for Community Engagement at Tulane University.  Anne Marie Decker was in Pittsburgh to participate in the awards ceremony.

Award categories, awardees and jury comments about the selections follow:

People’s Choice Award: Sponsored by Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.

The community voted for this award online and at October Design Pittsburgh events.

Project: St. Clair Outpatient Center

Architecture Firm: IKM Incorporated

Design Team: John C. Schrott, AIA; Matt Hansen, AIA; Emilie Criner; Max Waldron; Erica Drogan

Client: St. Clair Hospital

Contractor: Volpatt Construction

Engineers: PVE Sheffler; Taylor Structural Engineers, Inc.; Lovorn Engineering

Photographer: Massery Photography, Inc.

Historic Preservation Category: Two Awards of Excellence

Project: 21c Museum Hotel

Architecture Firm: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, with Deborah Berke Partners

Design Team: Alan Weiskopf, AIA; Lisa Carver, AIA, LEED AP; Anthony Pitassi, AIA, LEED AP; Brent Houck, AIA, LEED AP; Deborah Berke, FAIA; Stephen Brockman, LEED AP; Terence Schroeder, LEED AP

Client: 21c Museum Hotels

Contractor: Messer Construction

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Kohrs Lonnemann Heil Engineers, PSC

Photographer: Tony Soluri Photography; Immortal Images Architectural Photography; GLINT Studios

Jury’s comments: This is a careful and exacting restoration, and a skillful resolution of the diverse conditions of the existing building.  The lighting design is complimentary, creative and at times almost figural.

Project: Fourth Avenue Dollar Bank Renovation

Architecture Firm: Strada Architecture 

Design Team: John Martine, AIA; Sean Beasley, AIA; Dina Snider, AIA; Dawn Peterson, NCIDQ; Amanda Miller; Joe Hudec

Client: Dollar Bank

Contractor: MBM Contracting

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Karpinski Engineering

Jury’s comments: The juxtaposition of the lions as a new interior feature and a solution to a technical preservation issue was well played and created a new dynamic within the historic context.  The choices about replacement and restoration were expertly made and executed.

Design & Innovation Category: Award of Excellence


Architecture Firm: Urban Design Build Studio

Design Team: John Folan, AIA; Timothy Hild; Hubert Li; Jason Gates; Christopher King Lee; Grace Ding; Angela Gonzalez; Sara Gotschewski; Ink Young Kim; Michelle Spitzer; Ming Ming Lin; Alex Greenhut

Client: Allegheny County; City of Pittsburgh

Contractor: Urban Design Build Studio

Engineer: Baker Engineering

Photographer: Urban Design Build Studio

Jury’s comments: Kids would have an absolute ball with this.  The jury appreciated the manner in which the project performs double duty as both playground and educational facility.  The project construction, while quite exuberant, is both elegant and didactic. The project reminded the jury of an elaborate “bookmobile” or ice cream truck, although rather than using music to draw the kids in, the vehicle itself and the waterworks contained within act as a visual beacon.  One juror remarked, “I want some of the drugs that they’re taking.”

Architectural Detail & Craftsmanship Category — Two Awards of Excellence

Project: St. Thomas A’Becket Church – East Wall

Architecture Firm: Astorino

Design Team: Louis D. Astorino, FAIA; John D. Francona; Darren M. Lloyd; J. Frank Dawson, ASLA; Mark D’Amico, ASLA; Robert J. Ward, PE; Michael G. Brennan, PE; Arthur A. Bell, Jr., PE; Donald L. Jakiel, PE; Dennis Scarfo; Ronald E. Mann, CDD; Michael G. Reft; John Leonard

Client: Diocese of Pittsburgh

Contractor: A. Martini & Co.

Engineers: Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.; Astorino

Photographer: Denmarsh Photography, Inc.

Jury’s comments: The drape of the vestments is translated successfully into this grand feature of the space.  It is a strong contrast to the space and a powerful east wall invention.  The jury appreciated the combination of digital tools with artisanal execution.  One juror noted “Bernini would be very happy.”

Project: Campus for a Global Entertainment Company – Glass Wall.

Architecture Firm: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Design Team: Michael D. Maiese, AIA; Jon C. Jackson, FAIA; Frank Grauman, FAIA; Karl Backus, AIA; Robert Aumer, AIA; Douglas Speckhard, AIA; Kate Sutton; Matthew Huber; Mark Hensler; Gavin Ross; Shawn Wood; Helene Gregoire; Chris Sutterer; Chas Cwenar, AIA; Jason Brody, AIA; Liza Cruze; Amy Cha; Dave Bostak, AIA; T. Jay Beatty; Lou Markovic; Amanda Li; Karen Zellner
Contractor: Hathaway Dinwiddie
Engineer: ARUP
Photographers: Tim Griffith Photographer; Lawrence Anderson Photography, Inc.; Nic Lehoux; Paul Lee Photography

Jury’s comments: This element animates and brings to life a parking garage — successfully balancing simple detail with complex color variation.  The jury imagined the light play created from the glass detail wallpapering the interior of the garage.

Young Architects Studio Competition (YASC) Award: Now in its fourth year, this category encourages young professionals to showcase their talent, challenging them to find innovative ways to approach a regional design problem or a challenge to create a new experience.

This year’s competition titled “The Great Allegheny Passage” was inspired by the GAP – a 150-mile, multi-use trail connecting Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. through the Appalachian Mountains, utilizing easements of abandoned railroad tracks that ultimately create a non-motorized network 334.5-miles in length. With this reclamation and renewal of land, which once housed the corridors of our industrial past, unique urban and architectural opportunities exist for Pittsburgh in the 21st century. The challenge for this competition was to devise a creative program for the establishment of a “place” or “places” along the GAP trail within the City of Pittsburgh geographic limits —  trailheads, overlooks, rest stops, or other conceptual ideas proposed by the designer.

YASC Honor Award: Drew Weinheimer for Light Trail

Jury comments: Innovative use of current day scientific experimentation to solve a place making challenge.  Incredibly creative way to use nature to have it interact with us and effect the way we understand our interactions with it and with each other.  Simple compelling visualization and use of diagrams. Humble and effective proposition.

Interior Architecture Category: Three awards

Certificates of Merit

Project: MAYA Design

Architecture Firm: EDGE Studio/GBBN Architects

Design Team: Anne Chen, AIA, LEED AP; Gary Carlough, AIA; Matthew Manzo; Amanda Markovic

Client: Maya Design

Contractor: F.J. Busse Company

Engineers: Cintar Engineering and Consulting; Precision Electrical Contractors, Inc.

Photographer: Massery Photography, Inc.

Jury’s comments: The jurors appreciated that the design stayed true to the diagram which illustrated a clever approach to space planning, an invention to respond to a unique company culture in a standard office building.  The family of “kivas” was carried out with no apparent compromise in function, material or detailing.

Project: Reed Smith LLP Office Interiors

Architecture Firm:  WTW Architects and Gensler

Design Team: Steven J. Martin, AIA, LEED AP; Richard DeYoung, FAIA

Client: Reed Smith LLP

Contractor: Rycon Construction, Inc.

Engineers: Thornton Tomasetti, Inc.; CJL Engineering

Photographer: Michael Moran Studio

Jury’s comments: The jury appreciated the simple and elegant detailing and the relationship of the interior to exterior spaces.  The compositions of brown and red, a tough combination, is very successful, almost surprising.  The refined figure of the wood wall in the two-story space is restrained but affective.

Honor Award

Project: 21c Museum Hotel

Architecture Firm: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, with Deborah Berke Partners

Design Team: Alan Weiskopf, AIA; Lisa Carver, AIA, LEED AP; Anthony Pitassi, AIA, LEED AP; Brent Houck, AIA, LEED AP; Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP; Stephen Brockman, LEED AP; Terence Schroeder, LEED AP

Client: 21cMusem Hotels

Contractor: Messer Construction

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Kohrs Lonnemann Heil Engineers, PSC

Photographers: Tony Soluri Photography; Immortal Images Architectural Photography; CLINT Studios

Jury comments: The restrained use of color and the use of white as a unifying feature allows the space to act as a gallery for the artwork and the inhabitants.  The features of the existing building are both highlighted and integrated into rich, modern spaces.  Artworks are playfully and respectfully integrated as design elements.  And, “Who doesn’t love a penguin?”

Architecture Category — Five awards

Green Design Citations: The Green Design Citation recognizes projects that have distinguished themselves by going beyond a green checklist, embracing the spirit of sustainability. This award also recognizes the impact that buildings have on human health, worker productivity, and the natural environmental and regional prosperity.

Project: SOTA Construction Services, Inc. Office Building

Architecture Firm: studio d’ARC Architects

Design Team: Gerard Daminani, AIA; Debbie Battistone

Client: SOTA Construction Services, Inc.

Contractor: SOTA Construction Services, Inc.

Engineers: Lamm Engineering; A|E Works; Keystone Structural Solutions; Iams Consulting, LLC; ARUP International

Photographer: Massery Photography, Inc.

Jury comments: This project exhibits a comprehensive approach to sustainability with an experimental attitude.

Project: Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Architecture Firm: The Design Alliance Architects
Design Team: L. Christian Minnerly, AIA, LEED AP; John Palmer; Shannon Beisel, NCIDQ, LEED AP; Paul Kane; Dave Parker, AIA, LEED AP; Brandon Dorsey; Ryan Cole

Client: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Contractor: Turner Construction

Engineers: Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.; Atlantic Engineering Services; CJL Engineering

Photographer: The Design Alliance Architects

Jury comments: The design met aggressive sustainability goals with solutions that are skillful and on display for instruction.

Certificate of Merit  

Project: Café at the Point

Architecture Firm: Pfaffmann + Associates

Design Team: Rob Pfaffmann, AIA, AICP; Gregory A. George, Assoc. AIA; Whit Rogers

Client: Riverlife

Contractor: DiMarco Construction

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Iams Consulting, LLC

Photographer: Pfaffmann + Associates

Jury comments: This project is an understated and well-considered design that is a careful response to the larger site.  It integrates the café into the park with the durability and intentionality of infrastructure instead of impermanence.  The result is a more civic figure and space in which one can engage in the experience of the park.

Honor Awards  

Project: Robert M. Smith Student Center.

Architecture Firm: DRS Architects, with Sasaki Associates
Design Team: S. Philip Hundley, AIA; Jim Platt; Ronald D. Grimm; Jack Jasneski; Thomas O. Gray, AIA; Tobie L. Nepo, ASID; William Michael, ASID; Jason Woynar, NCIDQ; Michael O’Toole; Pablo Savid-Buteler; Steve Lacker, AIA; Gerry Gutierrez, AIA; Chris Coscia; Ivelisse Otero; Tracy Dupont, IIDA; Nancy Harrod
Client: Slippery Rock University
Contractor: Mascaro Construction Company
Engineers: Sasaki Associates; The Gateway Engineers, Inc.; Atlantic Engineering Services; CJL Engineering
Photographers: Engelbrecht Photography; Chuck Choi Architectural Photography

Jury comments: The jurors appreciated the elegant façades, which were skillfully composed from large scale, program elements down to subtle patterning of the surfaces.  The exterior of the building functions as an invitation to the spaces and activities inside.  Interior spaces are flexible and adjust to a variety of uses.  These spaces transform, but remain grounded and characterized by their materials, proportions and relationships to the site.  The total project has a character that is more than the sum of its parts.

Project: Saint Lespwa Center Of Hope

Architecture Firm: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

Design Team: Michael Gwin, AIA; Daniel Rothschild, AIA; Justin Losego, Assoc. AIA; Josh Abbey; Drew Mosher, Assoc. AIA; Renee Miller; Jody Ann James; Nick Rebeck, Assoc. AIA

Client: World Vision International

Contractor: Ceres Environmental Services

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Iams Consulting, LLC

Photographer: Sarah Spanagel

Jury comments: The jury was impressed with the degree of design quality that the architects achieved while involving members of the community in the design and construction process.  The project clearly acknowledges the vernacular architecture of the area while elevating the aspirations of the community. It was clear to the jury that the architects achieved a high level of design considering the context in which it was built.

The competition winners as well as all other submissions are posted online at or contact Rachael Kelley at 412-471-9548, for more information.

About AIA Pittsburgh

AIA Pittsburgh is a chapter of The American Institute of Architects.  The professional association’s mission is to improve, for society, the quality of the built environment by further raising the standards of architectural education, training, and practice; fostering design excellence; and promoting the value of architectural services to the public.  AIA Pittsburgh has 532 members and 65 Industry Partners and represents architects in 11 counties.


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