Jarle Rosseland
Sunday, May 1, 2005

2005 Award Introduction

2005 Award Introduction


The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design has organized the eighth annual "American Architecture Awards ®” as a way in which to honor new architecture designed in the United States. The program has quickly become the nation's most prestigious awards for new commercial, institutional, and residential design showcasing the most important architecture firms in America and highlighting and the rich diversity of American Design today.

Each year since 1997, The Chicago Athenaeum has celebrated new and outstanding American Architecture through the Museum’s Honor Awards program.

Hundreds of submissions for this Awards Program were received from architecture firms across the United States. Thirty-three projects have been selected and are honored with the 2005 " American Architecture Award.”

The program is organized and curated by Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine, architect, journalist, and critic, and President/Director of The Chicago Athenaeum.

Winning projects in 2005 represent the best new contemporary architecture being built from coast to coast including projects designed by American architects in Great Britain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Denmark, China, and Spain.

A future exhibition slated to open at The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design in 2005-2006 will give the public an opportunity to discover and appreciate the best new American Architecture of our time.


In June, 2005, a jury of distinguished Norwegian architects selected 33 corporate headquarters, skyscrapers, institutions, interiors, urban planning projects, and residences for their design excellence. Sixteen projects were awarded for new institutional, religious, and educational facilities and six for state-of-the-art single and multi-family residences. Four skyscrapers all located outside the United States were judged and selected for their design innovation and unique design in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Great Britain, and China signaling that the most important ideas in skyscraper design today is occurring outside American cities. Three retail interiors were selected on the basis of their outstanding, cutting-edge design. One project was also selected by the jury for bold new ideas in public housing and urban planning.

Three foreign architectural firms, eligible to participate by either building in the United States or having abranch office in the U.S., were honored including: COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.

The jury for the American Architecture Awards was held at the headquarters of the Norske Arkitekters Landsforbund (The National Association of Norwegian Architects) in Oslo. The jury were prominent members of Norway's architecture and design community building new and significant institutional and commercial projects throughout Scandinavia and around the world:

• Ms. Tine Hegli, Architect MNAL, SNØHETTA AS, Oslo
• Mr. Jan Støring, Principal, DARK Arkitekter AS, Oslo
• Ms. Catherine Tambakis, Architect, Oslo
• Mr. Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Principal, SNØHETTA AS, Oslo

The Museum also thanks Norwegian artist Jarle Rosseland and Signe Rosseland for assisting in the organization of the jury in Norway.

This year’s awards program honors new (2003-2005) corporate, institutional, commercial, and residential architecture, built in the U.S. or abroad by a U.S. architectural firm, both built and unbuilt projects alike. International firms headquartered outside the United States were eligible to submit projects built only in the United States.

The awards program is intended to draw attention to the broad diversity of architecture, architecture interiors, and urban planning. Winning projects are large or small in scope and involve new construction, renovation, or preservation/restoration.

"The Chicago Athenaeum believes that 'The American Architecture Awards' serves the direct and distinct purpose of promoting Good Design and as a vehicle to further enlighten the general public's understanding and knowledge about architecture and the design arts," states Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine.

"By focusing attention on the broad range of exemplary projects in this competition—from the single family home and public housing to the corporate office tower and other skyscrapers—we believe that the practice of architecture is further elevated and a standard of design excellence is promoted in our public environments and our public communities," Mr. Narkiewicz-Laine continues.

"And this year's results were extremely provocative and poetic," he adds, "from the constructivist Danish Jewish Museum by Studio Daniel Libeskind and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art by Zaha Hadid Architects to a modernist icon designed for the Dubai Sun Tower in the United Arab Emirates by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP."

While winning projects continue new trends in cutting-edge design in the United States, the emphasis on buildings and urban projects selected by the Norwegian architects centered on the sense of new materials and the protection of the environment, as well as the rights of community in the urban and rural landscape and modern lifestyle enhancement.

According to Ioannis Karalias, Museum Vice President, The Chicago Athenaeum, "each winning project—from the individual romantic house in the landscape to a towering skyscraper by SOM or the state-of-the-art corporate office environment for Caltrans District 7 Headquarters Building in Los Angeles by Morphosis—demonstrates how design is performed by the best American architects with skill and sensitivity in resolution to formal, functional, and technical requirements."

"The awarded buildings and urban planning projects demonstrate an ongoing commitment to social progress, technical advancement, environmental concerns, and a sensitivity and the thoughtfulness of our current human civilization," Mr. Narkiewicz-Laine adds.

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design founded "The American Architecture Awards” in 1997 as a way in which to draw significant international attention to new buildings and planning projects being built and designed in the United States by the best of America’s architecture offices and firms. The program has a unique educational mission and public profile with the intent of promoting and celebrating American design and American architecture to a national and international audience.


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