2010 AIA Seattle Honor Award Predictions

We were recently asked if we were going to the AIA Seattle Honor Awards, and if we had any predictions on potential winners. Maybe it’s just us, but $25 seems a little absurd for an awards program given the present economy. If that $25 entry fee included delicious, local brew – it could be justified. This year’s jurors (Jim Jennings, Sheila O’Donnell and Gilles Saucier) are all architects we really admire, and if none of them bail out on the discussion like last year, almost make it worthwhile.

Additionally, we’re just not huge fans of award competitions. Yes, we will gladly spend hours working on expanding our minds and portfolio on architecture competitions,  but the time and money associated with award competitions just doesn’t pencil out for us. It would be an understatement to say we subscribe to Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, specifically regarding award competitions:

26. Don’t enter awards competitions.
Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

Maybe because it was so ingrained during school, but we tend to feel if your work deserves recognition, it will receive said recognition.

That being said, here is the shortlist.
Visionary: unbuilt projects
winner: T Bailey Offices, Olson Kundig Architects.
Utilizing windmill mast cylinders to fabricate a building, and then utilizing the geometries to passively cool the building. No brainer.

runner-up: X1 Wild Buffalo Passivhaus, Olson Kundig Architects
An ultra-low energy residence, designed to achieve passivhaus, that straddles northern prarie and forest. Of course we’re enthralled with this one.


Measurable: built projects
winner: the Kolstrand Building, Graham Baba Architects
This is the kind of reuse that just kills us. Kudos.

runner-up: Building 115, Graham Baba Architects
I was forced to watch this one go up on a daily basis. Needless to say, it’s a phenomenal infill project. Had the profilit corners been done correctly, it’d definitely be a winner.

economical: realized projects utilizing limited resources (presumably financial, not rare earth metals)
winner: wall + roof studio, Hutchison + Maul
The scale of this project, a writing and potting studio, is great. Economical, attractive and well thought out. Should be an easy choice for jurors.

runner-up: Magnuson Park Beach Shelter, Mike Eliason with Miller|Hayashi Architects
Yes, this one’s a shameless plug. However, small utilitarian public projects that don’t look like crap are a rarity (though we’ve definitely tried to spread the knowledge) – and this one plays off the former naval base and surrounding swords-to-plows artwork. And, in a way, this is also a ‘wall+roof studio’.

Tectonic: the tell-the-tale detail
winner: Art Stable Hinge, Olson Kundig Architects
Holy cow, now that is a door.

runner-up: Zipper Door, (unknown)
A little by default, we know there are more than 10 details that were worth submitting, and we question the usefulness of this. However, it looks fairly well- crafted and that’s what stood out the most.

The full submissions gallery can be seen on the AIA Seattle webpage. If you are looking to follow results from home while watching Monday Night Football, check out twitter: @AIASeattle, @Archibot, #AIAHA. We’ll follow up with winners.

AIASeattle has posted the winners…

Honor Award
Colman Triplex, Workshop AD

Merit Award
Bodega Residence, Cutler Anderson
Port Townsend Residence, BCJ
Seattle Childrens’s Bellevue Clinic, NBBJ
Suncrest Residence, Heliotrope

*Building 115/*Kolstrand Building, Graham Baba Architects
Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, Weinstein A+U

*Art Stable Hinge, Olson Kundig
Deployable Greenhouses, atelierjones
Steel Stair, deforest architects
*T Bailey Offices, Olson Kundig
UW West Campus Housing, Mahlum


2 responses to “2010 AIA Seattle Honor Award Predictions

  1. i’m with you on the awards comps. we don’t waste our time [and serious money] with them. why?

    so what did you think of the honor award? i, for one, was seriously disappointed. that’s the best we have to offer this year?

    • Ed,

      It is some serious money and time associated with them.
      Seattle architects dropped somewhere between $34,000 and $48,000 just in submitting these projects. Factor in the time, and that number doubles, if not greater. Throw in admission, and it’s probably another $15,000. Granted, it’s probably not cheap to bring in jury members from Europe, but this still seems like a waste to us, especially given the economy.

      The colman triplex is interesting, but yeah we were shocked it was the only honor award.

      There were a number of things this year that kind of bothered us about several of the projects.

      Most notably, the tectonic-winning stair that was just a little to similar to this seemingly effortless/weightless stunner by Kevin Low of small projects.