Are We In A Renaissance Of Great Public Architecture?

Chicago Riverwalk [Photo: Kate Joyce Studios/courtesy AIA]

Chicago Riverwalk [Photo: Kate Joyce Studios/courtesy AIA]

The annual AIA Honor Awards–the highest honor bestowed by the American Institute of Architects to a completed built project–serve as a sort of industry-wide pulse check, and a reflection of the values upheld by the professional organization. So what do this year’s winners say about architecture today? Officially announced this morning, the range of projects across the program’s three categories–architecture, interior architecture, and urban design–may signal a renaissance for great new public works. 

Chicago Riverwalk [Photo: Kate Joyce Studios/courtesy AIA]

Chicago Riverwalk [Photo: Kate Joyce Studios/courtesy AIA]

Selected from over 500 submissions by a jury of nine architects, the 16 honored projects include an array of the usual private residences, museums, and company offices. But we’re chuffed to see more than a handful of civic projects in the main architecture category alone, as well.

Designed by Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki, the new Chicago Riverwalk–a downtown pedestrian waterfront that has revitalized the neighborhood–is praised by the award jury as “a gift to the city” and an example of “design that touches everyone.”