Editors note: Next American City will feature interviews with the 2011 Rudy Bruner Award winners throughout the month of July. For more information on the award visit: http://www.brunerfoundation.org/rba
Established in 1986 and now in its 13th award cycle, the Rudy Bruner Award has recognized more than 65 projects that demonstrate excellence in urban placemaking. Unique for its focus on the interplay of process, place and values in creating enriching urban environments, and its extensive, on-site evaluation process, the award honors projects that, through innovative collaborations, establish new approaches for transforming urban challenges into community opportunities.
The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence has named The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center of Dallas, Texas as its 2011 Gold Medal recipient. The prestigious biennial award honors urban places that, through their design and development, have lasting transformative impacts on their urban neighborhoods and communities. The Bridge will receive a $50,000 prize, and four Silver Medal recipients will receive $10,000 each. The 2011 Silver Medal recipients include Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, New York; Civic Space Park in Phoenix, Arizona; Gary Comer Youth Center and Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago, Illinois; and the Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“This year’s winners reflect two important themes: The desire for communities to shape the future of their important public spaces and the need for local governments, institutions and citizens to join together to take on the pressing social issues confronting our collective future,” said architect Simeon Bruner, the award’s founder. “In honoring these accomplishments, we hope the Rudy Bruner Award will inspire other communities to take action.”
About the winners:
Gold Medal: The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center | Dallas, Texas
The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center harnesses architecture to express an innovative and comprehensive approach to homelessness in Dallas, Texas. Located on the edge of the city’s central business district, the 75,000-square-foot facility supports more than 1,000 homeless guests daily, 24 hours a day, in their quest to achieve self-sufficiency in permanent housing. Through partnerships between a variety of service providers, The Bridge delivers a comprehensive continuum of care that ranges from emergency shelter, meals, medical care and counseling, to employment assistance, training, on-site transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing placement.
Silver Medal: Brooklyn Bridge Park | Brooklyn, New York
Occupying a 1.3-mile stretch of riverfront, the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park is the largest adaptive reuse project in New York’s history. When cargo operations ceased in 1984, the area quickly fell into disuse. However, the site’s dramatic views and proximity to existing neighborhoods and transit made it a prime candidate for future redevelopment. Nearly two decades later, when the Port Authority announced plans to sell the piers for commercial use, the community responded by creating a local development corporation to lead a public planning process for a new waterfront park. The resulting park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, beautifully enacts a series of sustainable design priorities, transforming this post-industrial waterfront area into a citywide asset offering a range of free public activities including aquatic recreation, habitat restoration, community events, and environmental education.
Silver Medal: Civic Space Park | Phoenix, Arizona
Building upon the success of ASU’s downtown campus as a revitalizing force, the City of Phoenix and Arizona State University undertook the joint creation of this new 2.8-acre public park, transforming a blighted area into a sustainable, mixed-use amenity that serves diverse community needs. Located at the crossroads between four distinct institutions—Arizona State University, the YMCA, a low-income senior housing development, and the Central Transit Station—the park welcomes students, seniors, employees, commuters and visitors alike. The historic AE England Building, renovated as a multi-use hall and café, anchors the park, while Janet Echelman’s luminescent sculpture establishes a distinct civic identity. Civic Space Park was designed by AECOM and developed through the unprecedented town-and- gown partnership between the city and ASU, with substantial input from voters, businesses, and civic groups.
Silver Medal: Gary Comer Youth Center and Gary Comer College Prep | Chicago, Illinois
Standing as a bold landmark in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, the 80,000- square-foot youth center and the adjacent 45,000-square-foot college preparatory high school create a safe and stimulating learning environment for local youth and their extended community.
In a unique symbiosis, the multi-functioning youth center accommodates activities for the high school’s 600 students during the day, while during evenings, weekends, and summers it sponsors education and fitness programs for the community. This integration of school and community activates a full-time educational environment, and allows the high school building to be 50% smaller than average. Funded by the Comer Science and Education Foundation and designed by John Ronan Architects, both the youth center and school are part of Chicago’s Planned Development process and involved substantial input from city agencies and the local community.
Silver Medal: Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment | Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment is a testament to the power of community involvement in the realization of great civic spaces. When the 40-acre rail yard was threatened by private development in the early 1990s, the city mobilized to purchase and protect the historic site for a local vision. With involvement from over 6,000 community members, a master plan was developed and implemented over the next decade through a unique partnership between a non-profit community corporation and the Trust for Public Land. Today, Santa Fe enjoys a vibrant, multi-use civic space that preserves the industrial heritage of the rail line while strengthening the city’s future. The historic rail depot now serves as the northern terminus of New Mexico’s commuter rail, and the Railyard’s cultural and commercial amenities draw new visitors every year. The project team included Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Frederic Schwartz Architects, Surroundings Studio LLC, and public art consultant Mary Miss.