2014 Conference- ‘Old Design + New Forms’ Presentations

Design Awards-logo-web

The three Winners were unanimous selections of the jury. Each jury member gave these three their highest ranking.

Each represents what the jury believes the Historic Districts Council Design Awards was created to showcase, projects which improve historic buildings or communities without being imitative.

Although we often speak of new buildings “respecting” the old, respect implies a level of subservience. These winners are not subservient.

Each is a strong beautiful design that enhances the existing building(s), and the neighborhood.

They are elegant in proportion, texture and detail. The grace of the design and materials in each case is a delight.


Weeksville Heritage Center- Caples Jefferson Architects

Jury really loved this project, which provides a sheltering context to the fragment of this settlement of freed slaves which remains. The dramatic horizontal stretch of the building gives a much needed edge to the open property, and both exterior and exterior spaces are sensitively formed. The range of materials and beautifully crafted details, suggestive of African patterns, seem to reach out to visitors, making a subtle transition from street to park.

An elegant structure that powerfully but sensitively engages both the diverse building scales and the adjacent landscape in the surrounding neighborhood.

An elegant new building that is in scale with its vernacular neighbors at Weeksville, but makes a Modern statement that is a beacon in its neighborhood.



Historic Front Street at the South Street Seaport- COOKFOX

Infilling a number of empty sites in a historic mostly 18thc neighborhood is not easy, but done flawlessly here at Seaport. Architect was respectful of scale, street-wall and history, yet inventive in the assemblage and details. Brought residential life to neighborhood via several empty buildings (as well as new construction) and incorporated found objects into facades and courtyards. A model renovation that didn’t get adequate attention when completed.

Very creative use of Modern design and historical forms for an infill project that respects the street wall and skyline of one of New York’s oldest commercial districts.

A paradigm for successfully integrating a modern residential development within a historic context.


McCarren Pool and Bathhouse- Marvel Architects

Restoration of a handsome ambitious Robert Moses era recreational facility. Though there were some concerns at the time about the proposed modifications, jury found the locker room additions to be thoughtful in mass and materials, with clever interior finishes (ie locker baskets on ceilings). Admirable to re-animate a long-closed neighborhood amenity (with a unique monumental modernist architecture), and adapt it for a new generation.

A miracle; returning this valuable structure to the public, preserving the dramatic architecture with subtle additions.

The design brings this historic structure back to life through inventive elements such as the re-use of wire storage baskets as the lobby ceilings.


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