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AIA Minnesota Honor Awards: The Look (and Feel) of Architecture

Whether stripped back and revealed as part of adaptive reuse renovations or injected into otherwise slick and pristine new buildings, simple, raw, and unvarnished materials give the projects honored by AIA Minnesota an air of permanence and timelessness. Exposed raw concrete, industrial spans of steel, and richly textured stone speak to a Midwestern sensibility of humble craft and an unpretentious material honesty. They are projects that offer their texture and tactile experience as their foremost pleasures, a little-discussed aspect of architecture’s sensory full-court press, separating it from many of its fellow creative and artistic pursuits.

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Honor Award

<b>Target Plaza Commons</b> in Minneapolis, designed by Julie Snow Architects Inc. (Design Architect) and Ryan A+E, Inc. (Architect of Record). Jury comments: It&rsquo;s about the process of subtraction, revealing what was never meant to be shown. I&rsquo;m really struck by the rawness and toughness of this interior space, but also by how warm and inviting it is. There&rsquo;s such a minimal number of moves to exploit the resource that was already there architecturally. Image courtesy of Paul Crosby.

Honor Award

<b>U.S. Land Port of Entry</b> in Van Buren, Maine, designed by Julie Snow Architects, Inc.; in collaboration with Robert Siegel Architects. Jury comments: It&rsquo;s really a landscape project&mdash;landscape and building have merged. I also admire the material toughness of it, and the way the patterning and the textures of the exterior create syncopation over the long spans. Image courtesy of Paul Crosby.

Honor Award

<b>Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design URBN Center</b> in Philadelphia, designed by MSR. Jury comments: The operation of cutting out the central space of this building, revealing the really raw nature of the steel, and creating these super-animated spaces where all the social life of the building congregates&mdash;it&rsquo;s all so effective. Image courtesy of Lara Swimmer.

Honor Award

<b>Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial</b> in St. Paul, designed by Leo A Daly. Jury comments: The minimalism is very affecting. The roof is kind of tough and raw, but the delicate, slender structural elements almost disappear from some points of view. The weight and the ephemerality in counterpoise are very nicely done. Image courtesy of Bill Baxley, AIA.

Honor Award

<b>Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub</b> in St. Paul, designed by HGA. Jury comments: Union Depot is emblematic of an attitude toward design that views a historic building as an asset and a resource deserving of a sensitive restoration, and then calls for the new parts of the building to be modern, to highlight the original without reducing it. Union Depot&rsquo;s sharp contrast between old and new, traditional and modern&mdash;both done with a lot of integrity&mdash;makes it a very complete, very appealing project. Image courtesy of Paul Crosby.

Honor Award

<b>Macalester College Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center</b> in St. Paul, designed by HGA. Jury comments: For me, the interiors stand out. With only a few moves and a few colors, both in the open circulation spaces and in the theater, the architects have made an arts building that stands apart. Image courtesy of Paul Crosby.

Honor Award

<b>University of Minnesota School of Architecture Centennial Chromagraph</b> in Minneapolis, designed by Variable Projects. Jury comments: I was really struck by the playfulness of the project. It has a lighthearted quality. The use of colored pencils as the main decorative tool is terrific. The three-dimensional expression of data&mdash;the data visualization component of the project, both graphically and volumetrically&mdash;is really intriguing.  Image courtesy of Adam Marcus, AIA.

Honor Award

<b>Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity</b> in Northfield, Minn., designed by MSR. Jury comments: The addition does a great job of contextualizing itself in volume without becoming stylistically contextual. The spaces that create connections between the different parts of the building are very strong, and I&rsquo;m especially struck by the new large lounge space. It almost feels like a living room for the campus. Image courtesy of Brandon Stengel.

Honor Award

<b>Hall House</b> in Duluth, Minn., designed by Salmela Architect. Jury comments: I love the way that it sits on the bones of the original building on this rock shelf, and yet it relates to the topography in a much more compelling way than the building that stood there before. Image courtesy of Paul Crosby.



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