2012 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

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cultureNOW | Notes of Interest


CultureNOW, a 501c3 organization was formed in 2002 from work done by New York/ New Visions, the AIA-led pro bono coalition of design professionals who came together in response to the tragic events of September 11th. Spearheaded by Abby Suckle, FAIA and Anne Lewison, AIA, RAIC, it has grown to include a vast network of architects, artists, urban planners, educators, curators, and historians all committed to expanding the reach of their disciplines through cultural tourism, education and outreach.

CultureNOW dedicates itself to celebrating our vast architectural and cultural environment as a gallery that exists beyond museum walls. It firmly believes that the design of our environment influences our perception of it and has a fundamental impact on how we live. It uses mapping as a tool to empower people to better visualize the richness and diversity of their community. In the broadest sense, there are three facets to understanding a place: its built environment (architecture), cultural insertions (art), and history. Through technology, cultureNOW blends these dimensions into a holistic depiction of places. It is committed to demystifying the design process as we passionately believe that the general public would be more engaged participants if they were better equipped to understand it.

De-mystifying the meaning of ‘place’ and making it accessible for the public to understand and appreciate is cultureNOW’s fundamental contribution to the profession.

Design matters. An elegant tool is a pleasure to use every time it is called for. Every opportunity to offer high quality design to aid us in our everyday lives, the more we acknowledge and respect its quiet influence and more we become aware of the option to choose the more beautiful tool.

Architecture plays a vital role in defining our landscape, our built-scape, and the way we live. cultureNOW has adopted a set of diverse yet complimentary vehicles including both physical and virtual maps as well as programs, tours, symposia, and internships to allow the public to learn more about the environment by using a tool.

The unifying goals of all the cultureNOW elements include education, dissemination and outreach.

Photo Credits

  • All images courtesy of cultureNOW

Jury Comments


The use of visual material - maps and smartphone technology - to improve public access to cultural institutions is executed with sophistication and well designed.

The collaboration between architects and cultural institutions works to coalesce art, architecture, and history in a new way and gives the public a new level of access to these aspects of the city.

2012 Collaborative Achievement Jury


Kevin J. Flynn, FAIA, Chair
Kiku Obata & Company, Saint Louis

James Logan Abell, FAIA
Abell & Associates Architects, Ltd., Tempe, Arizona

David Burney, FAIA
NYC Department of Design & Construction, Long Island City

Vergel Lee Gay Jr., AIA
Texas A & M, College Station, Texas

Curtis J. Moody, FAIA
Moody Nolan, Inc., Columbus, Ohio

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