GSA Design Awards: Oregon Courthouse Scores Multiple Honors

WASHINGTON — Oregon’s Wayne Lyman Morse U.S. Courthouse and the San Francisco federal building scooped the top architecture honors in the 2008 General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program.

The GSA’s 2008 biennial design awards, released in March, recognize 18 federal projects with awards and citations for design, art and construction excellence. The Morse courthouse in Eugene, Ore., and San Francisco’s federal building, both designed by Morphosis Architecture, received the architectural honor awards.

“These awards help us measure our success as a federal agency and provide a benchmark for quality for future projects,” says Anthony Costa, GSA Public Buildings Service acting commissioner.

The Morse courthouse project, which is “rooted in the observation that recent American courthouses have eschewed iconic symbolism,” also took top honors in construction excellence, combining several progressive concepts, including shared use of building information modeling and fabricating directly from the model, CMC contracting and early contractor/subcontractor involvement.

Earning a total of five competition accolades, the Morse project also claimed the honor award for art in architecture and received citations in the graphic design and signage categories.

The GSA design jury also honored Morphosis’ federal building in San Francisco with the sustainability award for its “innovative contributions for architecture” and its integration of “forms, systems, sustainability and art into a really remarkable composition.”

The Moshe Safdie-designed U.S. Courthouse in Springfield, Mass., and the U.S. Port of Entry in Raymond, Mont., designed by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects, picked up citations in the architecture category.

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Chaired by architect Mehrdad Yazdani, the jury of private design, construction and art professionals reviewed more than 80 projects in 13 categories, including architecture, sustainability, engineering, construction, preservation, urban design, and art and interior design.

“These facilities must adapt to changing needs; be efficient and functional; contribute to the sustainability of our environment; and provide enduring value to the communities where they are located,” Costa says.

“They must also make meaningful contributions to the nation’s public architectural heritage, a legacy initiated by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson … who believed that federal buildings should engender confidence in their government and reflect the nation’s democratic values and ideals,” he says.

The jury awarded citations in the modernization category to the Byron G. Rogers U.S. Courthouse in Denver, by Bennett Wagnery & Grody Architects, and to the Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, Mo., by Helix Architecture + Design.

Kliment Halsband Architects picked up the honors in the preservation category for the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Citations for architecture on-the-boards were awarded the U.S. Courthouse in Austin, Texas, by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, and to U.S. land port of entry projects in Donna, Texas (Hodgetts + Fung Design & Architecture); in Warroad, Minn. (Julie Snow Architects); and in Massena, N.Y. (Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects).

The U.S. Courthouse in Alpine, Texas, by PageSoutherlandPage, received a citation in the category of Lease construction, while Philadelphia-based firm Olin received a citation in the landscape category for their work on the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland.

“These projects represent the best of the best of GSA’s work for its federal agency customers and the American people,” says Paul Prouty, GSA acting administrator.“They embody GSA’s goals to create superior workplaces, develop creative solutions, and implement cost-effective acquisition services and management policies.”

The awards program is open to contract design professionals, contractors, artists, and/or organizations that completed or are working on projects for GSA or under GSA authority. Current or former GSA employees with professional responsibility for a GSA-authorized project are also eligible for the program.

GSA manages more than one quarter of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings. The GSA also acts as steward of more than 480 historic properties throughout the United States.

The Public Buildings Service responsible for maintaining, renovating, restoring, and modernizing an inventory of 1,500 federally-owned buildings, managing 354 million square feet of workspace in 2,200 communities throughout the United States.