Citing the range and excellence of the winning firm’s design work, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State has awarded WXY architecture + urban design with one of its highest honors, the annual Architectural Firm Award.
This singular honor comes on the heels of recent awards for the firm’s major architectural and urban design projects, as well as a flurry of new commissions. Highlights include a 2016 AIA NY Honor Award for New York City’s Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed, lauded as “public sculpture” that honors its neighborhood’s character. For WXY’s urban design and planning of the waterfront reinvention East River Blueway as well as the new, 5.5-mile-long Rockaway Boardwalk, the firm won awards from New York’s AIA, and ASLA as well as the Waterfront Center. For WXY’s design of SeaGlass Carousel and its park setting, the Battery, the firm earned plaudits and a lifetime achievement honor.
Other recent projects making news and published widely include the Kearny Point master plan and revitalization, a citywide park system called Brooklyn Strand, the QueensWay Plan for an ambitious elevated park, and an acclaimed new museum, the Drawing Center. The firm also won a health-oriented active-design award for its 215 Step Street reconstruction as it earned wide acclaim from planners and policymakers for the sweeping East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.
“Building this firm has been an amazing collaboration,” said WXY cofounder Claire Weisz, RA, FAIA. “But the real reward is being a part of so many transformational projects in our own city and beyond.”
The Architectural Firm Award, to be presented at a statewide annual design conference and gala in Saratoga, N.Y., the evening of Friday, September 30th, recognizes a practice known for “consistently producing distinguished architecture for a period of at least 10 years,” according to AIA New York State (AIANYS), calling it “the highest honor the Institute can bestow.” WXY cofounder Mark Yoes, RA, AIA, LEED AP, said, “It’s truly humbling to know we’ve been a part of making New York a more vibrant and livable place, and for this work to be so highly regarded by our peers.”
Announcing the award, the jury of design professionals commented, “WXY architecture + urban design exemplifies design excellence in a broad range and scale of projects. From interior design for schools and libraries to large projects such as the Brooklyn Strand, their firm is committed to improving the public realm.”
WXY principal Layng Pew, RA, AIA, said, “This award confirms for us that the future of architecture is multidisciplinary, and that we have to design at any scale, from benches and drinking fountains and buildings to parks and entire city neighborhoods.”
The honored firm was founded as W+Y in 1992 by Weisz and Yoes. Through its work, WXY architecture + urban design (WXY) has cultivated a reputation as a studio of diverse professionals merging architecture, planning, urbanism, landscape architecture, industrial design, community engagement, and data analysis to reimagine cities, solve societal challenges, and create memorable, high-performance places.
“The world has become too complex for these disciplines to exist apart from each other,” added WXY’s managing principal Adam Lubinsky, PhD, AICP. “We’ve seen at WXY that transformational change -- such as the rebuilding of the Rockaway Boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy, or designing a new process for community engagement in East Harlem -- can only happen when planning informs the spatial relationships of the built environment.”
The approach has helped WXY expand its role and lead unique design initiatives on regional and national levels, nurturing wider public appreciation of the essential role public architecture plays in inspiring people to embrace their communities.
“WXY has been the innovative leader on sustainable urbanism,” said AIANYS President Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, FAIA. “Their ability to create structures and plans which are in chorus with the surrounding cityscape, and do so with environmentally sensible means, demonstrate their commitment to the profession.” Recent examples include reimagining parks and public spaces; creating new museums and carousels to be urban catalysts; recasting urban infrastructure as functional sculpture; and using data to study ways to promote electric vehicle use or eliminate barriers to public education.
“The team at WXY have proven they are an innovative leader in the profession, noted by their peers and capturing the attention of the design world,” said AIANYS Executive Director Georgi Bailey.