A building partially nestled under Chicago’s “L” tracks, an iconic couture fashion house and a cancer pavilion with a holistic focus took top honors at the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA) 20th Annual Design Awards, which recognized projects for design and construction achievement.

A total of 25 Presidential, Gold, Silver and Merit Awards were presented in commercial, institutional, residential, religious, interior and unbuilt categories. Two entries received the President’s Award of Recognition, chosen by ALA President Jeff Budgell for design excellence.

The highest honor, the Don Erickson Presidential Award, went to 412 N. Wells St. in Chicago, a joint project of Hubbard Street Group and Centrum Real Estate and Development. The nine-story building, designed by Andrew Myren and David Genc of Hirsch MPG, Chicago, features a curved reflective glass façade reflecting both the neighborhood and the trains rumbling by, while establishing a new landscaped and illuminated pedestrian path directly below. The project was lauded by the judges for the symbiotic relationship between the building and the “L” train tracks, noting the clever integration of Chicago’s “L” train into the design, the smart elevation and the success of the design as an urban presence.  The project also received a Gold Award in the Commercial category.

“All three of this year’s Gold Award winners excelled in incorporating their environments into the design in a synergistic and innovative way, ” said Joanne Sullivan, ALA Executive Director.  

Gold Award winners also included: Asplundh Cancer Pavilion, Willow Grove, Pa., EwingCole Architects, Philadelphia, Pa. and Christian Dior, Chicago, Ill., Myefski Architects, Chicago, Ill.  

Architects, contractors, owners/developers and guests attended the recent award presentation; emcee was Anthony Costello, FAIA, Irving Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ball State University.

ALA 2018 Design Awards entries were evaluated by a panel of judges, including Michael Flynn, ALA, AIA, NCARB, Byce & Associates, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Todd Halamka, AIA LEED AP, Todd Halamka + Partners, Chicago, Ill.; Kristin Jones, Ph.D., R.A., Studio Integra Ltd., Oak Park, Ill.; Elizabeth McNicholas, ALA, AIA, LEED AP, MGLM Architects, Chicago, Ill. and Jeffrey Roberts, ALA, NCARB, New World Design, Chicago, Ill.

The Presidential Award is named for the founder and first president of ALA, Don Erickson (1929 – 2006), who formed the association in 1998, and was a student and protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.