The Great Lakes Century is a pro-bono initiative of SOM’s City Design Practice to promote a comprehensive 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. It establishes common measures for cities, industry and agriculture across the bi-national watershed, with ongoing research to uncover opportunities for the region. Since 2009, SOM has engaged scientists, politicians, environmentalists, businesses, and public policy advocates from over 35 organizations. The vision has been unanimously approved by the 73 mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative as a guiding framework.
Nanhu New Country Village Master Plan; Nanhu District, Jiaxing, China
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Nanhu Country Village addresses agricultural goals and environmental problems through the introduction of modern farming technologies and sustainable design practices. The design coalesces the agrarian setting with urban amenities to create a compact village while maximizing local farming production. Of the 1,100 hectare site, over 700 remain working farms. Within an intricate canal network, the traditional regional character is reinterpreted to create a village integrated with environment while treatment wetlands improve water quality. Together, the village and its adjacent farmlands form a 21st-century sustainable community and serve as a model for future rural-to-urban development throughout China.
National September 11 Memorial; New York City
The National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in New York is a verdant and vibrant urban plaza that marks the site of the former Twin Towers with emptiness. A pair of voids – deeply recessed reflecting pools – are ringed by waterfalls and bronze panels etched with the names of the deceased. The Memorial Plaza creates a clearing in the dense urban fabric of Lower Manhattan and stitches the site back, physically and emotionally, into the life of the city.
Parkmerced Vision Plan; San Francisco
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
The Parkmerced Vision Plan is a pioneering neighborhood revitalization program that holistically integrates best principles of environmental sustainability and neighborhood livability. The project will create a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use neighborhood that radically reduces automobile dependency; provides much improved connectivity to transit; creates larger, more usable open spaces; and relies upon rapidly evolving green technologies in infrastructure to reduce energy and water usage. The project would protect existing residents at Parkmerced from displacement, and help address the City’s and Bay Area Region’s current housing shortage for households at all income levels.
Rock Street Pocket Housing (RSPH); Little Rock, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center
RSPH is an affordable housing project that serves as a catalyst for redevelopment of Little Rock’s struggling Pettaway neighborhood. Once a vibrant 20th-century streetcar neighborhood, Pettaway has since taken a turn for the worse. By clustering 4–16 homes around shared outdoor commons and infrastructure, pocket housing is ideal for leveraging quality in an affordable housing setting. Pocket housing provides desirable housing options between the scales of the single-family house and mid-rise flats—what planners call the “missing middle,” because such housing has not been built since the 1940s.
Superkilen; Copenhagen, Denmark
BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group
At almost a mile long, this urban park is positioned through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Denmark. The project possesses all that typically makes up a modern park with trails for pedestrians and cyclists, outdoor recreation spaces, a market space and games areas. Superkilen is divided into three zones: the red square, the black market and the green park and is conceived as a giant exhibition of urban best practice - a collection of global objects from the 60+ home countries of the local inhabitants.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.
Contact: Matt Tinder