The votes are in! Thursday night at the Boston Society of Architects 2nd annual awards program, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum addition, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, won over the publicís hearts and was honored with the Peopleís Choice Award sponsored by boston.com. They voted on the four buildings nominated for the Harleston Parker Medal, an award founded in 1921 and co-sponsored by the City of Boston to recognize ďthe single most beautiful building or other structureĒ built in the metropolitan Boston area in the last 10 years. A jury of 10 design professionals saw things differently, however, and selected the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, designed by Fumihiko Maki and Leers Weinzapfel Associates, for the Harleston, proving that though architecture and beauty go hand in hand, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. What the public considers beautiful often interestingly differs from what experts in the field consider worthy of note.
When the more than 1,600 votes submitted from around the world were tallied, it was the Gardnerís new concert hall, special exhibition space, cafe, gift shop, greenhouses, and living room, which together double the museumís footprint, alleviating stress from an increasing number of visitors without distracting from the history and importance of the original building, that won the day.
Fumihiko Maki with Leers Weinzapfel Associates
In addition to the Harleston Parker Medal being awarded to the MIT Media Lab, which features open research areas, a central atrium, event space, and a winter garden, the BSA competition, sponsored by Design New England, singled out remarkable architecture in healthcare, housing, interior architecture, planning, small projects, and unbuilt categories. The top winners will be featured in a special promotional section in the March/April issue of DNE. The BSAís Award of Honor went to Jane Thompson for her lifetime achievements. To learn what some of them are, read our Winner Does All September/October 2010 story on her. Thompson, an icon in the world or architecture and urban planning spoke passionately to an audience of both accomplished and burgeoning architects about turning points in the history of Bostonís design, stressing the importance of staying enthusiastic about architecture and its place in the city. We sure will.
An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.
Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.
Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.