2020 AIA Design Awards

The annual AIA Design Awards program recognizes outstanding architectural design by AIA New York members, New York-based architects in any location and works in New York by architects around the globe.

The purpose of the awards is to honor design excellence and this year our office was distinguished with the Sustainability Merit Award for the Star Garment Innovation Center. The facility is the first Passive House building to be built in South Asia and in a monsoon climate.

Jordan asked me and Marijke, the office’s senior designer and now my personal friend, to go to the Design Awards announcement. The announcement was at the Center for Architecture, which is the home of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Located in the neighborhood of Greenwich Village between West 3rd Street and Bleecker Street, the center has been operated by AIA NY since 2003. It hosts exhibitions on Architecture, Urban Planning, Urban Design, and Environmental Planning and offers a wide range of seminars, public feedback forums, educational programs, and events.

The building has a visual connection with the street through the storefront, from where you can see the three stories of exhibition spaces and the flow between them. The building is not shy in the way it connects with the street level. It seduces the city walkers to come in through the hints of red on the window film and the graphics inside and through the photography exhibit at the Gerald D. Hines gallery.

The awards announcement took place at the Edgar A. Tafel Hall, which is the Center of Architecture’s presentation and reception space. Named after the Greenwich Village resident and Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentice, this room is known by its high ceilings, mezzanine overlook,  and natural lighting that comes from the storefront.

We sat and a few minutes later the event began. A jury of independent architects, educators, critics and planners from outside New York announced and commented on the winners of this year’s AIA NY Design Awards.

JPDA’s Star Garment Innovation was gifted with the Sustainability Design Award. The project is the first certified Passive House project in South Asia and the second Passive House factory building in the world. It’s also a pioneer in applying PH technology to tropical monsoon climate, which features steady warm temperatures year-round but extremely high relative humidity.

According to Mary Ann Lazarus, architect, and consultant at Cameron Mac Allister Group, » What we were looking for within sustainability were exemplary performance and really good design. This particular project is an industrial building in Sri Lanka. It’s a renovation of an old warehouse into a new model for the Garment Industry. (…) It’s very colorful and very playful. Working in this space would be vastly different than the typical environment (…).»


Sofia Melo

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