Contract announced the winners of its fourth annual Inspirations Awards competition at a ceremony on June 11 in Chicago at the NeoCon® World Trade Fair. Sponsored by Tandus Flooring, the Inspirations Awards celebrates leadership in socially responsible design among commercial interior designers and architects.
This year there were two categories for entries: one for complete built projects in commercial interiors (any project type other than residential), and one for a practice-based initiative. The built-category winner will receive a $5,000 cash award from Tandus for donation to the cause that their efforts supported, and the practice-based initiative will receive a prize of $1,000.
Winners were the Houston Food Bank, Houston, in the complete built projects category, and NPO Gyoryu-no-yu, Minami-sanriku cho, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, in the practice-based category.
The competition was judged by Michael Murphy, co-founder of MASS Design Group and Contract 2012 Designer of the Year; Anne-Marie Gianoudis, IIDA, senior interior designer at Gresham Smith and Partners and vice president on the board of IIDA; and Neil Frankel, FAIA, FIIDA and partner of Frankel + Coleman.
Complete built projects winner Houston Food Bank (HFB) was designed to meet the growing issue of hunger. To expand its distribution capacity more than three-fold, HFB renovated a neglected, 30-year-old, “tilt-up” warehouse. The renovation was completed in October 2011.
The 308,000-sq.-ft. facility is the nation’s largest-ever Feeding America food bank and source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. HFB supports a network of nearly 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies, feeding a total of 137,000 people each week and providing more than 53 million nutritious meals annually. Meeting the needs of volunteers, staff and the community was of the utmost importance in the design of the new facility.
Practice-based category winner NPO Gyoryu-no-yu by Applied Environmental Design Studio (Innovator Certification Course in Environment studies) is an experiment in building design presented by Hiroto Kobayashi, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University. The project was to build a temporary community house for use by local residents in Utatsu of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, where 70 percent of the houses were devastated by the Tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The majority of the house was constructed using engineered wood panels (veneer plywood panels) produced by a local wood processing company in Ishinomaki City, which neighbors Minamisanriku. The team pursued a design that would have a deeper relationship with the local context, rather than just providing a new space. Wood processing and manufacturing is one of the main local industries in in Miyagi prefecture. Employing a construction method using plywood panels, promotes the local economy and encourages the local community, as well as helps contribute to global environment in a positive way. The house, its materials and its construction all harmonize different local processes of the area.