Friday, November 30, 2007

VJAA win 3 of 7 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards
Wow. It's been an impressive week of Vincent James Associates Architects (VJAA) of Minneapolis. Two of the firm's principals, Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos, spoke at the Walker Art Center's Drawn Here design talks. And the AIA announced that the firm won three AIA Minnesota Honor Awards for the following buildings:

The Petter’s Pavilion
Collegeville, Minnesota at St. John's Abbey, by VJAA

Porter Boathouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin by VJAA

The Lavin-Bernick Center for Student Life, Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana, by VJAA

For more photos of the Tulane University project, click here. There's also an in-depth interview with the architects about the Lavin-Bernick Center available at the podlounge and iTunes.

A few months ago, I interviewed Minnesota architects Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos about their philosophy and approach to architecture. It's a two-part segment. You can listen to that interview here.

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Three other Minnesota architecture firms also won awards. Hammel, Green and Abramson (HGA) won two AIA Minnesota Honor Awards for public projects at the University of Minnesota and Ramsey County. BKV Group designed a new city hall and public safety building for the city of Plymouth, Minnesota. And David Salmela was awarded a prize for his cluster of houses overlooking Lake Superior in Duluth.

Wall of Discovery
University of Minnesota by HGA

Ramsey County Library
Maplewood, Minnesota by HGA

Plymouth Public Safety Building and City Hall
Plymouth, Minnesota by BKV Group

The final AIA Honor Award was given to David Salmela of Salmela Architects in Duluth. A technological glitch prevented me from uploading a photo of his winning project, the Clure Project in Duluth. It's a cluster of three modernist houses that perch on a steep hill in a traditionally working class neighborhood of the city. When I interviewed Salmela for a Building Minnesota radio story a couple of years ago, his house, which is part of the Clure Project, was under construction.

Workers were wedging a giant glass window into place at the time. (Listen to the radio story and you'll hear that.) I found the location, the materials and the use of space simply marvelous. The exterior of David Salmela's house is made of the same material as skateboard parks. It's a scratchy black.

To learn more about Salmela, check out this podcast.

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