Battling to keep business afloat in a tough economic climate is hard enough, but the 98 contenders in this year's Best Projects competition had to go further than just completing the job. They had to make sure that their finished projects met a list of criteria and met it in a way that would impress seven highly qualified judges from across the A/E/C industries who sat on this year's jury.

Photo Courtesy of Intercounty Constructors
Staying the Course: The Intercounty Connector project won praise for meeting stringent environmental challenges.

To be eligible for the competition, projects had to be completed between Aug. 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011. Submitters had to address the challenges they faced during design or construction and how successful they were at overcoming these hurdles. Safety was another factor, as submitters had to discuss how they went above and beyond baseline industry safety requirements.

Submitters were also asked to address innovation and provide details on how their projects helped to elevate industry standards. Other criteria involved construction quality and craftsmanship as well as function and aesthetic quality of the design.

The judges scored projects on their own time according to those standards and then gathered at ENR New York's Manhattan offices in early September to champion their favorites before a final vote was taken. In the end, they chose best project winners in 17 categories, as well as merit award winners in several of those categories.

The top prize for the region went to the Intercounty Connector project in Montgomery County, Md., which was submitted by Intercounty Constructors, a joint venture. The judges praised the construction and design team's environmental sensitivity in handling this project and called its overall approach innovative and elegant.


This Year's Winners Are:

Region's Best Overall Project (Transportation)- Intercounty Connector

Best Civil/Infrastructure- Water Tunnels and Associated Works: Croton Water Treatment Plant

Best Cultural/Worship- DiMenna Center for Classical Music

Award of Merit-Cultural/Worship- National Museum of American Jewish History

Best Governement/Public Building- Pennsylvania Convention Center

Award of Merit-Government/Public Building- BRAC Air National Guard Headquarters and Readiness Center

Best Green Project- Binghamton University Engineering & Science Building

Award of Merit-Green Project- Robinson Nature Center

Best Health Care- Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Best Higher Education/Research- Columbia Northwest Corner Building

Award of Merit Higher Education/Research- Towson University

Best Industrial/Manufacturing- Delaware City Refinery Restart Project

Award of Merit Industrial/Manufacturing- Astoria Energy 575-MW Powerplant, Phase II

Best Interior Design/Tenant Improvement- HOK

Best K-12 Education- Moon Area High School

Best Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development- Union Square North Pavilion, Plaza & Playground Reconstruction

Best Multi-Family Residential/Hospitality- Riverside South-Buildings J1 and J2

Best Office- United States Institute of Peace

Award of Merit Office- CENTRA

Best Renovation/Restoration- IRS 30th Street Campus Project

Award of Merit Renovation/Restoration- American Trucking Associations Capitol Legislative Office

Award of Merit Renovation/Restoration- Exterior Restoration of the New York Public Library-Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Best Retail/Mixed Use- Square 54

Best Small Project (Under $10 Million)- Levitt Pavilion at SteelStacks

Award of Merit Best Small Project (Under $10 Million)- Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine-New Visitor and Education Center

Best Sports/Entertainment- CONSOL Energy Center

Award of Merit Transportation- Atlantic Avenue Viaduct Design-Build Phase IIa