Home » California Academy of Sciences Among Five Winners of ULI Global Awards for Excellence
Five outstanding developments � including the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco -- have been selected as winners of the 2009 Urban Land Institute�s Global Awards for Excellence competition, widely recognized as the land use industry�s most prestigious recognition program.
The award winners, representing the world’s best cross-regional models in land use practices, were announced last week in conjunction with the ULI fall meeting in San Francisco.
The competition is part of the Institute’s Awards for Excellence program, established in 1979, which is based on ULI’s guiding principle that the achievement of excellence in land use practice should be recognized and rewarded. ULI’s Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design.
The criteria for the awards include leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnership, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial success.
The Global Awards jury panel was impressed by the innovative design of the California Academy of Sciences project, which was developed by the Academy. The project is a $488-million development that ranks as one of the world’s largest LEED-platinum public buildings. It houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and four-story rain forest. The 412,000-sq-ft project was designed with the goal of preserving the natural habitats, species, and resources of the local environment.
“The Academy is a dramatic rebirth of a facility that had fallen into disrepair,” says Global Awards Jury Chairman Joseph E. Brown, group chief executive of AECOM in San Francisco. “It is an extraordinary green building achievement that has retained much of the old building’s qualities, while overlaying many new spatial and learning experiences.”
The decision to redevelop the facility inside Golden Gate Park, rather than move the academy offsite, helped greatly to solidify and revitalize the park, he adds, noting that an urban strategy was implemented for the benefit of both open space and cultural facilities.
The 2009 Global Awards for Excellence winners were selected from 21 worldwide finalists, all of whom were winners in their region: The Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The global awards jury evaluated these projects with additional criteria, including: innovative concepts that can be emulated around the world; strong urban design; response to the surrounding environment; and design that contributes to a livable, sustainable development that demonstrates relevance to the needs of the community.
According to ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips, the award winners illustrate that well-designed, well-built projects can thrive even in the most challenging of economic times. “These global winners showcase the best in creativity, innovation, and long-term thinking,” Phillips says.
The four additional 2009 Global Awards for Excellence winners are (developers in parentheses):