The internationally-acclaimed Aqua tower at Lakeshore East has been named the winner of a Distinguished Building Award by the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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The 2010 AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards offer awards in four categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, Divine Detail and Unbuilt Design.

Aqua was recognized in the Distinguished Building category, winning an Honor Award. An Honor Award is the highest level of awards presented by AIA Chicago. The award was announced at AIA Chicago’s annual Designight on Oct. 29 at Navy Pier.

The award joins such other honors as being named 2009 Emporis International Skyscraper of the Year, besting more than 300 competitors worldwide; and the 2008 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.

Established 55 years ago, the Distinguished Building Award recognizes significant achievement in the planning, design and execution of recent building projects.

Projects completed between Jan. 1, 2005, and May 1, 2010, were eligible for the award.

Aqua was designed by Jeanne Gang, principal of Studio/Gang Architects and Loewenberg Architects, associate architects.

The $475 million structure at 225 N. Columbus Drive anchors the northwest corner of the development, which is located three blocks east of Michigan Avenue between Columbus Drive and Randolph Street, just north of Grant and Millennium Parks.

In related news, construction has begun on the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. A joint venture of Aqua developer Magellan Development Group and Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, the Radisson Blu Aqua will occupy the first 18 floors of the mixed-use tower.

Magellan President David Carlins says the hotel should be open in the fall of 2011. The hotel is projected to cost $125 million. Aqua is the first high-rise in Chicago specifically designed to feature condominiums, rental, hotel and retail spaces in a single structure.