The project teams honored in the 2018 ENR MidAtlantic Best Projects competition balanced technical know-how with an aesthetic sensibility. For example, the judge’s choice for this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Project of the Year is the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts in the District of Columbia. Completed in 26 months—in time for the 2017-2018 school year—the renovation, expansion and modernization called for removing the building’s central section to make room for a four-story atrium and an 800-seat egg-shaped theater.

1900 Reston Metro Plaza in Reston, Va., the Best Project in the office/retail/mixed-use category, is another intersection between style and substance. The team had minimal tolerances for its cast-in-place, sloping, exoskeleton columns for the building’s finished facade. The unpainted and uncoated columns also had to remain undamaged because they are part of the finished product. 

These projects illuminate the hard work that helped produce all of this year’s 32 winners. The 83 projects submitted in this year’s competition come from a region that includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. To qualify for this year’s contest, projects had to have been completed between May 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018.

This year’s projects, entered in 16 main categories, were evaluated by a panel of five professionals from across the region and industry. Judges were placed on two panels, each of which evaluated a different group of projects. This year’s judges were Kevin Hilton, the chief executive at Ironworkers Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT); Craig Melograno, president at PDM Constructors; Angelina Perryman, vice president of administration at Perryman Building and Construction Services; Edward Roberts, senior associate at LERA; and Anita Sicar, project director at Davis, Carter, Scott Ltd. Project teams were judged on how well they contributed to the industry and community and overcame challenges. Judges also considered safety and construction and design quality. Judges had the option of selecting any number of Best Project-level category winners and award of merit honorees.

Two separate safety judges, William Mueller, CHST, corporate health, safety and environmental manager at Hill International, and James Shumaker, director of safety at KCI Technologies Inc., selected the safety winners. The BWI Concourse E Extension project in Baltimore is this year’s winner of the Excellence in Safety award. Safety merit awards went to 1900 Reston Metro Plaza and SWIFT Research Center, which was also named a Best Project in the water/environment category.