ENR Southwest’s Best Projects 2011 category judging was completed last month and the winners were announced here in this blog, but one task remained for our panel of 15 industry judges: picking the 2011 ‘Project of the Year’. 

Since the judges were split into three groups judging different categories, each group selected their favorite project out of all the categories they looked at. Those three projects were: the Glendale Water Supply Improvement Project in Reno, Nev., which won Best Civil/Infrastructure; Mesa Community College’s Saguaro Building, which won Best Higher Education; and Chandler City Hall, the Best Government/Public Building project. 

The final task was for each judge to review the nominee from their group, compared to the nominees from the other two panels, and choose the best project overall. Several judges told me that choosing the overall winner from these three outstanding – and very different – projects was by far the most difficult decision they had to make during the entire arduous month-long judging process. 

And the winner of ENR Southwest’s 2011 Project of the Year is… Chandler City Hall! 

Submitted by Sundt Construction, this 131,683-sq-ft complex is located in the heart
of downtown Chandler’s lively commercial district and is the first city-owned city hall in Chandler’s 120-year history. The six-story building and adjacent complex houses administrative offices, council chambers, production studio, gallery space and parking structure. 
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Chandler City Hall photo courtesy Timmerman Photography

The project was designed by SmithGroup and received LEED-Gold certification with features such as high-efficiency electrical and under-floor air distribution, high performance glazing and smart building layout. A waterfall in the parking structure that may appear to visitors like just another water feature is actually an integral part of the HVAC system by helping in the cooling process of the condensing water system of the chillers. The blow-down water from the cooling towers takes the heat off the chillers and circulates it up through the cooling tower on top of the garage. In most HVAC systems, that water gets dumped into the sewer system, but in this case, it goes through a gray water system and gets used for toilets and landscaping.
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Photo courtesy Timmerman Photography

One judge said Chandler City Hall was “a well executed and highly engaging building that is energy efficient and functional as well as aesthetic and creative. A tight turnaround schedule fueled greater partnering and cooperation among project stakeholders for a sexy and shapely building that embodies Chandler’s social and cultural values while articulating its ambitions for the future."

You can read more about this project, as well as all of this year’s Best Projects 2011 winners, in the November 14 issue of ENR Southwest and at the awards banquet breakfast held in Phoenix on November 15th at the Embassy Suites North Phoenix near I-17 and Greenway.

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