Moving beyond LEED as a differentiator
Once again, I'm pleased to announce the winners of our annual ARC Awards competition, now in its third year. For a refresher, the program, short for Advancing, Reinvigorating and Cultivating excellence in engineering, is a competition not about the "best" buildings or designs, but about designs and designers that find the right solutions, which often necessitates going outside the box.
Once again, I’m pleased to announce the winners of our annual ARC Awards competition, now in its third year. For a refresher, the program, short for Advancing, Reinvigorating and Cultivating excellence in engineering, is a competition not about the “best” buildings or designs, but about designs and designers that find the right solutions, which often necessitates going outside the box. Indeed, the award is not so much about words, but actions—engineers taking something from point A to B, as our logo attests, by literally reaching over (or in some cases this year, under or in between) given obstacles.
That said, choosing this year’s winners was no easy task. In 2003, a few projects immediately jumped to the forefront. Two of the eventual winners were also LEED certified, making them stand out. This year, however, we had five LEED-certified submissions and five non-LEED, but equally sustainable, projects and several others with various green components. Although it made the job more difficult, the fact that sustainability and LEED certification were so commonplace among the submissions did my “Captain Planet” (as one reader dubbed me) heart good. But it also meant we really had to scrutinize our other criteria more carefully.
For the record, the prerequisites include unique building systems; use of new or unusual technologies; energy efficiency; system and interdisciplinary integration; architectural considerations; innovative solutions to various project challenges; and ultimately, a subjective measure—did we feel “wowed?”
Due to the tightness of the competition we also had to factor in the project mission and its impact on community or building type itself. And like any organic entity, things should never be static, and in reviewing many of the really neat systems in these projects, it also dawned upon us that perhaps we should expand the awards to also include “Systems of the Year.” Well, that’s something we’ll do next year, but in the interim, we’ve decided to at least issue some honorable mentions to get the ball rolling.
Enough chat! On to the winners: BHKR and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center; Glumac and the Brewery Blocks redevelopment project; and last, but not least, Albert Kahn and the Granger Center at Ferris State University.
Jim Crockett , Editor-in-Chief , CSE
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