The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has announced the winners of its 17th annual Design Excellence Awards program. Open to all GSA-commissioned projects, whether completed or not, and covering a variety of categories, the program each year is juried by an independent group of private-sector professionals who may or may not have done prior work with the GSA.

According to Thomas Grooms, director of design excellence and the arts for the Office of the Chief Architect at the GSA, the jury is generally composed of 11 individuals “that represent a broad spectrum of disciplines” and is always chaired by an architect. Also included in the group are a construction industry professional, curator, landscape architect, graphic designer, engineer, and at least two preservationists. This year, for the first time, a woman chaired the jury. Boston architect Joan Goody, principal at Goody Clancy, led the group in analyzing 120 projects in 17 categories over the course of the two-day decision making process.

This year's honor award for completed architecture went to Gruen Associates and Moore Ruble Yudell for the U.S. Courthouse in Fresno, Calif.; citations were awarded to the Oklahoma City Federal Building, by Ross Barney Architects and the Benham Cos.; the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse and Federal Office Building in Cleveland, by Kallman McKinnell and Wood Architects and Karlsberger Architecture; and the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, Calif., by Garrison Architects.

An honor award for on-the-boards architecture was awarded to the Peace Arch Port of Entry in Blaine, Wash., designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and a citation in the same category was awarded to Lehman Smith McLeish's Broadway Entry Pavilion at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Federal Building. The Howard M. Metzenbaum United States Courthouse in Cleveland and firm Westlake Reed Leskosky were awarded a citation for preservation, and the Des Moines, Iowa, Federal Building façade replacement designed by SmithGroup and DesignBuild Solutions was awarded a citation for modernization. (Seven of these projects are shown in the image gallery. Not shown: the Broadway Entry Pavilion.)

Other projects were selected for honor awards and citations in the categories of lease construction, conservation, sustainability and adaptive reuse, sustainability in the workplace environment, interior design in the workplace environment, engineering and technology, graphic design, and construction excellence. In all, 18 projects received awards.

The goal when selecting the award-winning projects, says Grooms, is to “look for the best of the best, which are projects that can be used as models for both the GSA and the private sector.” In order to narrow the field, the jury examines each of the submitted projects within the context of seven criteria, four of which are, according to Grooms, “functionality—the building should function properly and have all the technical requirements; high aesthetic quality; sustainability; and whether or not a project is cost-effective on a life cycle basis.” More information on the winners and on the program can be found at