SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus—Bethlehem, PA
Halkin Mason Photography SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus—Bethlehem, PA

The Bruner Foundation announced today the gold and silver medal winners of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. Celebrating its 30th year, the biennial awards program "celebrates transformative places distinguished by physical design and contributions to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of America’s cities," according to a press release. Since the program's founding, 83 projects across 27 states have been honored.

This year's gold medal—along with $50,000 to enhance the project—was awarded to the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem, Penn. Designed by Philadelphia firm WRT Design, the $93.5 million campus plan transformed an abandoned steel mill into a mixed-use cultural and entertainment district.

"We are honored to be named the 2017 Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medalist for the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus,” said Tony Hanna, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem in the release. “It's fitting that the award coincides with the 275th anniversary of the founding of the City of Bethlehem, as the development of the campus embodies many of the same attributes that went into Bethlehem’s development—vision, collaboration, creativity, public engagement, perseverance, tenacity, and commitment."

Silver medal winners—who were each awarded $10,000 to enhance their projects—include the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Boston by Mecanoo and Sasaki; the Chicago Riverwalk Phases II and III in Chicago by Sasaki, Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers, and Jacobs/Ryan Associates; La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park in Los Angeles by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects; and the Iberville Offsite Rehabs I & II in New Orleans by Kronberg Wall with Redmellon Restoration and Development.

“The 2017 RBA medalists illustrate the transformative power of design in creating places that bring people together and lift the human spirit,” said RBA founder Simeon Bruner. “Gold Medalist SteelStacks speaks to the very essence of the Rudy Bruner Award. The City of Bethlehem turned an irretrievable loss into a positive cultural asset, honoring its history and all those who worked there while fostering a compelling public place and economic future. It is an outstanding model for post-industrial cities nationwide."

The 2017 selection committee included Greenville, S.C., mayor Knox White; Detroit director of strategic planning Kimberly Driggins; Stull and Lee president David Lee, FAIA; CMG Landscape Architecture principal Willett Moss; CommonBond Communites chief executive officer Deidre Schmidt; Annie E. Casey Foundation associate director Scot Spencer.

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building— Boston, MA
Courtesy of Anton Grassl/ESTO Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building— Boston, MA
Chicago Riverwalk Phases 2 and 3—Chicago, IL
Christian Phillips Chicago Riverwalk Phases 2 and 3—Chicago, IL
La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park—Los Angeles, CA
Courtesy of Benny Chan/Fotoworks La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park—Los Angeles, CA
Iberville Offsite Rehabs I & II—New Orleans, LA
Kronberg Wall Iberville Offsite Rehabs I & II—New Orleans, LA