The New York City Public Design Commission has announced the winners of its the 38th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design, selecting 11 winning projects across all of New York's five boroughs that exemplify "how a foundation in good design can achieve civic projects that serve communities, inspire neighborhood pride, and provide durable and resilient spaces for New Yorkers," according to a press release. Deputy Mayor for housing and economic development Vicki Been, PDC president Signe Nielsen, and PDC executive director Justin Garrett Moore led this year's announcement, dedicating the 2020 awards to the designers and artists responsible for creating temporary spaces that provided the public with safe recreation and essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests bring broader awareness and acknowledgment that longstanding social and environmental justice issues, including the design of the built environment, affect us all," Moore said in the same release. "We need to do more and better for our people, places, and the planet, whether that is creating moments of beauty, healing, and joy through public art and landscapes or designing for better housing and clean water. The projects highlighted this year show that our City agencies and a diverse group of designers, artists, builders, and stakeholders are working creatively and innovatively to make our city better."
The Design Award-Winning Projects
Para Roberto, by Melissa Calderon
Roberto Clemente Plaza
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Transportation, and the Third Avenue BID
This site-specific artwork honors Roberto Clemente, the Hall-of-Fame outfielder and humanitarian, incorporating familiar elements that speak to the memories and history of Clemente’s life and the shared experiences of the many Bronxites that have come to New York City from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and beyond.
This mixed-use neighborhood development will offer more than 500 units of permanently affordable public housing, feature a dedicated home to the Universal Hip Hop Museum, and provide retail and community facility spaces as well as 3 acres of public open space.
A complete renovation will enable this 8,000 square foot library to better serve multi-generational programmatic requirements while providing integrated education and learning spaces for the community with a design that addresses health and climate change by utilizing sustainable materials, clean energy, and resiliency.
Colorful Companions, by Olalekan Jeyifous
Brooklyn Animal Care Center
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects
Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous enlivens the new Brooklyn Animal Care Center in East New York with vivid moments that reference the playful relationship between pets and their owners. Integrated throughout the exterior and interior, the artwork is designed to boost the presence of the BACC and draw visitors into the site.
Along with an interior renovation that will return this 1914 Carnegie Library to its former beauty, the addition was designed as a minimal intervention that respects the historic structure while providing flexible generous, safe and inclusive space for residents and patrons of all ages, abilities and backgrounds
This project updates and enhances a critical component of the plant’s wastewater resource recovery process with a design that draws from the material, texture, and color palette of the facility’s existing architecture, which ranges from WPA-era to contemporary, in order to establish a fresh yet contextual design.
Monsignor Kett Playground Reconstruction
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation
In the spirit of NYC’s Parks Without Borders initiative, the design establishes a grand welcoming entrance while incorporating flood resilient materials and increased permeability to address climate change. Diverse areas for activities ensure the park will continue to be a crucial and lively gathering space for the local community.
Michaelis-Bayswater Park Reconstruction
Far Rockaway, Queens
A project of the Department of Parks & Recreation
This complete reconstruction of the 30-acre park will protect the site from future flood damage caused by predicted climate change with a resiliency strategy that was informed by research and field studies. The design was informed by direct engagement with local user groups who helped identify the recreational needs of the community.
Curiouser by Mark Reigelman II
Charleston Branch Library
A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, the Economic Development Corp. and the New York Public Library
Mark Reigelman II
Installed throughout the library for guests to discover, Curiouser is a collection of intimate and charming bronze sculptures that encourage a curiosity about literature and the history of Staten Island. These cast sculptures, like books, become portals to other possible worlds to explore and inhabit.
Special Recognition Awards
Hunters Point South Waterfront Park and Streetscape
A project of the Economic Development Corp., the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Parks & Recreation
Serving an ambitious adjacent affordable housing development with more than 5,000 units, Hunters Point South is envisioned as an international model of urban ecology and innovative sustainable design.
The Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, for its dedication to quality and equity in the City’s public art collection