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BusinessWeek and Architectural Record Announce 2008 Awards

September 17, 2008

By Anya Kaplan-Seem

BusinessWeek and Architectural Record magazines have announced the winners of their 11th annual "Good Design is Good Business" international competition. This awards program honors innovative architecture that demonstrates exemplary design, while helping clients achieve their business goals. Six projects from around the globe received the 2008 award:

Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland, designed by Bucholz McEvoy Architects Limited

Photo © Michael Moran

Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland, designed by Bucholz McEvoy Architects Limited.

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Sidney Harman Hall, Washington D.C., designed by Diamond and Schmitt

Edmunds.com, Santa Monica, California, designed by STUDIOS Architecture

Alley24, Seattle, Washington, designed by NBBJ Architects

One Haworth Center, Holland, Michigan, designed by Ralph Johnson at Perkins + Will Architects

Poly International Plaza, Guangzhou, China, designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill

Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland, designed by Bucholz McEvoy Architects Limited

Recipients of the award will be honored at a dinner in New York City on October 7th. The projects will be featured in the print and online editions of both BusinessWeek and Architectural Record.

"This award is not about pretty edifices or architectural flourishes," says Helen Walters, innovation and design editor for BusinessWeek.com, “though as it happens there are plenty of those, too.” Rather, the award focuses on the capacity of design to improve business. In assessing submissions, the competition’s six-member jury therefore applied rigorous standards that placed particular emphasis on metrics. The jury considered each project's impact not only on its immediate client but also on the wider community it serves, and looked for such measurable successes as high building occupancy, increased productivity, and invigorated corporate identity.

“One of the things the jury struggled with this year,” says Clifford A. Pearson, deputy editor of RECORD and jury member, “was that there were many good designs but there weren’t many metrics to support the argument that ‘good design is good business.’” From among 90 applicants, the jury selected only six winners in part because many high-quality projects lacked the data to make sufficiently strong business cases.

In Pearson’s opinion, the competition’s emphasis on metrics challenges architects to “learn to show the value of what they do." He notes that it is especially important in the current economic climate for architects to be able to prove to their clients that, rather than draining resources, design can actually improve a business’s sustainability. The “Good Design is Good Business” competition provides architects an opportunity to hone that skill, and honors projects that exemplify architecture's potential to benefit clients and communities worldwide.

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