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VOL. 132 | NO. 73 | Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Big River Crossing Wins American Architecture Award

By Bill Dries

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The Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge has been honored with an American Architecture Award, the nation’s highest public award for new architecture.

(Submitted)

Presented by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies, the juried award singled out the bridge’s night lighting by Philips Lighting Inc. for its basic task of ensuring visibility on the walkway while also decorating the bridge in different ways to coincide with local and national events, holidays and civic causes.

The jury praised the “dynamic algorithm that makes light move naturally along the bridge as a translation of the behaviors of the Mississippi River.”

The Philips lighting team that worked on the bridge will be honored at an April 27 gala hosted by the Orlando Museum of Art.

The lighting was funded by a group of private, anonymous donors.

The crossing was one of 79 award recipients chosen from a list of 300 structures ranging from skyscrapers and corporate headquarters to airports, parks and landscape architecture.

The candidates were judged on the merits of their design and how they operate within “problems of the environment, social context, technical and constructive solutions, the responsible use of energies, restoration and adaptive- reuse, and the sensitive use of materials and ecology.”

“The winning projects are each stunning and provocative new additions to their urban and rural locations – authentic connections to nature and to the very cultures in which they coexist,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, president of the Chicago Athenaeum. “The selected projects have a positive psychological effect on the communities in which they are built and in which they serve – every detail looks handcrafted; every facade contextualized; every plan, diagram and section particularly and exquisitely well-executed.”

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