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Municipal Art Society, GVA Williams present design awards.

The Municipal Art Society and GVA Williams last week honored four New York City projects for their excellence in urban design.

The first-ever MASterworks Awards were given during a May 22 reception at the MAS Urban Center. Projects receiving awards were the Metropolitan Transit Authority Arts for Transit Union Square Project for best new public art award, the South Bronx Classic Community Center at Melrose Houses for best new building, the American Airlines Theatre for best commercial restoration and the Hudson River Park for best urban design or planning concept.

"We want to bring people's attention to what makes New York a great city," said Vanessa Gruen, director of special projects for the Municipal Art Society. "We want to encourage new and exciting architecture, restoration projects and public art."

Nominations for the awards were solicited by the society from architects, planners, civic leaders and the Real Estate Board of New York with the winners selected by a jury of experts in the architecture, planning and other disciplines. The jury consisted of Tom Finkelpearl, curator at P.S. 1; Brenda Levin, former planner commissioner; Laurie Beckelman, former chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission; Jerome Cohen, chairman of GVA Williams; Raymond Gastil, executive director of the Van Alen Institute; and Frank Sanchis III, executive director of the Municipal Art Society.

"We are especially pleased with the MASterworks Awards because they reflect the society's broad focus on advocacy for excellence in the built environment," Sanchis said.

The artist for the MTA Arts for Transit Union Square Project was Mary Miss in collaboration with Lee Harris Pomeroy.

"Inspired by the architectural, structural and ornamental elements of the old stations, the pair created a network of frames, windows, apertures and mirrors that triggers the viewer's curiosity about the past and encourages them to appreciate the station's spatial dimensions and design," states a society description of the project.

The South Bronx Classic Community Center at Melrose Houses was designed by Gandelsonas Architects and landscape architects Balmori Associates. The design conveys a sense of openness and accessibility and has become a point of identification for the community. "It's a striking project but most people don't know about it because it's in the Bronx," Gruen said.

The $21 million American Airlines Theatre project was designed by Karlsberger Architecture P.C. and Building Conservation Associates, Inc. Existing details of the theater, formerly known as the Selwyn Theatre, were restored and damaged murals and stone finishes repaired. The Hudson River Park Trust and Quennelli Rothschild & Partners L.L.P designed the Hudson River Park project, which stretches from Battery Park City to 59th Street.

"Participating in the MASterworks Awards has given me an enormous amount of respect and a great appreciation for New York's creative community contributing to our city's artistic wealth and enabling us to have a variety of magnificently designed changes, upgrades and new installations," Cohen said.
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Title Annotation:urban architectural achievements, New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 30, 2001
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