New York is not always known for its architecture—it has some great buildings, but just as many unremarkable and out-right terrible ones. One sector where this has not been the case, at least for some time, is public architecture.
Starting first with the Awards for Design Excellence, in recognition of the best public works, and then the Design Excellence Program, which hires a stable of young, creative architects to undertake city projects, the city has built an impressive track record in commissioning smart, egalitarian designs for its buildings.
On Tuesday night, the Design Excellence Awards celebrated their 30th year, and a coterie of architects, planners and city officials descended on 8 Spruce Street, home to Frank Gehry’s celebrated apartment tower as well as a very nice public school beneath. Mayor Bloomberg was there to congratulate everyone on their good work over the past years and decades.
“These awards are our city’s celebration of the best and brightest examples of public design,” the mayor said. “We are committed to making first-rate design a priority in every project in all five boroughs. That allows our public projects to both improve the quality of life for New Yorkers and exists as sources of pride for our city.”
From Governors Island to a bridge—not that bridge!—in Brooklyn to a library in Queens, it is an impressive assortment of lovely buildings.