Chicago, Illinois – The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd., announce sixty-four (64) new distinguished buildings, interiors, urban planning projects, and landscape architecture selected this year in the Museum's prestigious "American Architecture Awards®" program for 2009.

Established in the 1990s, the awards program honors and celebrates the most outstanding new achievements and innovation for new architecture designed and built in the United States by leading American and international architecture firms practicing in the USA.

"The American Architecture Awards" have become the foremost, prestigious awards program for public recognition for Excellence in Architecture in the United States both nationally and internationally. The Awards identify new cutting-edge design direction, urban philosophy, design approach, style, and intellectual substance in American Architecture today.

The Chicago Athenaeum, founded in the historic city where modern architecture was first realized by Louis H. Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe, is the only Museum of Architecture and Design in the United States and functions internationally as one of the foremost world museums dedicated to both architecture and industrial design.

For "The American Architecture Awards" 2009, the Museum received hundreds of submissions by the best and most renowned design firms in the United States and international firms working in the U.S.

The submissions ranged from new corporate headquarters, skyscrapers, institutions, sports and transportation facilities, airports, urban planning projects, retail stores, hospitals, sacred spaces, and private residences and multi-family housing designed by American architects at home or abroad for both built and unbuilt projects alike, as of January 1, 2007.

The Awards Program is also open to all international architecture offices and U.S. firms with projects inside and outside the United States, as well as international architecture firms building in the U.S.

This year's jury for awards took place in Stuttgart, Germany with the participation of noted German architecture and design practitioners serving as jury members including:

  • David H. Cook, Chairman of the Jury and Partner, Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Uwe F. Bruckner, Atelier Bruckner GmbH., Stuttgart, Germany
  • Marcus Fischer, Head of Corporate Design, FESTO AG., Esslingen, Germany
  • Karim Antonine Habib, Senior Manager Advanced Design Germany, Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, Daimler AG., Sindelfingen, Germany
  • Dieter Hermann, Hermann + Bosch Freie Architekten BDA, Stuttgart, Germany

"The American Architecture Awards" is curated and organized by Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine, Director/President, The Chicago Athenaeum and assisted by Lary L. Sommers, Director of Administration/ Marketing, The Chicago Athenaeum, and Kieran Conlon, Director/COO, The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies, Dublin.

Sixty-four (64) buildings and urban planning projects in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Additionally, the jury selected a bridge and corporate office tower in Dubai; a university in Angola; a museum in Mexico; an airport in Ireland; an urban planning project in Toronto and a house in rural Canada; a new city in Fosham, China; a corporate headquarters in Switzerland; and a pavilion in Taipei, Taiwan.

Projects selected include new skyscapers, corporate headquarters, schools and universities, government buildings, memorials, libraries, art museums, foundation headquarters, transit projects, retail facilities, religious structures, residences, and single-family homes.

All awarded projects can be found on-line at The Chicago Athenaeum's website at www.chi-athenaeum.org.

"We had the great opportunity to award the best choice of submission's to this year's annual American Architecture Awards," states Markus Fischer, Head of Corporate Design, FESTO AG. "I was keenly impressed by the quality and creativity of today's architecture in the United States. We saw amazing architecture especially by young, emerging American architects. The wide range of projects from designs for interiors to skyscrapers and from urban planning projects to fine exhibition concepts were incredible."

"I was surprised by the variety of styles in American Architecture today," adds Karim Habib, Senior Manager Advanced Design Germany, Mercedez-Benz Cars Development, Daimler AG. "It is clear," he continues, "that through this variety there does not seem to be one principal or dominating school of thought. The large amounts of private houses might explain a rather small amount of what might be called "experimental architecture" today. Most important, I was astonished to see very little architecture that was simply out there to impress."

"The enormous diversity in American Architecture," states Dieter Herrmann, Herrmann + Bosch Architekten, "and the high level of architectural quality was a revelation. To find the best in what was submitted, the jury was more interested in discussions concerning the problems of the environment, social context, technical and constructive solutions, the reponsible use of energies, and the sensitive use of materials. In the end, there were many interesting examples in what was submitted and finally awarded."

"Most interesting was the fresh approach by the younger generation of American architects and the emerging new architecture firms in the U.S.," Mr. Herrmann continued.

"I think it is a fantastic idea to judge so many projects and to give so many awards," states Mr. Habib. "I am always in awe of the ability of the architect to change the user's environment and the perception of the world around him."

"I think it is a fantastic idea to judge so many projects and to give so many awards," states Mr. Habib. "I am always in awe of the ability of the architect to change the user's environment and the perception of the world around him."

"American Architecture is getting greener, more sustainable, innovative and diverse," concludes Mr. Fischer.

"The housing projects in New Orleans were amazing," he added. "They combine a higher quality of living standard with the demand for affordable costs in an innovative way. This seems to be an important characteristic for living in urban surrounds in the future.

The awarded projects for 2009 forms an exhibition, "New American Architecture" to open at Contemporary Space Athens (46-48 Megalou Vassiliou, Rouf-Athens, Greece) in February, 2010. After Greece, the exhibition will start a national tour in the United States.

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