The 2023 Excellence in Design Awards Program was just peachy! We thank AIA Savannah for jurying our awards this year.
The ceremony was hosted at Baltimore Design School, our 2014 Grand Design Award Winner by architecture firm Ziger|Snead. The building was previously a factory, repurposed to become Baltimore Design School in 2013. Just before the ceremony this year, Steve Ziger joined Baltimore Design School students to lead a tour of the facility.
First to announce their awards was Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF). This year’s award categories included the Roger D. Redden Award, the Golden Griffin Award, People’s Choice Award, Undergraduate Student Design Award + Scholarship, and the Graduate Student Design Award + Scholarship.
Roger D. Redden Award
Mark Sissman, Healthy Neighborhoods
Mark Sissman’s storied career began at the Enterprise Foundation, where his team was able to elevate the company to become the nation’s foremost syndicator of low-income housing tax credits. He has also served as CEO of the Hippodrome Foundation, the local partner for the redevelopment of the abandoned Hippodrome Theater, and a recent development of the Ambassador Theatre in Howard Park.
But one could argue that his more influential role was that of President of Healthy Neighborhoods, a Baltimore community development intermediary that leverages federal money with private financing and foundations in an effort to improve neighborhoods by increasing values, rehabilitating homes and marketing neighborhood assets.
In 2010, Healthy Neighborhoods won a national competition to buy and renovate vacant and foreclosed houses that threatened stability and diminished home values in seven communities. With NSP2 grant money, Healthy Neighborhoods leveraged federal dollars with $19 million in private financing, turning a $26 million government grant into a $45 million neighborhood investment.
“The project remains a pinnacle example of equitable deployment of public/private funding,” Sarsfield Williams, BAF Board Member, said. “It was a great honor to work alongside Mark Sissman’s team at Healthy Neighborhoods in partnership with Southway Builders and C.L. McCoy Framing to revitalize homes in Baltimore’s historically underserved communities.”
Between the NSP2 and the Healthy Neighborhoods loan program, his organization has touched over 1000 homes in Baltimore City.
Golden Griffin Award
We are all here to make Baltimore better, but no one embodies it quite like Civic Works. Exemplifying the ideas of building Baltimore, Civic Works creates job-training based around sustainable construction, equity, healthy communities, and works with youth across the city to teach real-world building skills.
You may recognize them as one of the core organizations tediously restoring beautify to the Clifton Mansion. Other programs include YouthBuild and Baltimore Conservation Leadership Corps. Civic Works’ skill development programs have assisted more than 58,000 students through tutoring and mentorship programs.
Through its farming and land conservation programs, Civic Works has grown or distributed over 200,000 pounds of fresh produce to local communities, planted over 25,000 trees, and converted nearly 300 vacant lots into community green spaces. With its multi-pronged approach, Civic Works is bringing environmental, economic and social change to the most underserved communities in Baltimore.
People’s Choice Award
Lexington Market, BCT Design Group
Lexington Market has become home to numerous market sheds since 1783, making it one of the longest running public markets in America. Approximately 50,000 square feet, the new market building facade is inspired by the large metal roof of the 1803 market and the interior receives extensive daylight through the use of windows in a clerestory configuration. Constructing a new building allowed the tenants of the existing market building to remain in operation which was key to their continued success. Lexington Market is now poised to be a great catalyst for the surrounding neighborhoods and has set a standard for diversity, equity, and inclusion which will continue to drive it’s success.
Out of nearly 2,000 votes for a People’s Choice winner this year, the new Lexington Market by BCT Design Group came out on top.
FAR Scholarship Awards
Undergraduate Student Design Award + Scholarship
“The Quoin Urban Development Project” by Shannon Sinnicki, University of Maryland
This project excelled at communicating her concept of the building as the cornerstone of her DC neigborhood. Polished graphics and diagrams with integrated text descriptions supported Shannon’s design of not one but two buildings on her site. The mass timber structure and the vegetated exterior are both beautiful and eco-friendly friendly features that drew us in. We recognize the ambition of creating a cohesive vision between the buildings while celebrating the unique programming elements that each provides.
Graduate Student Design Award + Scholarship
“Marketing Anacostia: Creating a Public Heart in Anacostia” by Marcelino Defngin, University of Maryland.
This project displayed Defngin’s highly ambitious balance of urban design and architecture. Marcelino successfully tackled design at all scales, from the rich environment of the Anacostia waterfront to the fine details of his steel structure. He respected the existing context by preserving the adjacent church, connected to the future bridge construction and public transit expansion on site, and promoted social good by placing a new market in a food desert. Altogether a thoughtful exploration of city expansion that welcomes new inhabitants while addressing the needs of the existing ones.