The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has announced Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Urban Design and Planning Partner Philip J. Enquist, FAIA, as the recipient of the inaugural SAH Award for Excellence in Design, Planning and Sustainability. The recognition honors Enquist’s leadership on the Vision for the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Region, a pro-bono initiative that sets forth a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River watershed. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin is one of 263 watersheds that spans national boundaries and Enquist believes that planning must address the basin comprehensively.
“It’s humbling that the SAH is honoring us for this future-oriented project,” Enquist says. “We have a responsibility to be stewards of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin, which represents 20 percent of the planet’s fresh surface water. We must design our cities and region to eliminate waste, relying on innovative and sustainable strategies. We can and must ensure fresh water for all future generations.”
Upon finishing their second film, Waterline: Chicago’s Urban River Corridor, Adam Gross from Spirit Of Space shared with us the third and final film of the series on the Phil Enquist Harvard Studio. As a walk through the students’ final designs, 12 DESIGNERS, 12 VISIONS presents the culmination of an intense research-based design project for this eclectic group of students.
In this studio, the students of the GSD have embraced and maximized the latent potential of the South Branch with inventive and resourceful urban proposals in which existing vacancies are transformed into fresh, vibrant urban conditions. Highlighting each individual’s visionary plan for the South Branch of the Chicago River, this film captures the students’ carefully-crafted presentations and the insightful comments of the guests invited to the final critique.
Illustrating both the energy and power found in the academic design studio, the film demonstrates why it is essential to document, distribute, and preserve the inspiring ideas that are generated through the imaginative realism inherent to the design education. Provocative ideas spark meaningful conversation, and this short film encourages the scholarly discourse to continue well beyond the final critique.