Seven Projects Honored with Inaugural Active Design Award

Seven Projects Honored with Inaugural Active Design Award
Gammel Hellerup High School Gymnasium and Multipurpose Hall / BIG © Jens Lindhe

To promote the role that architecture and design plays in addressing ongoing obesity and chronic disease issues around the world, the Center for Active Design launched their first ever design excellence awards. Seven projects have been selected to recieve the inaugural prize for their ability to encourage physical activity and active use of space. Check out each of the award winning designs, after the break...

Leadership in Active Design, Excellence Award: Blue Sea Development Company 

Blue Sea Development Company has been instrumental in establishing the Active Design: Affordable Design for Affordable Housing, a publication distributed by the Center for Active Design. Their low-income South Bronx housing project, "Arbor House" is just one of the company's many projects in which exemplifies their commitment to implementing Active Design. Aside from utilizing all of the the applicable Active Design strategies, Blue Sea integrated a 10,000 square foot hydroponic farm onto the buildings rooftop in an attempt to combat the area's lack of access to healthy food.

Excellence Award: Buckingham County Elementary School; Dillwyn, Virginia / VMDO Architects

Focusing on improving local access to fresh food, parks and paths to play, VMDO Architects' Buckingham County Elementary School in Dillwyn, Virginia sought to develop spaces that will shape the way today's youth thinks about physical activity. A teaching kitchen and food lab lounge are interactive environments that educate children whilst the grab-n-go farm adjacent to play areas allows kids to snack straight from the plant. 

Buckingham County Elementary School / VMDO Architects © Alan Karchmer

Excellence Award: Sephardic Community Center; Brooklyn, New York / BKSK Architects

The renovation and expansion of the Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn, New York aimed to connect the multi-generational users of the 30-year-old facility. The project includes a gym, fitness center, racquetball courts and an Olympic sized swimming pool, all of which are connected through natural light filled voids, an oversized central stairwell, and visible opportunities to rest and socialize. One of the more dramatic elements of the project includes a glass wall that displays 400 images of family members who have immigrated to the US from Syria and the Middle East.

Sephardic Community Center / BKSK Architects © Jeffrey Totaro

Excellence Award: Blue Hole Regional Park; Wimberley, Texas / Design Workshop Inc.

A design team led by Design Workshop Inc. has balanced Wimberley's residents desire to restore the damaged eco-system of Blue Hole whilst simultaneously developing an active space for visitors to use. The park promotes physical activity through its soccer fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, camping sites, swimming areas and almost five miles of recreational trails. The design preserves over 70% of the areas tree coverage, providing shade and minimizing environemtal degradation. The regional park is the largest SITES certified project in the US. 

Blue Hole Regional Park / Design Workshop Inc. © Design Workshop Inc.

Excellence Award: Greenbridge Master Plan; King County, Washington / GGLO

GGLO's revitalization of an existing housing project in King County has transformed the low-income neighborhood into a vibrant mixed-use community. Focusing on connectivity, open space diversity, adjacent uses and placemaking, pedestrian routes are designed to encourage residents of all abilities to walk rather than drive. Commissioned artworks are scattered throughout the project, activating recreational and open spaces and providing nodes for community gatherings.

Greenbridge Master Plan / GGLO © Steve Keating Photography

Honorable Mention: Gammel Hellerup High School Gymnasium + Mulitpurpose Hall; Hellerup, Denmark / BIG

Addressing Gammel Hellerup High School's need for a new dedicated physical activity and social space whislt maintaining sight lines and connectivity throughout the site, BIG's Gymnasium and Multipurpose Hall sits sixteen feet below ground. The innovation of the project is the molehill peak roof that acts as an accessible, dynamic space for informal school gatherings and events. Additonally, the removal of a preexisting barrier between the school and the neighbouring community has enabled the school to host community events.

Gammel Hellerup High School Gymnasium and Multipurpose Hall / BIG © Jens Lindhe. Image © Jens Lindhe

Honorable Mention:Gensler Newport Beach; Newport Beach, California / Gensler

Realizing its own "Healthy Workplace Initiative," Gensler has encouraged greater employee movement through its Newport Beach office space in California. Scooters, bikes and skateboards are now often used for inter-office travel. Less dramatic alterations like removing trash bins from individual desks to a central location and emphasising the importance of collaboration through an open office plan have all encouraged employees to move away from their desks more frequently.

Gensler Newport Beach / Gensler © Nick Merrick, Hedrich Blessing Photography

The 2014 Jury: 

  • David Burney, FAIA, Center for Active Design
  • Christine Johnson Curtis, MBA, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • William Menking, The Architect's Newspaper
  • Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

News via Center for Active Design

About this author
Cite: Stephen Stanley. "Seven Projects Honored with Inaugural Active Design Award" 03 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.