The American Institute of Architects has announced the winners of the 2009 Honor Awards for Architecture. The nine honorees represent a range of buildings with widely varying budgets, scales, and contexts. According to an AIA press release, “these projects have a tremendous impact on the social and physical fabric of the communities they serve.”
Members of the architecture jury were: Jury Chair David Lake, FAIA, of Lake Flato Architects; Carlton Brown of Full Spectrum; Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA, of Lehrer Architects; James J. Malanaphy, III, AIA, of The 160 Group; Paul Mankins, FAIA, of Substance Architecture Interiors Design; Anna McCorvey, AIAS Director, Northeast Quad; Anne Schopf, FAIA, of Mahlum Architects; Suman Sorg, FAIA, of Sorg and Associates, P.C.; and Denise Thompson, Assoc. AIA, of Francis Cauffman Architects.
Winners will be recognized at the AIA 2009 national convention, scheduled for April in San Francisco.
Architecture Honor Awards 
With AIA commentary
Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore
John G. Waite Associates, Architects PLLC
Restoration of the Basilica of the Assumption (also known as the Baltimore Cathedral), a major architectural landmark and masterpiece of the Federal style, removes a century and a half of obscuring alterations to bring back Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s original concept of luminosity and spatial configuration. The now fully functioning cathedral again serves the people of Baltimore while reclaiming one of America’s most brilliant architectural designs.
Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, California
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
The Cathedral of Christ the Light resonates as a place of worship and conveys an inclusive statement of welcome and openness as the community’s symbolic soul. The glass, wood, and concrete structure ennobles and inspires through the use of light, material, and form.
Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut, Lebanon
The Hostler Center integrates social gathering spaces for students and faculty with sports facilities, a theater, and underground parking. Challenging the idea of a single large-scale building and similarly scaled open plaza, the project instead proposes multiple building volumes interconnected into a continuous space by its gardens and green roofs.
The Gary Comer Youth Center, Chicago
John Ronan Architects
This 74,000-square-foot youth center, located in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, demonstrates a commitment to social progress by providing a constructive environment where area youths may spend their after-school hours. The center provides support for the programs of a 300-member drill team/performance group for children of ages 8 to 18 and space for various youth educational and recreational programs for disadvantaged children.
Horno³: Museo del Acero, Monterey, Mexico
Grimshaw Architects
Horno³: Museo Del Acero comprises a full restoration of a once-derelict 1960s blast furnace. The abandoned furnace structure and cast hall are the centerpiece of the museum, allowing visitors the unique chance to step inside a piece of industrial history.
The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, New Orleans
The challenge was to transform a rigidly compartmentalized and environmentally inefficient building into a dynamic, sustainable new university center. In a resourceful turn, however, the existing concrete structure was retained, saving roughly $8 million in construction costs. The project was successfully completed for $189 per square foot, 14 months after Hurricane Katrina. Many of the sustainable design strategies used (canopies, shutters, balconies, and fans) were adapted from climate-responsive architecture traditional to New Orleans.
The New York Times Building, New York City
Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFowle Architects
The New York Times Building incorporates many overarching themes in good architecture—volume, views, light, respect for context, relationship to the street—with a design that is open and inviting, providing its occupants with a sense of the city around them.
Plaza Apartments, San Francisco
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Located on a prominent corner in a San Francisco redevelopment area, this new mixed-use project provides permanent housing for the chronically homeless as a pilot project of Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Department of Public Health’s “Housing First” program, which is a cornerstone of the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. The sustainably designed 9-story building provides 106 highly efficient studio apartments with on-site mental and physical health services for the residents.
Salt Point House, Salt Point, New York
Thomas Phifer and Partners
Constructed of elegantly efficient and economical materials, this 2,200-square-foot house in New York’s Hudson Valley is located on a meadow with views to a small private lake. The house is carefully sited to take advantage of prevailing summer breezes. Strategically placed operable windows and ventilating skylights allow air to flow through the home.