Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)
This year threw up a particularly impressive crop of winners, according to Anthony Bruzzone, President of BDA, who said that two years ago, with the recession having put the kibosh on many construction projects, the group was concerned it might have no buildings to consider at all in 2013.
“But then, last year, things got better,” he wrote in the awards brochure. “A few small projects here, a few deep-pocketed individuals there, and of course the university projects were in full swing… Not a moment too soon… This year’s Awards feature some of the most creative and inspired designs that BDA has ever acknowledged.”
The BDA awards make a point of honoring the whole team behind a new project or renovation. So owners, builder/contractors, engineers, landscape designers and interior designers are recognized, as well as the architects.
The BDA judges this year were: John Caner, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Association, architect Philip Henry, Cal’s Emily Marthinsen (who recused herself for UC Berkeley projects), Dan Gregory, editor in chief at Houseplans.com, and architect Anne Torney.
Other than the biennial awards, BDA also works on ad-hoc projects when it feels its members’ expertise can be helpful to the community. Most recently it organized a charrette to solicit ideas for the revitalization of Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.
Speaking after the awards ceremony last week, local architect David Trachtenberg, whose firm was honored for two projects, said: “It’s great to work in Berkeley because the city has so many wonderful people and unusual projects. We get to expand on people’s personal passions and there’s a real entrepreneurial spirit here.”