Of the 79 firms that won American Architecture Awards this year, eight hail from the Pacific Northwest. The American Architecture Awards are juried by a team of Greek architects from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. This year’s program honors new (2015-2017) residential architecture, interiors and urban planning as well as corporate, institutional and commercial buildings designed for both built and unbuilt projects alike.

“This comprehensive and even-handed overview of new American Architecture for 2017 allows you to witness the enormous diversity in the American practice of architecture today,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President of The Chicago Athenaeum in a press release. “This year’s selection by the Greek jury was more interested in discussions concerning the problems of the environment, social context, technical and constructive solutions, the responsible use of energies, restoration and adaptive reuse, and the sensitive use of materials and ecology.”

Take a look at a few of our Northwest winners:

Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters in Yakima by Graham Baba Architects


Photo: American Architecture Awards

Washington Fruit is a family owned and operated company located on volcanic soil in Yakima Valley. The owners wanted a new office headquarters that was light-filled and constructed of warm materials. The lunchroom includes a kitchen and table for 30, providing a gathering space for weekly meals when field staff come in from the orchards. The idea is to encourage the people who grow the fruit to mingle with those who sell it.

Graham Baba Architects used an abandoned wood barn as its single design reference. As the designers described, “It is imagined as a barn in some state of decay and nature in the process of reclamation. Parts of the simple gable form have been ‘removed’ or lost. In those places glass is exposed and trees and grass are taking over. The structure is ‘exposed’ and expressed as diagonals. Accordingly, columns are sloped and twisted. The outer shell is clad in reclaimed barn wood from nearby sources.”

Charles Smith Wines Jet City by Olson Kundig

Charles Smith Wines-compressed

Photo: American Architecture Awards

The industrial-looking 1960s era building was originally designed to house a Dr. Pepper bottling plant and later a recycling center. According to Olson Kundig, “The winery’s second story celebrates Seattle’s aviation history and effectively captures an early 1960s aviation vibe with its original wood floor planks and white tuck-and-roll upholstered perimeter seating; a large Lucite tasting bar on wheels sits center stage with a base painted in 1961 Ford Fairlane blue.” Charles Smith Wines is a treasure of the Georgetown neighborhood and offers wine lovers an opportunity to witness firsthand how grapes are crushed and wine is aged.

University of Washington light rail station in Seattle by LMN Architects

UW Light Rail-compressed

Photo: American Architecture Awards

Commissioned by Sound Transit, LMN Architects worked with artist Leo Saul Berk to create a light rail station that expresses the “geological layers of soil surrounding the station walls.” The project is incredibly convenient for bikers, drivers and pedestrians, and includes a train platform 100 feet underground, accessed via escalators and elevators from a two-level glass entrance structure. As BuzzBuzzNews reported last year, the expanding light rail system might change Seattle forever and LMN will have had a hand in that process.

Minor + Stewart, an unbuilt project by WATG Urban Seattle

Steward + Minor-compressed

Photo: American Architecture Awards

If completed, Minor + Stewart would become two twisting 440-foot-tall towers with roughly 400 residential units set atop a mixed-use podium containing retail, co-working, residential and shared amenity spaces.

Hanna Andersson Headquarters in Portland by ZGF Architects

Hanna Andersson-compressed

Photo: American Architecture Awards

Hanna Andersson is a Swedish-inspired children’s clothing company that opened in Portland, Oregon in 1983. The company sought the services of ZGF Architects to expand their headquarters. The finished structure includes conferencing space for 175 employees across 12 departments—“from design and retail merchandising to marketing and human resources—in a totally open office environment with a resource library, customer service center, bistro, catering kitchen and adjacent event space, and a variety of informal gathering spaces interspersed throughout the facility.” The new headquarters’ design is in keeping with the company’s Scandinavian roots, emphasizing simple, clean lines, natural woods, concrete and plenty of daylight.

Congratulations winners!

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