Awards

Great Park Design Studio

Awards

The Design Studio’s designs were recognized by local, state and national architectural, planning, and sustainability trade associations.

American Institute of Architects, National
2009 AIA Honor Award in Regional & Urban Design
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The American Institute of Architects’ honor awards for regional and urban design recognize distinguished achievements involved in the expanding role of the architect in urban design, regional and city planning and community development. Six projects were selected for the 2009 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design. The Great Park was chosen for its focus on mixed-use density and sustainable strategies to renew once-vibrant areas or to make way for new populations and urban development. The project also renews a defunct military base and transform it into a community treasure. http://www.www.aia.org
American Planning Association, National
2009 Innovation in Regional Planning
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American Planning Association (APA) is a nonprofit public interest and research organization committed to urban, suburban, regional and rural planning. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, advance the art and science of planning to meet the needs of people and society. Each year, the APA recognizes the plans, practices, people, and places that further the field of planning and help create communities of lasting value. The Orange County Great Park, serving a population of more than three million people in Orange County, California, is designed around two concepts — transferring sustainable practices at the park beyond the park’s borders and the “three park experiences in one” concept. The park will feature a constructed 2.5-mile canyon, daylighted existing stream, a large lake, a cultural terrace, a great lawn, an aviation museum, a conservatory/botanical garden, and a sports park. The Great Park Plan brings sustainability out “into the open” in order to educate the public and encourage further research. It incorporates principles of sustainable development, including habitat restoration, renewable energy generation, water quality management, and promotion of non-polluting transportation methods. The Great Park Plan also recognizes the site’s recent history as a military airbase and is commemorated with historic museum exhibits, a memorial, and the stories of the men and women who once served there. The park will also create social and transportation connections to the communities throughout the county by knitting together riding, hiking, and multiuse trails from all parts of the region, linking all neighborhoods to the park and communities beyond. http://www.planning.org
American Society of Landscape Architects (National)
2009 National Award for Research
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Dr. Steven Handel, lead ecologist for the Park project, received the American Society of Landscape Architects’ National Award for Research for his research project titled “Restoration Ecology Processes to Advance Natural Landscape Design.” The project was done to assist the Great Park in the utilization of ecological services from restored natural habitats in the park to enhance landscape design.
American Society of Landscape Architects (National)
2009 Honor Award – Observation Balloon Preview Park
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The Design Studio received the Honor Award for its design of the Observation Balloon Preview Park. The Design jury stated, “Truly exceptional. Adopting the graphic language of an airfield in a fresh, contemporary way is absolutely the most dramatic thing that could be done and a brilliant political move.” http://www.asla.org/2009awards/068.html
American Society of Landscape Architects, National
2008 National Honor Award in Analysis & Planning
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The American Society of Landscape Architects has selected the Orange County Great Park Comprehensive Master Plan – titled “A Vision for the Great Park of the 21st Century” – for the 2008 Professional Award of Honor for Analysis and Planning. The award winning master plan is the work of the Great Park Design Studio, which includes landscape architects Ken Smith Workshop West and Mia Lehrer+Associates. The American Society of Landscape Architects jury panel considered over 500 entries and selected 29 projects to receive awards. The 2008 jury panel called the Orange County Great Park Master Plan “Marvelous.” They also referred to it as, “An innovative and sustainable approach to ecology, people and history on an amazing scale. The landscape architect’s graphics are very believable and demonstrate many new ideas. The formal strategies are bold and the designers are using this as a chance to experiment.” http://www.asla.org/
American Institute of Architects, California Council
2008 Honor Award in Urban Planning
The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) is the nation’s largest state architectural organization, representing more than 10,000 architects on issues of statewide importance to the public and profession. Out of 40 projects submitted for the award, the Orange County Great Park Comprehensive Master Plan was selected as one of four to receive the Honor Award in Urban Planning. http://www.aiacc.org
American Planning Association, California Chapter
2008 Focused Issue Planning Award
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The APA California chapter awarded 21 honorees for its 2008 Planning Awards. The annual Planning Awards are APA California’s highest honors, and winners are then allowed to submit their projects to the National APA Planning Awards. The Design Studio received the Awards of Excellence – Focused Issue Planning Award for its work on the Comprehensive Master Plan. A panel of experienced volunteer judges from diverse professional backgrounds and regions of the state reviewed more than 60 award entries submitted by private and public sector planners. The judges evaluated entries based on originality, quality, implementation, public participation and the role of planners, among other category-specific criteria. http://www.calapa.org
American Planning Association, Orange County Chapter
2008 Focused Planning Issue Honor Award
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The focused issued planning award is given for planning documents of unusually high merit completed in the past three years that deal with specific aspects of the planning processes. The Orange County chapter awarded the project first place in the category of ‘Outstanding Planning – Focused Issue Planning.
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American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden
2008 Sustainable Sites Initiative Case Study
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The Orange County Great Park was selected as part of the Sustainable Sites Initiative case study that has created a library of exemplary studies that illustrate sustainable landscape practices at various stages of development. The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.
California Society for Ecological Restoration
2007 SERCAL Members Award
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Dr. Steven Handel and the Orange County Great Park Design Studio received an award for the design team’s ideas to restore the old base’s habitat. The honor is for the submission of a poster titled “Orange County Great Park: A Model for Large-Scale Ecological Restoration in an Urban Setting” that emphasized the restoration and scientific educational opportunities to be created at the Great Park. Conference attendees said that the Orange County Great Park project itself advances the conference’s objectives which include: the science, art and practice of ecological restoration; protecting, restoring and monitoring native habitat; and working with public agencies to improve standards for ecological restoration.

National Praise
National leaders in landscape architecture, architecture and planning have praised the Orange County Great Park Comprehensive Master Plan. “The Master Plan for the Orange County Great Park represents an extraordinary accomplishment. When completed, this project will serve as a model for reclaiming large, damaged, former industrial sites, and restoring them for public use.”
“The Master Plan for the Orange County Great Park represents an extraordinary accomplishment. When completed, this project will serve as a model for reclaiming large, damaged, former industrial sites, and restoring them for public use.”
Niall Kirkwood, Professor and Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture Graduate School of Design Harvard University
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“21st Century principles of sustainability are present in every aspect of the Master Plan for the Orange County Great Park. In addition to creating a great public space with zero net energy goal, the ideas and technologies generated in the park will serve as a living laboratory, raising the bar for sustainable planning and development.”
Frederick Steiner, Dean School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
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“The Comprehensive Master Plan for the Orange County Great Park outlines an astounding vision of a new kind of park. The park plan is innovative, bringing a number of different users and elements to the region as well as becoming a very visible example of sustainability.”
Carol Rehea, Jury Chair, American Planning Association
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“The Orange County Great Park is a perfect example of a public space designed to integrate successfully into the surrounding community. It represents the very best application of modern principles of urban design to the reuse of a decommissioned military base – a visionary place for the 21st Century.”
Dennis Pieprz, President, Sasaki Associates
The Orange County Great Park was named “one of the best Design Projects of 2007.”
Christopher Hawthorne Architecture Critic, Los Angeles Times
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