The project that got the award was entitled “Village Retro: Strategy for Sustainability/Ecology/Stormwater”. It’s a long name but a very simple concept. Since 2016, my studio has worked with local organizations to implement projects that improve the environment both on a small scale and, when combined, have a much larger impact.
The way we described it with our submission was that the project:
is not a single project, but a collection of projects that invest, innovate and create sustainable places throughout South Orange, NJ. Each project contributes to a holistic vision where sustainability, ecology and stormwater are addressed holistically. Moreover, Village Retro brings people together to form a community around and for the spaces produced through volunteerism and green living. Green design has established itself as the premiere method of architecture. All of the projects highlighted in Village Retro are completed in the spirit of ushering green design into new arenas of the human and urban landscape. For example, only sustainable materials are used, micro-ecosystems support a rich variety of species, habitat is restoration, placemaking replaces hardscaping and the highest standards for design quality are upheld. But these things are one piece of the pie.
Our vision is to foster a community-based approach that is about people because where we live and work is important. Important places need to be treated with importance. For South Orange, every corner of the village is significant because of its size, and because of the development that is rapidly changing its character. Citizenry + beautiful spaces + sustainability is the formula we use to face the challenges of climate change and urbanization while investing in people and the environment.
The message of Village Retro is that all projects (regardless of size, scale or budget) can be practical and inspirational, but only when ecology, sustainability and design quality reflect one ultimate principle - everyone deserves a place to enjoy nature.
Other winners included TD Bank for their Princeton Store, Princeton University for new graduate apartments and the City of Hoboken for its resiliency park. All of the winners and info can be found here.