Elevating Our Environment: Cincinnati Design Awards recognizes 17 outstanding projects

Five local design organizations joined forces Nov. 14 at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati to honor the best architecture, interior design, graphic design and landscape architecture projects created by Cincinnati-area firms at the 18th annual Cincinnati Design Awards.

Out of 73 entries, all on view during the evening, 11 local firms and 17 projects were recognized by the jury with awards. Formerly held at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza’s Hall of Mirrors, this year the event moved to the CAC, drawing 255 attendees. Guests had a chance to view exhibits plus hear about the CAC’s history and new initiatives from event host Raphaela Platow, The Alice & Harris Weston Director at the CAC.

“The CDA committee feels great about how the awards program came together in the new venue at the Contemporary Arts Center,” says Jeffrey A. Sackenheim, Vice President of SHP Leading Design and Co-Chair of the awards. “We were extremely excited to bring our event, guests and visiting jurors down to street level to help further activate a busy corner on a Friday night. Our event is rooted in promoting the phenomenal design coming out of our region, and we were looking for a more active and visible presence.”
Sponsoring organizations included local chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Society of Experiential Graphic Design, International Interior Design Association, American Society of Interior Designers and American Institute of Architects.
The following awards were presented at the event:
American Society of Landscape Architects
Built Work Merit: MSA Architects for Uptown Transit District
Un-Built Work Merit: The Kleingers Group for UC Green Demonstration Project
Un-Built Work Honor: University of Cincinnati for Vacant Lots: Occupied
Society of Experiential Graphic Design
Single Sign Merit: Kolar Design for Contemporary Arts Center
Built Work Honorable Mention: Kolar Design for Cincinnati Children’s Visitor’s Garage
Built Work Merit: Kolar Design for Cincinnati Children’s Donor Recognition Wall
Built Work Honor: Kolar Design for Cincinnati Children’s Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute Clinics
International Interior Design Association and American Society of Interior Designers
Built Work Honorable Mention: FRCH Design Worldwide for Siman Department Store
Built Work Merit: GBBN Architects for NKU Norse Commons
Built Work Honor: SHP Leading Design for Dayton Regional STEM School
American Institute of Architects
Architectural Advancement Merit: KZF Design for DAAP Façade Repair and Renovation
Small Projects Honorable Mention: the drawing department for Company on Eastern
Small Projects Honorable Mention: James Stapleton for J’ardin d’Amis
Small Projects Merit: Michael Mcinturf architects for Cincinnati Country Day Lower School Entryway & Commons
Small Projects Honor: the drawing department for A Mid-Century Remodel
Built Work Honorable Mention: Hixson, Inc. for Bloomingdale’s Glendale Galleria
Built Work Honorable Mention: Architects Plus for Bishop Carneal House Restoration
The multidisciplinary nature of the awards is unique within the design community. “We want to keep the notion of good design and the strength of the local design community at the front of every conversation, regardless of project type and whether it's public or private, big or small, traditional or contemporary,” Sachenheim says. “The 17 awards that were presented by our panel of visiting jurors reflect that belief as they included preservation and restoration projects, as well as extremely contemporary design solutions.”
Reviewed in a blind jury format by a diverse panel of design professionals from around the country, the projects varied in scale and stretched from Over-the-Rhine to El Salvador—and lots of places in between.  
Jurors included Meg Calkins, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University; Justin Molloy, Director of Education and Professional Development at the Society of Experiential Graphic Design in Washington, D.C.; Matthew Kreilich, Principal at Snow Kreilich Architects in Minneapolis; Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, Senior Associate at MSR Design in Minneapolis; and Elizabeth T. Olson, Vice President-Design Brand Expressions & Inspiration at Procter & Gamble.
The organizations also teamed up to award a scholarship to the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative, a nonprofit on a mission to create a robust STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) pipeline of talent to meet the accelerating demand for STEM jobs in our region.
“The energy in the CAC that evening was palpable, unlike anything we've had in the last few years,” Sackenheim says. “We all look forward to continuing to grow and evolve this program and celebrate its mission as we move closer to our 20th year.”
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Sarah Whitman is a freelance writer/editor with an emphasis on design and creativity. She served as Managing Editor of Soapbox Media from 2012 to 2014.