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Christner Honored with Local Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) St. Louis Chapter celebrated excellence in the built environment with its Design Awards celebration held on September 22 at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Through a juried process, projects in various categories were recognized for outstanding qualities in design and craftsmanship.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Expansion received a citation award for architecture.  A merit award for craftsmanship was also presented to local craftsmen from McCarthy Building Companies for exemplary woodwork installation. “Science and the prairie are combined in this carefully considered building and site plan," said jury members. This lab expansion supports 100 new scientists with lab, office, conference and communal spaces. The new facilities enable world class research in plant biology, bio energy and sustainable agriculture. The interior features a custom assemblage of bamboo paneling with aluminum trim, requiring precise coordination and attention to detail. The expansion borrows the architectural "genes" of the existing center and reconfigures them in a distinct and beautifully crafted design.

The Climate Corporation received a merit award in the Interiors category. Jurors commented, "In this office space for 150 employees, every person has a view to the outdoors. Daylight suffuses the office workspace and accentuates color and texture." All in all, the new work environment perfectly expresses the company's ethos of openness, collaboration and constant enterprise. 

Honored with a citation award for architecture, the Edward Jones Parking Garage and Pedestrian Bridge in Maryland Heights is a 3-bay parking structure is open-air and houses approximately 700 cars on 4 levels. The pedestrian bridge links to the newly renovated 201 Progress Parkway office building and features a coffee bar and informal meeting space. Special attention was placed on the exterior design of the garage, as it serves as a portal to the Edward Jones corporate campus. Architecturally, the garage appearance is intended to change over time. Depending on a person's point of view and the sun angle, the garage will open and close in transparency. 

The St. Louis County Library Grant’s View Branch received a merit award in the interiors category. The award jury commented, “The architects created a transparent and welcoming interior that may evoke many great thoughts.” Visitors appreciate this openness, and the second floor reading room with views of Grant’s Farm is a
favorite spot for library regulars. Since opening in December of 2015, the library has seen a 75% increase in visits and a 49% increase in circulation compared to the branch it replaced – a great sign that this neighborhood public library is poised to serve the community and develop new readers well into the future.   

Winning a merit award for unbuilt projects is the conceptual design for a Biological Field Station at Knox College. Located in west-central Illinois, the field station is situated on 700 acres of old-growth and new-growth forest, restored tall grass prairie, abandoned strip mine spoils, and a lake formed from the abandoned strip mine pit. It is a place for students to live, study, and play in nature during a 10-week term. The project is designed to be a Living Building. It will produce more electricity than it uses and it will harvest more rain water than it uses, to give back more to the earth than it takes. The jury chair commented that our renderings of the project are “fetching.”

​Another Christner project, Shriners Hospitals for Children - St. Louis was also recognized at the awards ceremony. Local tradesmen from IWR Building Systems accepted the award for the exterior metal panel fabrication. The building envelope, consisting of 3,600 rotated square aluminum composite material (ACM) panels, demonstrates a highly coordinated and complex geometry. The panels were installed on rounded edges, flat services, and folded at sharp corners of the building. The finished installation demonstrates local craftsmanship at its best.