Montgomery Planning Launches 2019 Design Excellence Awards Competition with Call for Entries from May 22 through July 11

May 7, 2019

design excellence award 2019

Developers, architects and property owners invited to submit top quality, completed designs in Montgomery County; special award will recognize achievements in housing

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, announces the launch of its fourth Design Excellence Awards competition. The Design Excellence Awards, initiated in 2015, are intended to inspire architecture, landscape architecture and urban design of the best possible quality in Montgomery County; increase public awareness of this world-class design excellence; and show how physical design can lead to greater quality of life, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.

This year, Montgomery Planning will honor projects with two Design Excellence Awards. The Design Excellence Award recognizes an exceptional building, an urban design and/or a landscape in Montgomery County that enhances the public realm and promotes a stronger community through design.

A new second award, the Exceptional Housing Award, honors extraordinary residential architecture that exemplifies design excellence and makes lives better for communities and those who live there. This award focuses on multi-family housing, such as apartments, condominiums, townhome developments and other residential types, in Montgomery County.

Both awards will show how great design contributes to the community in terms of character, identity and economic value. The two winning projects will be promoted as premier examples of design excellence in Montgomery County through exhibits and presentations at conferences and public events.

The call for entries opens on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 and closes on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 5 p.m. Applications for the 2019 Design Excellence Awards can be submitted online. The selection of two winners will be made by an outside jury of accomplished design professionals.

The winners will be recognized on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at an awards celebration at the AMP by Strathmore Theater at Pike & Rose (11810 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda, MD). The event will also include the annual awards ceremony of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Valley Chapter.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2019 Design Excellence Awards can be submitted online starting May, 22, 2019.

Projects eligible for the 2019 Design Excellence Awards include both private and public structures and spaces located within Montgomery County that were built within the past 10 years and are currently occupied and in use. The submitted projects should express the essential qualities of outstanding walkable, sustainable places at the scale of the neighborhood, block and building. Entries to the housing category should be apartments, condominiums or townhouses; single-family detached houses are ineligible for submission.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence initiative.

2019 Design Excellence Award Jury

The jury is composed of accomplished and highly regarded practitioners in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and urban design, as follows:

Hilary Bertsch, AIA, is a principal and a board director at Perkins Eastman. Bertsch is an expert in the design of large-scale mixed-use developments, with a special focus on waterfront revitalization, transit centers and urban retail complexes across the country. For more than 25 years, her designs have exhibited a consistent sensitivity to existing urban contexts. Bertsch has developed an expertise in creating new public environments that create lasting value for clients in both the private and public sectors. Among her high-profile projects are District Wharf in Washington, DC; Mayo Clinic Destination Medical Center in Rochester, MN; and Canalside in Buffalo, NY. Bertsch is active in the Urban Land Institute and has served as a Rose Fellowship Faculty Advisor, assisting cities in solving their complex urban design problems since 2010.

Sheila Brady, FASLA, is principal and vice president at the landscape architecture firm Oehme Van Sweden. Brady maintains a design portfolio that includes much of the firm’s distinguished work. Her recent commissions include the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeth’s hospital campus; The Parks at Walter Reed and the renovation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. Her credits include the National World War II Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial; and gardens at the New York Botanical Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden. These award-winning designs demonstrate attention to detail and ecologically responsible design. Brady earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University.

Hazel Edwards, PhD, AICP and FAICP, was appointed in 2016 as the first woman to lead the Department of Architecture, College of Engineering and Architecture at Howard University.  Edwards previously taught in the graduate city planning programs at Morgan State University and The Catholic University of America, where she also served as the planning program director. Over her career, Edwards has combined place-related research with planning and urban design practice and teaching. She received a bachelor of architecture degree from Howard University and a master of architecture degree in urban design from Harvard University. Edwards earned a PhD in regional planning from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign before studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Scholar. She was elected to the American Institute of Certified Planners’ College of Fellows in 2018.

David Schwarz, FAIA, is the founder and chairman of David M. Schwarz Architects and leads the design process for all projects at the firm. In addition, Schwarz is a Sterling Fellow at Yale University and served as chairman of the Architecture Dean’s Council at Yale. He has led architecture studios at Yale, The Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame. In 2014, Schwarz was honored with the Arthur Ross Award for Architecture from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. He was chosen as the 2015 winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize from the University of Notre Dame. Schwarz is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Building Museum where he serves as the jury chairman for the Vincent J. Scully Prize Fund Endowment.

Robert Sponseller, AIA, is senior design principal of Shalom Baranes Associates and specializes in designing complex, mixed-use urban projects. Among his recent designs are CityMarket at O Street, 22 West, CityCenter DC apartments, Ritz Carlton Georgetown and redevelopment of the Fannie Mae headquarters. Sponseller focuses his efforts on designs that reconnect and restore sites to their neighborhoods, while embracing contemporary materials and aesthetic simplicity. He is active in public advocacy on issues such as contemporary design in historic districts, sustainable building practices and the incorporation of technology into design. Sponseller has served in a design review capacity for the DC Office of Planning and on numerous national design juries. He received a master of architecture degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Review the 2017 Design Excellence Award winners and jury citations.