Announcing the 2021 MASterworks Awards
Established in 2001, the MASterworks Awards honor projects that make a significant contribution to New York City’s built environment. While the presentation of the MASterworks Awards typically takes place as an in-person ceremony, MAS and the 2021 MASterworks Jury are celebrating this year’s winners in the following digital tribute. As a part of Archtober and NYCxDESIGN, MAS has also curated a selection of in person explorations and online in-conversations with this year’s honored projects. Check below and on mas.org/events for a list of upcoming MASterworks programs!
2021 MASTERWORKS WINNERS
Please join us in congratulating the following projects: Amant (Best New Building), Pier 26 at Hudson River Park (Best Urban Landscape), Endale Arch (Best Restoration), Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (Best Adaptive Reuse), LaGuardia Terminal B Arrivals & Departures Hall (Best New Infrastructure), and Newtown Creek Nature Walk (Best New Urban Amenity).
The jury also chose to give special recognition to the following projects that responded creatively and thoughtfully to New York’s challenges in 2020: NYC Open Streets and Neighborhoods Now: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
2021 MASTERWORKS JURY
Justin Davidson, Architecture and Classical Music Critic, New York Magazine; Lisa Switkin, FAAR, ASLA, Senior Principal, James Corner Field Operations; Calvin Tsao, FAIA, FAAR, Principal, Tsao & McKown Architects & MAS Board of Directors; Weston Walker, AIA, LEED AP, Design Principal and Partner, Studio Gang; Vicki Weiner, Adjunct Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator of Historic Preservation, Pratt Institute.
Continue reading to learn more about these projects, hear why our MASterworks jury selected them, and enjoy brief acceptance “speeches” from this year’s winners.
Best New Building: recognizing outstanding architectural design
“Urbanistically, the project successfully infilled several plots to create linkages in the neighborhood’s fabric that broke down the scale of the street. There are also inspired and poetic uses of standard materials like concrete and brick that blended within the context, yet at the same time stand out in an alluring way. Overall, it is by far the most sophisticated and elegant project formally and architecturally in this category, and therefore wins hands down.”
Calvin Tsao, MASterworks Jury Member
“The completion of the Amant art “campus” in Brooklyn is a milestone in Amant’s commitment to make a meaningful contribution to the broader cultural landscape of New York. Our studio residency building, exhibition spaces, and Géza theater, are all venues where creative practitioners can work, exhibit, and perform. In addition, direct financial support of our in-residence artists helps them achieve their goals. The public’s enthusiastic engagement with Amant’s exhibitions and programs reflects their cultural interests and it illustrates the potential of private initiatives on the quality of life and enjoyment in New York.”
Lonti Ebers, Founder & C.E.O., Amant Foundation
“Amant is born out of a remarkably generous vision of Lonti Ebers to offer an oasis for artists and the general public in the center of Brooklyn. Rather than a building, the project can be seen as a small piece of city, offering discovery and wonder. Here architecture, nature, and programming are in an ongoing dialogue. The Municipal Art Society’s recognition strengthens Amant as a new nexus within New York’s thriving cultural constellation. It is an honor to receive the MASterworks Award for Best New Building.”
Florian Idenburg, Principal, SO-IL
Pier 26 at Hudson River Park
Best Urban Landscape: recognizing a new or revitalized open space that contributes to livability and resilience
“Pier 26 is an immersive experience that inspires exploration, discovery and wonder; fostering new ways to engage with and understand the Hudson River Estuary. It both reaffirms and rethinks what it means to be a pier – a structure that provides a sense of drama, cadence, surprise and anticipation as you ascend into the space of the river, and at the same time, a constructed ephemeral landscape that shifts and changes with tides, storms and wakes. The project promotes ecological health and resilience alongside social interaction and wellbeing, with thoughtful attention to detail, craft, and materiality.”
Lisa Switkin, MASterworks Jury Member
“On behalf of our entire team, I am honored to accept this award for Pier 26 at Hudson River Park. This project was made possible through the courageous vision of our client, Hudson River Park Trust, the passionate advocacy of the local community, and the tireless dedication, creative ingenuity, and spirited collaboration of so many talented professionals.”
Lucinda R. Sanders, FASLA, CEO and President, OLIN
“Pier 26 at Hudson River Park was designed to be a place where ecology and community come together—a place of inspiration and pride for all residents and visitors of New York. It was no small feat to bring this project to life, and we are grateful for the support of so many, especially our funding partners including the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Citi, and the City of New York. To see the park being embraced by its community and now celebrated by the Municipal Art Society is an incredible honor.”
Noreen Doyle, President and CEO, Hudson River Park Trust
Best Restoration: Recognizing a project that expertly enhances the original qualities of a significant historic building or structure
“The impeccable restoration of Endale Arch has returned this lovely portal to a condition not seen in more than 100 years. The decision to enhance the arch with new lighting provides a delightful opportunity to enjoy its splendid design details and transforms what was a foreboding passageway into an inviting and surprising interior space. This project was completed at a time when we needed our parks more than ever, and it immediately became a beloved amenity for the community.”
Vicki Weiner, MASterworks Jury Member
“Thank you to MAS for recognizing Prospect Park Alliance’s restoration of Endale Arch. This project, which includes both the interior of the arch and the surrounding landscape, was a team effort by the Alliance’s Design & Construction and Landscape Management teams, with expert support from Barnhart Restoration. The restoration was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander. Endale Arch still embodies the original vision of Olmsted and Vaux: integrating into the landscape, framing a celebrated view of the Long Meadow, and providing a welcoming passage into Prospect Park. This restoration has brought it renewed elegance and has also made it a destination in its own right. We are so thrilled to be the recipient of the MASterworks Best Restoration Award. We look forward to visitors and the community continuing to enjoy this gem in the Park. ”
Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
Best Adaptive Reuse: Recognizing a project that demonstrates exceptional creativity in adaptive reuse of an existing building or structure
“While the exterior remains largely the same, except for a jaunty cap on the roof, the renovation completely alters the way the library works, both structurally and programmatically. A building that at one point seemed obsolete and unsalvageable has been transformed by scooping out the back section to bring in light and create a separate five-story tower of bookshelves.”
Justin Davidson, MASterworks Jury Member
“The realization of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, first constructed as a department store, activates eight floors of important public amenities. It has become the central circulating library New York City has long needed, wanted, and deserves. Generous support from New York City and a landmark $55 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation made this project possible, and we share this honor with our supporters and with the New Yorkers that use and love The New York Public Library.”
Anthony W. Marx, President of The New York Public Library
“Libraries are and will always be repositories of knowledge; but that knowledge resides in its librarians as much as in its bookshelves. Working together with NYPL’s talented staff, our firms strove to meet the library’s needs with an inclusive program, humanistic planning and design, and iconic architecture. Recognition by the Municipal Art Society reinforces the pride we feel for this important revitalization project.”
LaGuardia Terminal B Arrivals & Departures Hall
Best New Infrastructure: Recognizing distinctive design in public service projects
“Terminal B is truly a transformative project for New York—a wonderful and much-needed addition to our city’s transport infrastructure. The designers have carefully considered the user experience at every scale, from the overall space planning down to details and finishes. Wayfinding is intuitive, services are easy to access, and travelers flow pleasantly thorough lofty and light-filled spaces. Perhaps most impressively, the new facility has been intricately woven through existing airport infrastructure and operations, which is an incredible feat in itself.”
Weston Walker, MASterworks Jury Member
“We are honored that LaGuardia Terminal B Arrivals & Departures Hall has won the 2021 MASterworks award for Best New Infrastructure from the Municipal Art Society of New York. Our goal was to create a gateway New Yorkers can be proud of, with state-of-the-art advancements in a space that represents the soul of the city. As travel picks up, we have the distinct pleasure of welcoming New Yorkers and visitors alike into the transformed Terminal B. On behalf of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, I want to thank MAS and the 2021 MASterworks jury for this recognition.
Stewart Steeves, CEO, LaGuardia Gateway Partners
Stay tuned for a virtual MASterworks program about the LaGuardia Terminal B Arrivals & Departures Hall, to be announced soon!
Newtown Creek Nature Walk
Best New Urban Amenity: Recognizing an addition to the built environment that contributes to a more livable city
“The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a distinct and unconventional new urban amenity—a found space and hidden journey that carves out space behind the City’s largest wastewater treatment plant and along thin stretches of shoreline. It is also a commentary on our evolving values and relationship to nature and the environment, our industrial past and cultural heritage, and is ultimately an investment in our future. The project is an opportunistic and courageous statement in and of itself literally claiming space for people, wildlife and habitat, restoring and promoting waterfront access and use, and fostering a deeper, renewed and healthier connection to the Newtown Creek. As a powerful catalyst and educational experience, the project shifts the narrative from one of contamination and extraction to one of restoration and regeneration.”
Lisa Switkin, MASterworks Jury Member
“The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a one-of-a-kind waterfront experience—an adventure, an education, and a respite. It’s a space that builds civic-mindedness and helps us engage visitors in the critical effort to restore the health of Newtown Creek. On behalf of DEP, DDC, and DCLA, thank you to the Municipal Art Society for recognizing this special project.”
DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza
“It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of the team of engineers, architects and contractors who have worked for 22 years to build the Nature Walk.”
NYC Open Streets
Special Recognition for a responsive policy action and open space intervention
“Throughout the challenges of 2020 and still today, New Yorkers and many cities alike have been pushed to think creatively to adapt. NYC Open Streets is exemplary of this, as well as a shifting mindset on what is possible in the public realm. When we reclaim open space and prioritize pedestrian use, our businesses, environment, and overall community ecosystems benefit, providing more opportunities for civic involvement, connection, and solidarity. MAS and the 2021 MASterworks jury commend NYC DOT and all of the community partners who have engaged, activated, and re-envisioned their streetscape. We also acknowledge that this is just the beginning, with much to still learn and achieve as we work towards a more accessible and equitable future across the five boroughs.”
Elizabeth Goldstein, President, MAS
“We thank the Municipal Art Society of New York for the special recognition of the Open Streets program. Open Streets provide outdoor space for walking, biking, learning and more, as well as space for Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts, supporting small businesses, and cultural activities that are so critical to NYC’s recovery. Since the program began in May 2020, we’ve partnered with over 150 community organizations to open 83 miles of streets throughout all five boroughs, and we could not have done this without those partners. We share this recognition with them, and are just thrilled how New Yorkers have come to love these dramatic changes to the streetscape.”
Sean Quinn, Assistant Commissioner, Street Improvement Programs
MAS is pleased to join NYCDOT in hosting a guided stroll of 34th Ave and an exploration of NYC Open Streets by bike in Prospect Heights and Fort Greene this October. Save your spot at the links below!
We will also be hosting a virtual conversation later in the fall. Details to be announced soon.
Neighborhoods Now: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Special Recognition for excellence in community-engaged co-design
“MAS and the 2021 MASterworks jury applaud the Neighborhoods Now: Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration team, with great admiration for how many community members and stakeholders came together in this co-design process. From community workshops, and design-build days, to tactical interventions that supported safe gatherings and reopening, it is an inspiring project that reframes the design mindset and approach, meeting people where they’re at and exploring new modes of communication and collaboration. The ethos of ‘Your Home, Not Alone’ served as a beacon of community care at a time when many felt isolated and anxious. This is an innovate example for those in the fields of design, planning, development, placemaking, engagement, and beyond to look to.”
Elizabeth Goldstein, President, MAS
“At the onset of the pandemic, the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute connected NYC neighborhoods hard-hit by COVID-19 with design firms to form a collective network. Partnered with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a new form of collaboration emerged between our client, a diverse cross-section of neighborhood stakeholders, and our team of architects, landscape architects, engineers, graphic designers, and legal counsel. Our hope is that in the future this collaborative model for community-led initiatives can continue and provide support for delivering tailored solutions for other projects that build a safe and equitable community.”
The Neighborhoods Now Bed-Stuy team