ikon.5 architects of Princeton, NJ have been awarded The International Architecture Award for 2010 by the Chicago Athenaeum: The Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. Their winning project was Kirkwood Public Library, New Castle, Delaware.

The International Architecture Awards are the highest and most prestigious distinguished building awards that honor new and cutting-edge design. The annual program has become the largest and most comprehensive distinguished awards program in the world. This year the Museum received a record number of projects for new buildings, landscape architecture, and urban planning from the most important firms practicing globally. The 2010 Jury for Awards was held in Mexico City under the auspices of the Colegio de Arquitectos de la Ciudad de Mexico.

In November, 2010 The Chicago Athenaeum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies will present a special exhibition of all awarded buildings at the annual symposium, "The City and the World" in Madrid, Spain. The Symposium dates are November 4-7, 2010. After Spain, the exhibition will then travel inside Europe.

This is the third award ikon.5 architects have been awarded by the Chicago Athenaeum. In 2009 the firm was honored with two American Architecture Awards; one for Hockessin Public Library, New Castle, Delaware and one for The Campus Commons buildings at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Joseph G. Tattoni, design principal of ikon.5 architects, said "Receiving this recognition is particularly rewarding because our challenge was to create a strong civic identity for the community within a very tight budget."

Set along a commercial shopping strip highway, Kirkwood Public Library is designed as a roadside billboard announcing the public civic function of reading, learning and exploration. The objective was to create a new branch library for a growing diverse community in an accessible area that would serve as the iconic community center of the neighborhood. Shopping malls and fast food restaurants flank both sides of the site. Large graphic signs litter the highway where this library is sited and a small scale residential neighborhood is set one block in from the highway site.

It is within this context that the Kirkwood Public Library appears as a collection of books set on the highway for the community to use. Facing the highway, the building facade of stacked horizontal cement board siding is fashioned as a series of boxes that represent the edge of books piled up on their side. The result of stark geometric abstract forms effectively signs the building and its function to the community along the aggressively commercial environment. Adjacent to the residential neighborhood, a doubleheight canopy cantilevers from the facade, providing shelter to the front door. At the western end of the site, a glazed two-story reading room is covered in a cedar solar screen. The screen permits desirable views to the outside while controlling solar gain and daylight harvesting internally. The program is arranged along the length of the highway to increase visibility and to shelter the entry side from traffic. The Kirkwood Public Library integrates environmentally friendly, high performance green elements.

ikon.5 architects are known for their award-winning designs for museums, higher education, libraries, performing arts, and corporate offices. Based in Princeton, NJ ikon.5's practice extends to Louisiana, Delaware, and New York.


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