It was a big night for local architects on Wednesday, especially for two firms.

Rothschild Doyno Collaborative won six awards at the annual Design Awards hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

And Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel picked up a rare Silver Award — an accolade that is optional and only given sparingly — for its design of the MuseumLab.

The 2020 Design Awards honoring outstanding achievements by the Pittsburgh architectural community was held virtually via YouTube for the first time.

The award categories include Small Architecture (less than 5,000 square feet), Medium Architecture (5,000-50,000 square feet), Large Architecture (greater than 50,000 square feet) and Unbuilt Architecture.

Within those categories, there are awards for Social Equity in Design, which addresses issues of diversity and social responsibility based on a community-driven approach. There are also Honor Awards, for the best of the submitted projects, and Certificates of Merit, which reward a particular design aspect of a project. Then there’s the Silver Award, the highest award, celebrating extraordinary work (which is rarely given).

“The MuseumLab stands out for its unusual approach to celebrating found architecture,” said AIA Pittsburgh Board President Joe Chaffin. “The project leaves the patina of the existing building edifice exposed, which sets the stage for creating a world of discovery and imagination. The playful integration of artistic and functional elements conveys the resourcefulness and creativity of the project team, which in turn translates into the distinct ethos of the project.”

There’s also a Young Architects Studio Competition Award, given to a young architect’s project, and a People’s Choice Award, decided by more than 3,261 votes cast by the public online.

Time was taken to celebrate those from the architectural community who helped out during the Covid-19 crisis. This included GBBN Architects, who used their fabrication expertise to design and deliver 750 3D-printed face shields to local healthcare organizations.

A five-person jury from AIA Baltimore chose the award winners.

“It was good to see the projects that were presented and I think you’ll be happy with the awards that were handed out, but I certainly wish that there had been a little bit more attention paid to sustainability across the board,” said jury member Peter Doo. “There were definitely projects that did that, but you know we’re at a moment in time where this is becoming increasingly critical, I think, and architects have a responsibility to really take this seriously.”

Here are the winning designs with comments from the jury.

Small Architecture

Presley’s Place. Photo courtesy of Matthew O’Haren Photography.
Presley’s Place. Photo courtesy of Matthew O’Haren Photography.

Presley’s Place, Pittsburgh International Airport — Social Equity in Design
Architects: Hayes Design Group Architects
Client: Allegheny County Airport Authority

“Presley’s Place is a special place, one that reminds us that the spaces we inhabit help shape the way we see the world and designing for everyone makes our world.”

Indianola residence in Cheswick. Photo by Ed Massery Photography and Jesse Riesmeyer.

210 Indianola, Cheswick — Certificate of Merit
Architects: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: Michael & Renee Gwin

“210 Indianola residence stands out with strong consideration for sustainability and thoughtful relationship to the natural site.”

University Commons Terrace. Photo courtesy of Maya Elaine Photography.

University Commons Terrace, Oakland — Certificate of Merit
Architects: LGA Partners
Client: Carlow University

“The Carlow University Commons Terrace railing design is elevated by the successful collaboration with university art students who capture the spirit of their academic community.”

Winterton Street residence in Highland Park. Photo by Roseanne Martin.

Winterton Street Residence, Highland Park — Certificate of Merit
Architects: evolve environment :: architecture
Client: confidential

“The Winterton Street Residence presents a thoughtful design approach and commitment to quality execution as evidenced by the intimate, cared-for indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Medium Architecture

Community Engagement Center in Homewood. Photo by Craig Thompson.

Community Engagement Center, Homewood — Social Equity in Design
Architect: Strada
Client: University of Pittsburgh

“Homewood Community Engagement Center models a bridge between academic institutions and the communities that surround them — an invaluable stream for sharing resources towards more equitable communities.”

Center for Urban Education. Photo by Ed Massery.

Center for Urban Education, Oakland — Certificate of Merit
Architects: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: University of Pittsburgh

“Center for Urban Education breaks away from the rigid geometry of the existing building and boldly resets its rules on spatial interaction within the academic setting.”

Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon. Photography by Ed Massery.

Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills — Certificate of Merit
Architects: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills

“Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church presents a thoughtful juxtaposition between old and new, inside and outside. The modest material palette combined with elegant form are a breath of fresh air.”

Argo AI Palo Alto office. Photo by Marco Zecchin.

Argo AI Palo Alto Office — Honor Award
Architects: mossArchitects
Client: Argo AI

“Argo AI shines with its elegant utility and fluid yet clearly defined spatial logic. The steel armature performs on several levels and complements the project’s light, open and welcoming space. Social and work areas connect seamlessly and extend into the landscape unencumbered by peripheral offices. The resulting experience exemplifies an equitable workspace designed with people in mind.”

Large Architecture

Sandstone Quarry in Fineview. Photo by Ed Massery.

Sandstone Quarry Apartments, Fineview — Certificate of Merit
Architects: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: Trek Development and Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh

“Sandstone Quarry Apartments design presents a fresh vision for the mixed-income site. The reconfigured building orientation helps establish new connections and potential for vibrant community development.”

TechMill 41 in Lawrenceville. Photo by Ed Massery.

TechMill 41, Lawrenceville — Certificate of Merit
Architect: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: confidential

“TechMill 41 office building relishes in the industrial past along the Allegheny River while introducing a contemporary building language and new density of use for the site. Efforts to integrate textures, artifacts and parts of old buildings with new interventions recontextualize the entire development.”

Yale Science Building. Photo courtesy of Jeff Goldberg/Esto.

Yale Science Building, New Haven, Connecticut — Honor Award
Architects: Stantec
Client: Yale University

“The Yale Science Building design demonstrates a high degree of integration in addressing the project’s communal, operational and environmental goals. The elegant, understated aesthetics of the exterior envelope and interior spaces reflect the seemingly effortless weaving of function and performance. The project presents a holistic approach and a higher standard when addressing the needs of the scientific community.”

MuseumLab. Photograph courtesy of Eric Staudenmaier.

MuseumLab at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, North Side — Silver Award
Architects: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel (PWWG Architects)
Client: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Unbuilt Architecture

In Service to Refugees. Photo courtesy of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative.

In Service to Refugees — Social Equity in Design Award
Architects: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Client: Hello Neighbor

“In Service of Refugees offers a much-needed resource to a community in need and helps harness the energy of collaboration and social advocacy.”

Etna EcoDistrict Plan. Rendering courtesy of EvolveEA.

Etna EcoDistrict Plan, Etna — Honor Award
Architects: evolve environment :: architecture
Client: Borough of Etna, Etna Community Organization, Etna Economic Development Corporation, Etna Neighborhood Association, Garden of Etna, Triboro Ecodistrict

“The Etna EcoDistrict Plan provides a set of invaluable tools that educate and enable communities to strive for a clean and equitable future. The proposed interventions offer an invigorating vision for otherwise residual, underutilized urban spaces.”

Young Architect’s Studio Competition (YASC)

Ars Moriendi. Rendering courtesy of Jason Andrews.

Ars Moriendi
Architect: Jason Andrews

“The jury felt that the designer portrayed a great understanding of the design criteria, while meeting an immediate physical and psychological need for themselves, and a dear family member. The level of clarity and communicating the intent was outstanding. The design provided flexibility and serenity in a quickly changing world and was also representative of the fragility of our transient lives and captured how important our human connections with each other in our surroundings truly are.”

People’s Choice

AGH Academic Cancer Institute.

AGH Academic Cancer Institute
Architects: IKM Incorporated
Client: Allegheny Health Network

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.