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AIA designs of distinction

by Sarah Bousquet
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been working to drive positive change through design for more than a century, calling attention to impactful projects that help define a better built environment. This year, Shepley Bulfinch is proud to receive two national AIA awards: the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for Austin Central Library, a joint venture with Lake|Flato Architects, and the 2018 AIA/CAE Education Facility Design Award of Excellence for the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab
The Austin Central Library takes full advantage of the city’s investment in revitalizing its west downtown and the recently designated Seaholm EcoDistrict, an 85-acre former brownfield site being transformed into a vibrant urban hub. The library offers direct connection to the street, as well as to the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail.
“The atrium ties it all together bringing in natural light, exciting circulation and a sense of orientation.”
Jury Statement
Arguably the most day-lit library in the nation, the nearly 200,000-sf building is defined by a light-soaked, six-story atrium surrounded by the collections and event space. By prioritizing flexible blended spaces, the design team delivered a model underlining the importance of sustainable resource use and library efficiency that promotes deep connections with the library’s collections and culture at large.
The Life Lab was designed and constructed as a modular building, composed of 34 modules that were built off-site concurrent with the foundation construction on-site. The overall construction period was 7 months shorter than with traditional construction, reducing the impact of site activity including noise, dust, deliveries, and on-site waste.
“The design solution showcases the program beautifully. The use of off-site construction is pushed beyond the usual bounds of modular componentry to create a rich and varied experience.”
Jury Statement
The Life Lab’s curated community fosters connections among industry, investor, government, and academic stakeholders.

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