'06 ARC Awards: Ahead of the Curve
December 01, 2006

By Staff
Appeared in Consulting-Specifying Engineer

It's time again for our annual tribute to M/E/P teams and projects that stood out from the crowd during this past year in Advancing, Reinvigorating and Cultivating excellence in engineering: in short, it is time again for the ARC Awards. We have reached a milestone this year, which happens to be the ARC Award's fifth anniversary.

Originally, our plan for this year was to choose two Project of the Year winners—one for new construction and the other for rehab/reconstruction. We had also intended to present Systems of the Year awards in eight disciplines: HVAC, automation and controls, fire protection, lighting, electrical distribution, emergency power, plumbing and security/communications. However, things change over the course of a project. The ARC Awards have not always been so much about the “best” buildings or designers but rather designers solving problems and finding the right solutions.

Similarly, the CSE staff and ARC Award judges agreed that the types of facilities and systems weren't so important as the building team effort and what it produced in the way of problem-solving and the ultimate product. When looked at from the perspective of integrated engineering and teamwork, one project stood out among the entries: the Center for Health & Healing at the Oregon Health & Science University, the largest employer in the city of Portland. Not only did the project bring together an unprecedented combination of M/E/P systems in one sustainable facility, but the design team's ability to continually brainstorm ways in which systems could serve multiple functions epitomizes the integrated engineering ideal. Most important for their client, they were able to do it all under budget.

The winners in our Systems of the Year categories showed the same surpassing teamwork on specific systems: A/E Westlake Reed Leskosky for its electrical and communications work on Cleveland's ideastream; Jaros Baum & Bolles for emergency and backup power systems at the New York Stock Exchange; Hammel, Green and Abrahamson for Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee; and AMC Engineers & Architects for security systems at Seward Middle School in Seward, Alaska.

Last but not least are Honorable Mentions for two excellent projects and design teams: Syska Hennessy Group's Cambridge, Mass. office for meeting the challenge of M/E/P design work on the Georgia Aquarium and Spectrum Engineers of Salt Lake City, and the University of Utah's Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building for its communications and lighting design.