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The 2012 Best of the Best Projects

The projects featured on the following pages are the culmination of an eight-month effort to identify and honor the most outstanding construction efforts completed in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between July 2011 and June 2012. Nearly 1,000 project teams submitted their best work to ENR's regional "Best Projects" competitions. For each of the nine regions, our editors assembled an independent panel of industry judges to home in on the winners in 19 categories. The winners of the regional contests moved on to the national competition. A different set of industry judges examined the projects to distinguish the "Best of the Best" in teamwork, success in overcoming challenges, innovation and quality. This year, a new award honors the safest project, judged by industry safety experts in both the regional and national competitions. Also, ENR's editorial staff chose one special project as the "Editors' Choice" to represent the pinnacle of design and construction excellence.

Meet the Judges

Meet the Judges of ENR's Best of the Best Projects 2012 Competition

Twenty independent industry individuals examined 169 project entries to distinguish the "Best of the Best" in teamwork, success in overcoming challenges, innovation and quality. New this year, industry safety experts awarded the safest project award.

The Best of the Best Projects 2012 Winners by Category

Editors' Choice/Transportation

John James Audubon Bridge Sets New Standards for Lower Mississippi Crossings

Featuring a 1,583-ft-long main span, the 3,186-ft-long bridge is the only Mississippi River crossing along the 90-mile stretch from Natchez, Miss., to Baton Rouge, La.

Civil Works/Infrastructure

Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility Improvements Project

The project came under siege in September 2009, when the Yellow River topped its banks and damaged the existing pump stations.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a 200,000-sq-ft museum and cultural center, features complex geometric forms, inspired by the local Arkansas landscape as well as suspension bridges of Bhutan.

Government/Public Building

Natural History Museum of Utah Blends With Its Rugged Landscape

The new museum sits on a 17-acre foothills site with sweeping views of the Salt Lake Valley.

Green Project

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation New Headquarters

The 50,000-sq-ft building is designed to achieve LEED-Platinum certification and net-zero energy use.

Health Care

Palomar Medical Center

The $956-million Palomar Medical Center in North San Diego provides patients with a bright and sustainable healing environment.

Higher Education/Research

University of Washington Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building

Situated within the central science core of the University of Washington's Seattle campus, the $59-million first phase of the master-planned Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building was designed to create a multidisciplinary research setting and strengthen existing science programs.


Boeing Company 787 Building Program

Design-builders had just 24 months to construct 11 separate structures that collectively measured more than 1 million sq ft.

Interior Design/Tenant Improvement

El Paso Corporation Tower Renovation

Renovations to more than 1 million-sq-ft of El Paso Corp.'s state-of-the-art, LEED Gold high-rise were completed in 2011.

K-12 Education

James M. Bennett High School

Completed 5% under budget and a year ahead of the original schedule, this $73.9-million high school in Salisbury, Md. provides a technology-rich learning environment for 1,496 students.

Landscape/Urban Planning

National September 11 Memorial

The simple, elegant design of the eight-acre memorial belies the complicated history of the redevelopment.

Multifamily Residential/Hospitality

Omni Dallas Hotel

Despite numerous challenges, the project team was able to incorporate more than $10 million in project savings towards additional scope. The team also completed work 61 days ahead of schedule.


Delta Dental of Michigan Headquarters Expansion and Renovation

The renovations and additions to the Delta Dental of Michigan headquarters harmonize with not only the existing architecture but also the surrounding environment of Okemos, Mich.


Freedom Tower Restoration

The renovation of the national historic landmark in Miami included repair of the building's Baroque neo-classical cast-stone ornaments and stucco, and restoration of the tower's cupola and ballroom.

Retail/Mixed-Use Developments

Pearl Brewery Development

Originally built in 1883, the Pearl Brewery is one of San Antonio's most visited landmarks.The historic conveyor was renovated, and many of the old brewery's original features were recycled and re-used.


Miami International Airport Automated People Mover

The MIA Mover project logged nearly 1.5 million man-hours and attained an Occupational Safety & Health Administration incidence rate of 0.27. In 2011, the project was awarded OSHA's top distinction for safety.

Small Project (Under $10 Million)

University of Texas at Dallas Visitor Center and University Bookstore

The $7.5-million project was designed to be an open and flexible space for events and a new front door to the campus. The ground-up, 33,000-sq-ft building was completed in less than seven months and under budget.

Specialty Contracting

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas features a facade that is made up of more than 700 unique precast-concrete panels that cover the museum's tower, atrium and plinth.


Marlins Park

Designers of the nation's first retractable-roof stadium engineered to withstand 146-mph winds achieved the feat with an innovative strategy: The roof was kept partially open.

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Project Leads/Pulse

Gives readers a glimpse of who is planning and constructing some of the largest projects throughout the U.S. Much information for pulse is derived from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge.

For more information on a project in Pulse that has a DR#, or for general information on Dodge products and services, please visit our Website at

Information is provided on construction projects in following stages in each issue of ENR: Planning, Contracts/Bids/Proposals and Bid/Proposal Dates.

View all Project Leads/Pulse »

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