ENR's Best Projects competition in the Northwest region showcases work that features innovative ideas, sustainable strategies and considerable collaboration.
The year's best overall project—King Street Station in Seattle—symbolizes all of these traits. The $55-million renovation and modernization revitalized a century-old, multimodal station—restoring its ornate features while updating the structure and systems to modern standards.
Designed to meet LEED-Platinum requirements, King Street Station incorporates significant sustainable elements largely hidden from public view to preserve the building's historic fabric. Likewise, nearly 1,400 tons of structural steel were added behind the scenes to bring the building up to seismic code.
Despite working within an operational train station with up to 10,000 daily visitors, the King Street Station boasted an exceptional safety record, earning it an award of merit in the safety category.
Projects like King Street Station display how sustainability has rapidly evolved from an emerging trend to a standard practice in the region. Most building projects honored in this year's awards program incorporate sustainable strategies.
Still, some projects are pushing the limits of green building. The winner of our green project category—The Bullitt Center—is touted as "the greenest office building in the world." The six-story, 50,000-sq-ft net-zero energy building essentially leaves no environmental footprint by satisfying all of its own energy, water and waste needs.
The Alaska-based projects featured here reveal how design and construction teams succeeded within remote and unforgiving environments. Neeser Construction delivered the 146,900-sq-ft Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, Alaska, on time and on budget despite extremely limited access to materials and labor. Kiewit Infrastructure West faced similar challenges in constructing the Akutan Airport on an uninhabited island in the Aleutian Islands.
Federal stimulus funding helped teams generate award-winning work in this year's competition. The King Street Station project tapped into American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds as well as TIGER grants. The two award winners in our government/public buildings category—Federal Center South Building 1202 and Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt—are both U.S. General Services Administration projects funded under ARRA.
Emerging technology was also leveraged by several projects honored in this year's competition. In addition to the use of building information modeling, several projects aimed to create paperless projects that shared digital documents via cloud-based systems.
ENR Northwest's Best Projects were selected by an independent jury of professionals who are members of the local design and construction community. The competition judges were: Jeff Birchfield, business unit safety director, Turner Construction Co.; Jason Chupp, operations manager, Swinerton Builders; Roger Flint, vice president/area manager, CH2M Hill; Cori Palmer, assistant project development manager, Mortenson Construction; John Schaufelberger, dean, College of Built Environments at University of Washington.
Judges were allowed to name only one project as "best" in a category. They could honor multiple projects in a category with awards of merit and could choose not to cite any projects in a category, if none met their standards. Judges abstained from voting on projects with which they were affiliated. Projects were evaluated on five criteria: teamwork/overcoming challenges; safety; innovation and contribution to the industry/community; construction quality and craftsmanship; and function and aesthetic quality of design.
The jury chose to honor 18 projects in 13 categories, ranging from airports to small projects valued at under $10 million. Read on to learn more about ENR's 2013 Best Projects in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.