Mithun Projects Win AIA Seattle Awards

Date Posted: 11.17.2020

Two Mithun projects were honored as part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle chapter 2020 Honor Awards for Washington Architecture on November 16. This nationally recognized awards program provides an important opportunity for the design community to share and celebrate design excellence.

Blakely Elementary School received an Award of Merit. This replacement elementary school incorporates diverse indoor and outdoor learning spaces for students in preschool through fourth grade. Views from classrooms and the library toward the learning courtyard and forest beyond reinforce connection to nature throughout the learning experience and celebrate the rural Bainbridge setting.

“I think the connections between the indoors and outdoors, and just the way the building is integrated into the site and the topography is a really brilliant solution. It’s going to be a loved school for many, many generations,” said design juror Marsha Maytum FAIA. “I really applaud both its little bit of whimsy, that will be fun for the children, but also its rigor in which it addressed environmental and high-performance issues in the building.”

Louisiana Children’s Museum also received an Award of Merit. Set in New Orleans City Park, this new children’s museum features integrated community service centers and outdoor education to enrich the lives of children and families. The museum’s new home is distributed into two linked buildings, carefully sited to protect existing live oaks while enhancing the lagoon and open space for environmental education. The choreography of the visitor experience connects people and nature—moving through groves of live oaks, across water and into a courtyard and sensory gardens.

“One of the key factors for me in this project was the special sensitivity to the environment, to the place where it is, to the connection with the [lagoon],” said design juror Tatiana Bilbao.

“Connecting children and families to water in a positive and an educational way in this environment is really important,” added Marsha Maytum. “The building is so beautifully executed… the spaces that are sculpted and crafted between indoors and outdoors really makes this a beautiful place and one that will be… an important part of the community for a long time.”