News | October 18, 2007

The American Institute Of Architects, California Council, Announces Recipients Of The 2007 Urban Design Award

Sacramento, CA - The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), recognizes two recipients of the 2007 Urban Design Award for merit, honoring achievements that involve the expanding role of the architect in urban design, city planning and community development. The Rossetti architecture firm, in El Segundo, Calif., was honored for their project entitled, "The Pavilions of Troy," and the Los Angeles-based firm, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, LLP (ZGFA), for their project entitled, "Glendale Downtown Specific Plan and Mobility Study."


This project is an urban mixed-use infill on 40 acres. It responds to the need and opportunity to revitalize downtown Troy, Michigan with a livable, accessible community, which is of sufficient scale to be self-sustaining while helping make the area more of a regional destination.

This suburban community near Detroit, developed as a bedroom community, is based on automobile commuting. Many of the streets were built without sidewalks or parkways, anticipating no pedestrian activity outside of the residential community.

Over time, commercial uses dominated Troy as a viable office and retail location alternative to downtown Detroit. Eventually, many suburban amenities were a part of Troy, but as a civic place, that could attract and define a sense of place for the city, never developed.

Rossetti's new development will include a lively retail streetscape around an urban plaza that draws inspiration from the community. Above shops and restaurants are four floors of residential units that shape the plaza and contribute to city life and activity. At the center of the street are pavilion structures spilling with outdoor restaurant seating, public entertainment, seasonal markets and specialty retail. An entertainment zone at the north end of the plaza accommodates outdoor concerts, ice-skating and other public events.

At the perimeter of the site are office buildings, a hotel, and future residential developments.


This project focused on a functional, mid-sized (population 200,000) downtown city that was less than the sum of its parts. ZGFA developed a plan of mixed-used, urban design with a comprehensive set of policies, incentives and requirements. The plan not only establishes design parameters and land use regulations but also directs economic development, parking, pedestrian amenities, open space, preservation of cultural resources and public art. The plan permits a wide range of uses including residential, commercial, retail, entertainment and hospitality.

The project's mobility study gathers a full range of "best practices" relating to transportation planning, tailored to the physical vision articulated by ZGFA's urban design plan. The study acknowledges the need for vehicular access, but greater focus is devoted to reducing auto congestion while promoting multi-modal transportation. To date, nearly a dozen projects of various architectural styles and scales by local and international architects have been submitted under the plan's standards, which were adopted late in 2006. Approximately 1,500 new downtown residential units (of the 4,000 proposed by the plan) are approved, permitted and under construction. In addition, nearly one third of the proposed commercial space is presently in development.

SOURCE: American Institute of Architects, California Council