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CJS Architects to Receive AIA New York State Excelsior Award for Neighborhood of Play

The Neighborhood of Play by CJS Architects will be awarded an AIA New York State Excelsior Award
The Neighborhood of Play

The Neighborhood of Play, submitted by AIA Rochester member firm CJS Architects, will be honored at the (Re)Connecting Communities Conference in Albany on May 9, 2024 with an Excelsior Award.


The Neighborhood of Play serves as a transformative force in downtown Rochester with positive effects extending far beyond the geographical area. The project successfully reconnected neighborhoods transforming a sunken expressway into a new mixed-use community that includes both market rate and affordable residential units, a hotel, commercial space, and museum expansion, with new connections to adjacent neighborhoods, park, and center city. With thoughtfully designed public spaces, cultural facilities and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, residents and visitors are provided with ample opportunities to explore and engage with the surrounding areas. The neighborhood has become a catalyst for economic growth, attracting businesses, residents and Museum visitors. Partner of the firm, Craig Jensen, AIA, will be accepting the award.


Celebrating its 10th year, the AIANYS Excelsior Awards program highlights the best in publicly funded buildings, outdoor areas, and public art across New York State, and the architects and design professionals who support and advocate for them.


Nine projects were recognized for an award in the categories of Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, New Construction, and Renovation/Addition.

The interdisciplinary jury evaluated the projects based on a set of three criteria:

  1. Firmness: demonstrating design based on sound architectural and engineering principles and responsible use of public funds to achieve the maximum public benefit.

  2. Commodity: demonstrating design that is functional and impactful, providing socioeconomic benefits to the surrounding community and advancing the owner’s mission.

  3. Delight: demonstrating design that achieves beauty and harmony through respect for the surrounding context, understanding and consideration of human scale, and satisfaction of user needs, both explicit and implicit.


Jury Chair Paul McDonnell, AIA, said, "Our deliberations showcased the remarkable dedication and ingenuity of architects across diverse communities throughout New York State, emphasizing the vital role of design in enriching societal well-being. Each project, whether grand or modest in scale, stood out for its profound impact and unwavering commitment to serving its community. In recognizing nine exceptional projects and teams, our aim was to honor the profound dedication and civic spirit exhibited by these architects and design professionals."


Information for this article was provided by CJS Architects & AIA New York State

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