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Comal restaurant in downtown Berkeley, whose interior was designed by Berkeley’s Abueg Morris Architects, was awarded separately for its interior and for its exterior architecture. Full credits in the BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA

Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)

This year threw up a particularly impressive crop of winners, according to Anthony Bruzzone, President of BDA, who said that two years ago, with the recession having put the kibosh on many construction projects, the group was concerned it might have no buildings to consider at all in 2013.

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Premier Cru on University Avenue, designed by David Trachtenberg and built by Kaufman Construction, has an interior palette of mahogany, bamboo and glass. Full credits in the BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA

“But then, last year, things got better,” he wrote in the awards brochure. “A few small projects here, a few deep-pocketed individuals there, and of course the university projects were in full swing… Not a moment too soon… This year’s Awards feature some of the most creative and inspired designs that BDA has ever acknowledged.”

The BDA awards make a point of honoring the whole team behind a new project or renovation. So owners, builder/contractors, engineers, landscape designers and interior designers are recognized, as well as the architects.

The community had concerns about the remodeling of this “precious asset” said Councilman Laurie Capitelli of the north branch library at the BDA Design Awards ceremony, but the result has been warmly welcomed. Full credits in the BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA

The BDA judges this year were: John Caner, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Association, architect Philip Henry, Cal’s Emily Marthinsen (who recused herself for UC Berkeley projects), Dan Gregory, editor in chief at Houseplans.com, and architect Anne Torney.

Other than the biennial awards, BDA also works on ad-hoc projects when it feels its members’ expertise can be helpful to the community. Most recently it organized a charrette to solicit ideas for the revitalization of Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.

Speaking after the awards ceremony last week, local architect David Trachtenberg, whose firm was honored for two projects, said: “It’s great to work in Berkeley because the city has so many wonderful people and unusual projects. We get to expand on people’s personal passions and there’s a real entrepreneurial spirit here.”

Modest changes can achieve meaningful results. That was the conclusion of the BDA judges who recognized the team, including Anne Phillips Architecture, who remodeled this affordable housing building at 2050 Delaware St. Full credits in the BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
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BDA praised the “simple, measured composition of stone, brick, wood, glass, and steel” for this infill retail space at 2117 San Pablo Ave. designed by Kahn Design Associates. It will soon be occupied by Keetsa mattresses. Full credits in the BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
The façade of Comal on Shattuck Avenue, designed by David Trachtenberg in a building owned by John Gordon, is sheethed in Corten steel, often “value-engineered out” on projects due to the cost, said Trachtenberg, but not this time. Full credits: BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
Panoramic Interests worked with Kahn Design Associates to “wonderfully restore” this historic building at 2130 Center St. — “back to its former glory and more,” according to BDA. Full credits: BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
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In presenting the award for UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute on Berkeley Way, Mayor Tom Bates reminded the university that part of the deal was that it provide 100 feet of space for retail on the Shattuck Avenue side of the project. Full credits: BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
The Blum Hall project at UC Berkeley combined a renovation of John Galen Howard’s naval architecture building with a new, three-story addition set perpendicular to Hearst Avenue. Full credits: BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA
Presenting the award for UC Berkeley’s renovated Memorial Stadium, Mayor Tom Bates referred to the many months of related protests over the removal of trees on the property when he said: “Other than the fact that we sued them and tried to stop them, we’re very pleased with the way this worked out.” Full credits: BDA 2013 Awards brochure. Photo: BDA

Tackling Telegraph Avenue: Is this time different? [03.01.13]
New building proposed for Sequoia site on Telegraph Avenue [02.27.13]
1,000 apartments planned for downtown Berkeley [02.07.13]
First high-rise in 40 years proposed for downtown Berkeley [12.21.12]
Cal Memorial Stadium unveiled after 21-month renovation [08.27.12]
Three Berkeley homes are featured on East Bay architecture tour [07.30.12]
UC Berkeley’s new Energy Biosciences building is unveiled [07.17.12]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...