MACON – The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has selected the Beall's Hill Development urban design and architectural guidelines to be among the best in the world in representing excellence in urban design. This year, CNU, one of the nation's leading organizations in promoting sound urban design and walkable, mixed-use cities and towns, chose only 14 Charter Award recipients from 136 submissions. Of the 14 recipients, only eight projects were in the United States, with Beall's Hill being one of only three in the Southeast.
CNU will present the 2005 Charter Awards on June 10, in Pasadena, Calif. Accepting on behalf of all of the partners from the Beall's Hill Neighborhood will be Dhiru Thadani, principal, Ayers/Saint/Gross, Architects+Planners; Peter Brown, director, Mercer Center for Service-Learning and Community Development, Mercer University; Charles Bohl, director, Knight Foundation Program in Community Building, University of Miami School of Architecture; and John Williams II, community liaison program officer (West), John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Charter Awards recognize the best in urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. Instead of recognizing buildings or plans in isolation, the Charter Awards honor exceptional designs that complement and enhance their built and natural environments, including projects that repair or reshape these contexts. In fulfilling and advancing the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism, winners show a deep commitment to placemaking.
Mercer University and the City of Macon in November 2001 sponsored, with the Knight Foundation Program in Community Building at the University of Miami, a public design charette focused on the Beall's Hill neighborhood that produced a master plan for the redevelopment of Beall's Hill. Ayers/Saint/Gross subsequently developed architectural and urban design guidelines for the project. Under contract to Mercer University with funding from the Knight Foundation, those guidelines were adopted by the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission in January 2005 for the newly designated historic planned development - Beall's Hill.
The jury panel reviewing the applicants for the 2005 Charter Awards included a number of eminent representatives in the international world of urban planning and development, such as Paul Murrain, Senior Design Director, The Prince's Foundation; Jeff Speck, Director of Design for the National Endowment of Arts, and Douglas Kelbaugh, Dean, Taubman College of Architecture Urban Planning, University of Michigan. The panel was chaired by John Francis Torti, Principal, Torti-Gallis and Partners.