2021 Design Excellence Awards Winners


Per Montgomery Planning:

Immediate Release:
October 22, 2021

Montgomery Planning announces winners of the 2021 Design Excellence Awards, which exemplify the county’s best architecture and building design

Universities at Shady Grove Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Building, The Darcy and The Flats at BethesdaAvenue, and The Wheaton Revitalization Project win top awards

WHEATON, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), announced the winners of its fifth Design Excellence Award competition at “Celebrate Design,” held on Thursday, October 21 at M-NCPPC’s Wheaton Headquarters. This year, an independent jury of accomplished design and development professionals honored three developments with Design Excellence Awards and two developments with special citations which exemplify Montgomery County’s best architecture and building design. The event was co-hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Valley Chapter, which presented its Design + Leadership Awards at the event.

The Universities at Shady Grove Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Building received the Design Excellence Award for Excellence in Building and Site Design. The award jurors recognized the building, designed by Cooper Carry and Lake|Flato, for “defining the interior and exterior as part of the natural context, offering views to nature and informal yet inspiring places to collaborate.” The six-level, 220,000-square-foot-facility incorporates green-colored glass, reclaimed wood siding, and living green walls that mimic the natural environment. The LEED Platinum building, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest environmental certification, is located at the headwaters of the Piney Branch Watershed and is dedicated to minimizing its impact on the adjacent wetland.

“This is the fifth time we have hosted our Design Excellence Awards and every year I am more impressed by how the quality of design has been elevated in Montgomery County,” said Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright. “This event is about raising awareness of how exceptional building design can lead to greater quality of life, economic opportunity, and environmental sustainability for Montgomery County.”

“Through high quality design, we create value in our neighborhoods and become more equitable through a strong public realm. We also become better stewards of our greater environment,” said Design Excellence project manager Paul Mortensen. “The independent jury had a tough job this year to recognize the best in excellent design and we couldn’t be more pleased with the awardees.”