The process of deciding the winners of the Superior Achievement in Design and Imaging (SADI) awards, now in their 23rd year, is always an interesting one. Judges rotate from year to year, which creates a new dialogue in each edition. The project that resonates with the jury and is designated our Grand SADI winner often reflects an important trend in the industry. Recent Grand SADI winners have included urban projects, international centers and even department stores—a format thought moribund.
This year’s grand winner continues that trend. The jury—in a split decision—selected The CORE, a renovated enclosed mall in Alberta, Canada. Ultimately, the judges saw it as a brilliant transformation from what had been a “vanilla” regional mall into a light-filled and inviting new space.
As in recent years, we partnered with the American Institute of Architects’ Retail Entertainment Committee, who helped revise the criteria and put together the jury.
Part of The CORE design’s impressiveness arises from it being accomplished with a handful of simple tweaks, like the installation of a new curved glass roof to dramatically brighten the center, exquisite choices in fixtures and the achievement of a design that balances creating a great space with showcasing the center’s tenants. Moreover, the project proves that the regional mall sector—much maligned in recent years—has some life in it yet, especially when designed and implemented like this.
The CORE narrowly edged out the dual winners of the New or Renovated Department Store category—a Lord & Taylor location in Ridge Hill, N.Y., and Liverpool Interlomas in Mexico City. The judges were thoroughly impressed with both entries. That’s why the two projects were declared co-winners of that category, something that doesn’t happen often in the SADI Awards. The projects tackle the mission of department store design in vastly different ways, but each succeeds on its own merits.
Congratulations to all of this year’s SADI prize winners.