Integrated design services firm, Lemay, has won highest honors in the Re-imagine a New York City Icon design challenge.
Sponsored by Metals in Construction and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York and inspired by the United States Climate Action Plan and the Architecture 2030 Challenge, the mandate of the open international competition was to re-imagine 200 Park Avenue, aka the MetLife Building.
Built more than a half-century ago as the world’s largest corporate structure, it was also the last building designed by famous modernist architect, Walter Gropius.
Lemay’s proposal, titled Farm Follows Fiction, was selected as one of the winners of the competition, which had 109 participants from around the world.
Five other proposals shared top honors with Lemay, including such renowned firms as FXFOWLE, SHoP and AECOM.
Created through a collaborative design effort led by the design innovation cell LemayLAB and involving multidisciplinary talents from Lemay’s Sustainability and Escobar Design teams, as well as from Ecosystem and Sefaira — two firms specialized in energy efficiency — the concept was to reposition the architectural icon in the heart of New York while drastically reducing its energy consumption by targeting a net zero carbon footprint.
With a bold visual style inspired by graphic novels, the proposal playfully narrated how the MetLife building could be transformed into a collective resource for the Midtown community, therefore becoming the world’s tallest farm.
The concept also innovates by proposing that the new building actively promotes healthy lifestyles and quality of life, thus embodying the insurance company’s core mission.
During the unveiling of the winners, the jury commented that the Lemay proposal was inspiring and clearly visionary, ie “a project for the future of building”, and an essential project that exudes the level of innovation required to achieve the Architecture 2013 Challenge. The panel of six competition jurors included some of the best-known experts in sustainable design from the fields of architecture and engineering, such as Ben Tranel, AIA, LEED AP, of Gensler; Areta Pawlynsky, AIA, of Heintges; Billie Faircloth, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, of Kieran Timberlake; Fiona Cousins, PE, LEED AP BD+C, of Arup; Sameer Kumar, AIA, LEED AP, of SHoP; and Hauke Jungjohann of Thornton Tomasetti.
Lemay was originally founded in 1957 in Canada as an architectural practice.