Mayor Adams Unveils Dazzling Victors Of Prestigious Awards For Exemplary Public Design

June 28, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Public Design Commission (PDC) Executive Director Sreoshy Banerjea today announced the winners of the 40th and 41st Annual Awards for Excellence in Design.

The 21 winning projects were selected by PDC from hundreds of submissions and reviewed in 2021 and 2022. Each winning project embodies the intrinsic link between design excellence, performance, and functionality — ensuring they not only meet the aesthetic aspirations of the city, but also serve the needs of its diverse neighborhoods. This year’s combined awards focus on playgrounds, libraries, artwork, multipurpose spaces, and memorials that enrich the lives of New Yorkers and foster a sense of belonging. The projects that were honored demonstrate the transformative impact design can have in the next chapter of the city’s recovery in building a stronger and more inclusive New York.

“Design excellence transcends the realm of aesthetic values — it encompasses a holistic approach to creating environments that not only captivate the senses but also promote equity, sustainability, and social cohesion,” said Mayor Adams. “As we envision a future that values inclusivity and harmony, we must ensure that every borough has equitable access to thoughtfully designed public spaces, neighborhood civic buildings, and inspiring artwork that resonates with individuals across generations. These spaces embody our commitment to creating an equitable society, where everyone can flourish and benefit from the transformative power of well-designed environments. As mayor, I am proud to be championing the importance of design excellence in all aspects of urban development.”

“Investing in design excellence yields significant economic benefits for our city and enhances the quality of life for all residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres- Springer. “I am grateful to our dedicated city agencies and consultant teams that are working tirelessly to ensure our capital projects embody the values of equity, sustainability, and aesthetics. Your collective efforts ensure our city will continue to be a thriving, welcoming, and culturally rich metropolis.” 


“New Yorkers and our city’s visitors will benefit from the beautiful and thoughtfully designed public spaces celebrated today,” said Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi. “I applaud all of the city agencies who have created functional spaces that center design excellence and equity, enriching the space where we live, work, and play.”

“Each awarded project embodies the intrinsic link between design, performance, and functionality, ensuring they not only meet the aesthetic aspirations of our city, but also prioritize the needs and aspirations of our diverse communities and inspire all those who call New York City home,” said PDC Executive Director Banerjea.

“Design excellence is about more than what — what material or color or form. It’s about the who — who are we designing for, and did they have meaningful opportunities to contribute their perspective?” said PDC President Deborah Marton. “Today’s projects demonstrate the Adams administration’s strong commitment to ensuring public buildings and civic spaces welcome and serve every New Yorker — congratulations!”


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“DDC and its staff and consultants are once again honored to be recognized by the Public Design Commission with multiple awards,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “DDC engages some of the best designers and artists in the world, including through its Design & Construction Excellence Program, and we recognize that exemplary public design is critical to our success as an agency and to our ability to deliver the best projects for New Yorkers.”

“The Public Design Commission has set the standard for using thoughtful design to build a better city for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “DOT is honored to be recognized alongside these outstanding public works that enrich the built environment while meeting the unique needs of diverse communities. I thank the hardworking DOT staff for prioritizing equitable design, sustainable practices, and innovative streetscape improvements these past two years.”

“Great public art and public buildings can have a transformative effect on life in our city,” said New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “The Department of Cultural Affairs is committed to working with our partners to create engaging public artworks through our Percent for Art program and to build world-class cultural infrastructure through our unique strategy for public investment in cultural capital projects. I thank the Public Design Commission for this incredible honor and applaud all of the artists and design teams whose work is being recognized today.”

“At DEP, we are working to continue New York City’s proud legacy of design excellence in infrastructure projects,” said New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “I want to thank the Public Design Commission for its partnership in advancing our work to enrich the city’s environment, protect public health, and prepare New York for the challenges of the changing climate. Congratulations to all the award-winning project teams!”

“NYC Parks is honored to be included in the Public Design Commission’s 41st Annual Awards for Excellence in Design,” said New York City Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “The excellence celebrated by these awards goes beyond aesthetics — informed by community input, we create inspiring environments that promote equity, sustainability, and social cohesion. These projects demonstrate the power of good public design and will be transformative and unique to their neighborhoods. We are proud to be bringing accessibility, expanding areas of natural respite, and creating welcoming gathering spaces for all.”

“NYCEDC is honored to celebrate this award in recognition of our work on Lower Concourse in the South Bronx,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “The 2021 rezoning has helped transform the area into a gateway to the Bronx, providing millions of New Yorkers with accessible infrastructure between the boroughs.”

Since 1983, PDC has recognized well-designed public projects with its Annual Awards for Excellence in Design. The winning projects are selected from the submissions reviewed by the commission the previous year and exemplify how innovative and thoughtful design can enhance the public realm, serve communities, inspire neighborhood pride, and provide durable and resilient space for New Yorkers. The projects being honored demonstrate the transformative impact of planning multipurpose spaces, designing impactful artwork and memorials, and creating innovative landscapes that are accessible, welcoming, and reflective of the needs and aspirations of our diverse communities.

“No gate has been named in Central Park since the original names were given in 1862, and the Gate of the Exonerated will leave a permanent, lasting impact for generations to come. To be honored with an Excellence in Design Award is a reaffirmation of this gate inscription, which the Conservancy worked diligently with the Harlem community to achieve,”

“No gate has been named in Central Park since the original names were given in 1862, and the Gate of the Exonerated will leave a permanent, lasting impact for generations to come. To be honored with an Excellence in Design Award is a reaffirmation of this gate inscription, which the Conservancy worked diligently with the Harlem community to achieve,” said Betsy Smith, president and CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “Congratulations to the Conservancy team, Harlem Community Board 10, and NYC Parks, who have delivered a thoughtful, elegant design to honor all of those wrongfully convicted of crimes.”

Photo credit: 1). 2-3) The Exonerated. 4) Collage of projects in all five boroughs that are enhancing public spaces, providing cultural and recreational amenities, fostering a sense of belonging, and inspiring every generation.

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