The Thornburg Foundation announces that George Pearl Hall, home of the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning and the Fine Arts and Design Library, is receiving the 2012 Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture. The winner of the $10,000 prize is the most prestigious recognition for a single building bestowed in New Mexico.

Formal presentation of the 2012 Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture is set for Friday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 p.m. at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning in the Pearl Hall auditorium.

Following the awards ceremony the annual Harnar Lecture is scheduled, featuring Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, principals of the New York design firm Weiss Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism. A reception and opening of the 2012 Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture exhibition caps off the evening in the Pearl Hall Gallery.

Pearl Hall was selected from submissions of completed projects throughout New Mexico. George Pearl Hall is a 108,000 square feet, five-story landmark located on the south side of the UNM main campus. It was designed by the Albuquerque firm of Antoine Predock, Architect, in association with Jon Anderson Architecture, the executive architect for the facility.

"Pearl Hall provides a striking landmark at an important gateway to the campus, and embodies a reinvented sense of its regional context. Within the building, the design encourages interaction and fosters creativity of its users," Jury Chair Larry Speck, FAIA, said.

The jury – a distinguished panel that included architects Larry Speck, FAIA, of Austin, Texas; Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA, Miami Beach, Fla.; and Landscape Architect Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA, with offices in Phoenix, Ariz., and Austin, Texas, – selected three additional projects for special commendation. Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary School, designed for the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) by James Lucero, AIA, with Jon Anderson Architecture, received an honorable Mention, the runner-up designation in the competition.

Three other projects received citations of merit from the Jury: the recently completed Isleta Tribal Services Complex designed by the Albuquerque firm of Rohde May Keller McNamara Architecture (RMKM), the Technology Center + Classroom Building located on the UNM Gallup campus and also designed by RMKM, and the renovation of 120 Vassar Drive SE – the Design Group Headquarters in Albuquerque undertaken by the Hartman + Majewski Design Group.

The Jeff Harnar Award for Contemporary Architecture, established by the Thornburg Charitable Foundation, was created to encourage creativity and excellence in design and to honor the memory of Jeff Harnar, a talented Santa Fe architect who successfully crafted modern materials and innovative design for projects that reside comfortably and respectfully with the rich architectural heritage and diversity in New Mexico.

Speck, former dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin, and a principal with the firm Page Southerland Page, noted that the selection panel was given the difficult task of selecting a single project for the Harnar top award that, in its estimation, best fulfilled the criteria for this unique and distinguished prize.

As with Harnar Award programs conducted in previous years, the selection panel was impressed by the breadth, creativity and quality of the submitted entries.

See slideshow from the event.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu