The 2014 Webster Groves Awards of Excellence ceremony was held Dec. 4 at the Hawken House History Barn. The evening reception honored recipients representing excellence in architecture, historic preservation, landscape design and craftsmanship.

CRAFTSMANSHIP

Honorable Mention: 106 Mason Ave. — Two-story edition

This classic two-story home was built in 1925. The homeowners were looking to upgrade an uncomfortable family room and small master suite on the second floor. This was accomplished by removing a clumsy family room addition, while leaving intact the original sun room.

Architecturally, the addition fits seamlessly with the original two story stucco home. The new two-story volume sits back from the original front facade. The addition complements the house with matching roof pitches, window styles, details and materials.

The family room and bedroom above are oriented to the back yard and newly expanded patio while maintaining the covered porch access to the yard. The back of the home is as attractive as the front, with the addition mirroring the gable roof element on the north side of the home. Windows were placed based on exterior views and helped create an interesting composition on all elevations.

Award Of Excellence: 405 Newport — new garage

The owners at 405 Newport, after more than 20 years living with a tiny old garage, decided it was time to build a new garage in its place. A two-car garage required zoning variances because it was too close to the property lines and the street, with little room behind. Zoning restrictions also considered this a front entry garage, requiring another variance.

Regardless of zoning regulations, the owners did not desire a typical garage with huge doors facing the street, but rather something that had the character of a cottage that served as a garage. The architect suggested bi-passing walls with operating doors and windows within the wall panels.

The cottage-slash-garage looks much like separate living quarters on the property, and many neighbors thought just that. The cottage captures the character of the home in many ways. The band board with scalloped-shingle-siding above in the gable with bracket and attic vent is a detail identical to the original house. The cottage also has doors, windows with flower boxes, and an inset area at the entry door with a simple column that mimics the porch of the house.

The owner also incorporated a new cobble paver walk from the garage door to the back porch, new picket fencing, a cozy side patio next to the garage, grass pavers in place of a driveway, an arbor entry to the back yard, and new planting areas throughout.

ARCHITECTURE

Honorable Mention: 301 E. Lockwood Ave. — Webster Groves Library addition

In February 2009 Webster Groves voters approved a library tax increase, most of which was dedicated to funding an addition. A building committee consisting of library staff, board members and citizen volunteers was convened to consider architects.

The team selected was the St. Louis architectural firm of Powers-Bowersox, general contractor Demien Construction, and lighting design by Randy Burkett. The library held its grand opening on Dec. 8, 2012 with a new building that grew from 11,000 square feet to nearly 21,000.

The main entry (which is actually the back door) has dark gray slate tile in the atrium. A high skylight brings in light throughout the day and provides a view of the cupola on the old building with its notable weather vane. There is also a public meeting room and main stacks on the first floor. On the second floor is a larger children's room, with nearly three times the space it had before. A lower level reference room and computer area is a quiet escape from the rest of the library.

One of the most important requirements for the design of the building was that the façade of the old building, as seen on Lockwood Avenue, should not change.

Award Of Excellence: 8725 Big Bend — Architextures — office renovation

Completed in May of 2013, the new offices for Architextures, LLC opened its doors after six-plus months of design and construction. The building had its share of challenges, as it had been vacant for 14 years, suffering from a leaky roof and a façade that was crumbling.

To prepare for the new façade, it was determined that everything below the main beam would have to be removed and much of the existing brick above would need to be concealed. After demolition, partial height stud walls were built on top of the finish floor with a new anodized silver aluminum. A glass storefront was installed to give an abundance of natural light that was lacking in the old office.

All around the storefront and over the front doors, the bright powder coated orange metal and stainless steel panels give it a futuristic look.

One of the main design concepts for the interior was keeping the space open with no individual offices. The owners desired to give the inside a new contemporary feel without overspending, so it was determined to keep and paint the original stamped panel ceiling. In front, a white reception desk is contrasted by the down-lit, fabric-wrapped panels, and textured, chocolate-colored wall covering behind.

Award Of Excellence: 215 Gray Ave. — "Active House"

The first of its kind on the continent, the Active House at 215 Gray was built to operate at near-zero energy, accomplished by harnessing the natural elements and weather patterns and merging these with the needs of the homeowner.

Architect Jeff Day collaborated with engineers in Denmark and local builder Kim Hibbs – as well as sustainability guru, Matt Belcher.

Consideration was giving to the natural direction of heat flow, and its impact on ceiling heights. Consideration was also given to the sun's free natural light (and heat in the winter) and its relationship to window and door placement on walls.

"Smart home" technology was incorporated to run the home (HVAC/lighting, etc) from any computer, smart phone, or tablet. The HVAC system is a 98 percent efficient forced air system. The electricity and hot water are both supplemented by solar panels. The home is also lit with well-placed skylights that operate with solar power panels.

Award Of Excellence: 545 Garden Ave. — East Academic Building

The East Academic Building, located on the main campus of Webster University, is the new home to the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology. The cost of the was $29 million. The building contains three levels, 31 classrooms, 10 large computer labs, 48 offices, two lobbies and features the most up-to-date instruction design and technology.

The building was certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) level "gold" in 2013, the second highest level for the sustainability certification.

Highlights include use of natural light in the building, its close proximity to public transportation and other services, bicycle lockers and changing rooms for bike riders, green roofs, rain gardens, energy efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, and a 35 percent reduction in overall energy usage in the entire structure.

A single-ply membrane roof was incorporated to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. Two green roofs help with the reduction of the "heat island" effect as well and reduce the amount of rainwater runoff. Another unique sustainability feature is installed in front of the building; an EnGo Public Charging Station powered through solar panels and kinetic charging tiles that produce electricity every time someone walks across them.

The site contains two rain gardens designed to reduce stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces of the facility. Indigenous plantings are placed to enhance the design of the building and campus master plan.

LANDSCAPE

Award Of Excellence: North Gore and West Kirkham — Webster Groves Sculpture Garden

Situated within a compact, half-acre site along one of the city's major corridors, the Webster Groves Sculpture Garden has quickly become both a destination and asset for the community. The Webster Groves Sculpture Garden serves as a gateway into the city and provides residents a place to gather, enjoy nature and beautiful works of art. Colorful plantings with seasonal interest were a primary goal of the design.

The stone walls throughout the garden are strong unifying elements. The walls, like the garden's plant material, are whimsical and playful in nature.

Five unique pieces support the promotion of public art as an amenity with room for future installations. The garden's collection of art and native colorful plant material will provide a dynamic framework to be enjoyed for many years to come.