Presenting its annual architectural lighting awards April 30 at Town Hall in New York City to coincide with the Lightfair conference and trade show, the International Association of Lighting Designers honored a diverse field of six projects from around the world. Co-sponsored by the IALD and Architectural Lighting magazine, the 14th annual awards program, followed by dinner across the street at Laura Belle, presented four Awards of Merit and two top Awards of Excellence to LDs and projects located in four countries. Locales in Japan garnered three awards, while the lone US site was a project sponsored by the city of Cleveland.

Winning an Award of Excellence were LDs Ross De Alessi, IALD, and Brian Lockwood, of Seattle-based Ross De Alessi Lighting Design, for "City of Bridges." The illumination project celebrates the revitalization of Cleveland's Cuyahoga riverfront. Six bridges were lit for the city's bicentennial celebration last July, with two others slated for relighting after undergoing structural renovation. The lighting master plan ties together the east and west shores of the river, incorporating color, animation, and references to the city's industrial history. To illuminate one of the bridges adjacent to a popular restaurant, sodium fixtures form a base layer of warm color while a series of cues orchestrates a pulsation of filtered quartz uplights. After the effects begin to peak, the bridge lighting slowly cools, fading to white. "In this project, lighting is doing more than just revealing," according to the IALD judges. "It's becoming part of the community, and helping to revitalize an area. It feels like a celebration." Lighting Dimensions will spotlight this project in an upcoming issue.

The other Award of Excellence honored the Tokyo International Forum, with lighting designed by Claude Engle III and the late Danielle Engle of Washington, DC-based Claude R. Engle Lighting Consultant, in collaboration with Kaoru Mende and Yutaka Inaba of Lighting Planners Associates. The immense public complex, which includes a 145,000-sq.-m (475,600-sq.-ft.) forum, a 5,000-sq.-m. (16,400-sq.-ft.) exhibition hall, and a 5,000-seat multifunction hall, features a variety of lighting techniques the awards jury called "beautifully executed. Architecture and lighting are working together at so many levels of detail."

A mysterious array of bobbing lights appears to float over a Japanese hillside in "Fiber Wave," an installation that garnered an Award of Merit for Makoto Sei Watanabe of Makoto Sei Watanabe/Architects' Office. Built of 150 carbon-fiber rods measuring 4m (13.2') high, equipped with solar batteries and tipped with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the structure has become a sculptural presence near the Tokyo waterfront. The project generated lively discussion among the jury, who disputed whether "Fiber Wave" fit the category of sculpture, architecture, or landscaping. "We rallied behind it because it works on so many levels," concluded the judges.

The Merit winner representing Canada was Ottawa-based Philip Gabriel, IALD, of Gabriel/design. The LD's lighting for Festival Plaza in his hometown showcases a custom-designed luminaire that incorporates a flag pole, sail-like reflector, and 3000K metal-halide lamp. "The use of the light makes the plaza feel warm and inviting, at a time when people don't feel safe being out a lot," the jury said.

From the Netherlands, Hans Wolff of Hans Wolff & Partners was honored with an Award of Merit for his lighting design of the Theatre De Harmonie in Leeuwarden. Besides innovation in the foyer and public spaces, the main lighting of the main auditorium is accomplished with PAR-56 spotlights, while panels along the walls are actually sandblasted auto windshields backlit with dimmable incandescents. The judges praised the project's "sense of movement, anticipation, drama, and audacity."

Rounding out the Merit winners was Hideo Yasui of Yasui Hideo Atelier, for advanced cique, a retail store transformed into an illuminated stage for both products and people. Light appears to pour into the interior from every direction, with borders between walls and floor made ambiguous by means of light. A polycarbonate material is used for all surfaces to serve as a lighting diffuser. "It is difficult to work with diffuse light and lighted planes," the judges commented. "This project did it in a very successful way."

The judges for the awards were IALD members Barbara Bouyea, Randy Burkett, Barry Hannaford, and JoAnne Lindsley, plus architects Carolyn Iu, Jay Valgora, and Mehrdad Yazdani.

For the second year, the IALD also presented a $1,500 scholarship to a design student enrolled in a college program with an emphasis in architectural lighting. The 1997 IALD scholarship was awarded to Lesley Morgan of Midwest City, OK, to support her studies toward a bachelor's degree in architecture at Oklahoma State University. IALD president Randy Burkett, with an assist from LD Lee Waldron, also paid tribute to outgoing IALD executive administrator Maria Becerra, who after seven years of service is joining her husband to run the New York furniture showroom Millennium.

For more information about the IALD and next year's awards program, call 212/206-1281, or e-mail IALD@iald.org.