09.15.08

DDD Wins International Award for Effort to Transform Downtown BR

The International Downtown Association (IDA) announced today that the Baton Rouge Downtown Development District (DDD) is the recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award in Transportation for developing and implementing the Downtown Baton Rouge Wayfinding Signage Project.  The Outstanding Achievement Award is the highest award given by the organization and only one is given per year. It is considered the ‘best of the best’ throughout the IDA participants worldwide.

“This award is a tremendous honor for the City of Baton Rouge and reflects the continued progress building in our Downtown area,” said Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden. “Our wayfinding signs not only make downtown easier to navigate; they also tell the story of Baton Rouge’s rich cultural heritage, for which we were recognized by the White House as a Preserve America Community.  
 
“As our city rebounds from Hurricane Gustav, I asked our delegation to the conference to let everyone know the wonderful spirit of our community is alive and Baton Rouge is ready to receive visitors who want to visit a growing downtown center.”

The 2008 Downtown Achievement Awards were presented at an awards ceremony and luncheon that was held this Saturday, September 13, 2008, during the IDA’s 54th Annual Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

As the first phase of the Downtown Visitors’ Amenity Plan (DVAP), the DDD’s Wayfinding Signage Project sought to dramatically improve Downtown’s streetscape and enhance its unique visual identity. More than “just” signs, this innovative navigational system tells a story about the distinct culture of the region, while performing the critical function of helping people find their way. Through a series of thirty-four individually designed interpretive panels and two illuminated kiosks, local artists and designers’ blended color and architectural patterns with elements from our heritage to create “streetscape art.”

“The unique combination of artistry and functionality that is apparent in every component of our wayfinding system doesn’t just help get visitors where they need to go—it allows them to discover some of Baton Rouge’s most valuable cultural treasures along the way,” said DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer.  “On behalf of our entire staff and Board of Directors, I can say we are all incredibly proud of this project and very honored to have earned this prestigious award from the IDA—a world leader in downtown revitalization."

In total, the DDD has installed more than 81 new or updated wayfinding elements as part of the comprehensive multimillion-dollar visitors’ amenity plan that promises to transform the “Downtown experience.”

For the 23rd year, the IDA honored exemplary projects in the field of downtown revitalization through its Downtown Achievement Awards. Within 15 juried categories that cover all aspects of planning, design, development, management, business retention, marketing and communication, the IDA Downtown Achievement Awards annually celebrate the most successful and innovative efforts in worldwide downtown development.

“The number and breadth of entries received this year made judging a very difficult task, but this project stood out among the rest,” said IDA President Dave Feehan.  “The creative and innovative tactics that the DDD and its partners exercised in funding, developing and implementing the Downtown Baton Rouge Wayfinding Signage Project make this initiative an extraordinary case study for best practices in planning and design.  It will be looked to as a model for others for many years to come.”  

Including the Baton Rouge Downtown Development District, awards were also given to projects and programs across the United States and include international locations such as Singapore, South Africa, and Canada.

A world-class team of designers led by Sasaki & Associates and WHL Architects and assisted by Covalent Logic and ABMB Engineers developed the award-winning Downtown Baton Rouge Wayfinding Signage Plan.

A diverse group of agencies, businesses and organizations also spent countless hours providing input on the plan.  The DDD’s broad base of community partners includes:

Funding Partners: City of Baton Rouge, Downtown Development District, State of Louisiana, Congressman Richard Baker, HUD, FTA, CATS.

Community Partners: Old State Capitol, New State Capitol, Old Governor’s Mansion, Louisiana Arts & Science Museum, USS KIDD Nautical Museum, River Center, Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum, Manship Theatre, Arsenal Museum, Pentagon Barracks, Capitol Park, Louisiana State Museum, Capitol Park Welcome Center, Now and Then African American Museum, Main Street Market, Hilton Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Sheraton, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, City of Baton Rouge Department of Public Works, State of Louisiana Department of Transportation Development, CATS (Capitol Area Transit System).

Design Team and Fabrication: WHLC Architects, Sasaki Associates, Covalent Logic, ABMB Engineers, Gable Signs, Architectural Graphics Inc.,

Photographers: Brian Baiamonte, David Humphreys, Chipper Hatter, Bill Good.
 
Since its inception in 1987, the Downtown Development District has been passionate in its work to initiate, incubate and support partnerships that develop and enhance Downtown Baton Rouge. Because of these efforts and the support of many others in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Louisiana’s Capitol City is transforming into a thriving 24-hour community where people come from all over the world to live work and play.

The International Downtown Association is a world leader of and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Through its network of committed individuals, its rich body of knowledge and its unique capacity to nurture community-building partnerships, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well being of towns, cities and regions of the world.
 

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