The Top 10 Architectural Designs of 2019

Walker Evans Walker Evans The Top 10 Architectural Designs of 2019
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Each year, our readers vote for their favorite architectural designs presented over the course of the past 12 months to recognize high quality architecture and emphasize the importance of our built environment. Most architectural awards showcase completed projects, but the CU awards have always recognized the designs presented ahead of construction.

This year, over 900 participants voted and a somewhat controversial project was selected for having the number one architectural design: The McGown, a hotel proposal for Livingston Avenue in German Village.

The project was first unveiled in 2018 with a very different look from Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design. In September 2019, an update showcased a new look from architectural firm Moody Nolan, which our readers selected as the top design of the year.

Reception to the project has been somewhat mixed by German Village residents, who see the project’s height and density as an issue for the neighborhood.

“The team at Moody Nolan has done a great job keeping all stakeholders — community members, commissioners and the client — in mind while working to provide a distinctive design that complements its surroundings,” explained Michael Casey, Principal with Wickford Holdings, the developer behind the project. “A site this specific demands a great design, innovative problem solving, and a high degree of engagement.”

To mitigate the issues with massing, the architectural team at Moody Nolan have configured the building to be at its tallest fronting Downtown while stepping down in a tiered fashion as it progresses south into the neighborhood. More glass and metal faces Livingston Avenue while traditional brick designs face inward toward older homes.

“The transition of glass to brick not only calls attention to the Hotel’s grand entrance, it’s symbolic of the transition from the modern city into German Village,” stated Casey. “The metal tiles used at the higher elevations evoke the texture of slate roofs but at street levels the building is perceived as the familiar brick, glass, iron and wood. The rich tradition of urban gardens and green spaces inspired a large landscaped courtyard in the rear of the property and several accessible rooftop gardens to enjoy. The restoration of 489 City Park Ave into a new restaurant concept is an exciting preservation development opportunity as we marry the new to the old.”

Stay tuned to Columbus Underground as this development continues to progress through the review processes for additional updates.

For more information about Moody Nolan, visit

All visuals by Moody Nolan and EDGE.

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