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Lemay Wins Top Honors At The “Reimagine A New York City Icon” Competition


Lemay wins highest honors in the “Reimagine a New York City Icon” open anonymous international competition, the 2016 Design Challenge sponsored by Metals in Construction magazine and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York. Inspired by the United States Climate Action Plan and the Architecture 2030 Challenge, the mandate of the competition was to reimagine 200 Park Avenue (formerly the Pan Am Building, now the MetLife Building) which was built a half‐century ago as the world’s largest corporate structure and was also the last building designed by famous modernist architect Walter Gropius.  

Lemay’s proposal, titled “Farm Follows Fiction”, was retained as one of the winners of the competition that recorded 109 participants from around the world. Five proposals shared the top honors alongside Lemay including well-known firms such as FXFOWLE, SHoP and AECOM. Created through a collaborative design effort led by the design innovation cell LemayLAB and involving multidisciplinary talents from Lemay’s Sustainability and Escobar Design teams as well as from Ecosystem and Sefaira – two firms specialized in energy efficiency –, the concept aims to reposition the architectural icon in the heart of New Yorkers while drastically reducing its energy consumption by targeting a net zero carbon footprint. With a bold visual style inspired by graphic novels, the proposal playfully narrates how the MetLife building is transformed into a collective resource for the Midtown community, therefore becoming the world’s tallest farm. The concept also innovates by proposing that the new building actively promotes healthy lifestyles and quality of life, thus embodying the insurance company’s core mission.

During the unveiling of the winners, the jury commented that the Lemay proposal was inspiring and clearly visionary, ie “a project for the future of building”, and an essential project that exudes the level of innovation required to achieve the Architecture 2030 Challenge.

The panel of six competition jurors included some of the best-known experts in sustainable design from the fields of architecture and engineering: Ben Tranel, AIA, LEED AP, of Gensler; Areta Pawlynsky, AIA, of Heintges; Billie Faircloth, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, of Kieran Timberlake; Fiona Cousins, PE, LEED AP BD+C, of Arup; Sameer Kumar, AIA, LEED AP, of SHoP; andHauke Jungjohann of Thornton Tomasetti.


Founded in 1957 as an architectural practice, Lemay is one of Canada’s leading integrated design services firms, merging architecture, urban design, interiors, landscape, engineering, sustainability and branding into a multidisciplinary and synergistic ensemble. With 10 offices worldwide (including a New York office since 2015) and ranked 79th according to the World Architecture (WA), Lemay is also one of Canada’s most creative and awarded firms, with over 300 awards and prizes. Leveraging its unique blend of creativity, capacity and expertise, Lemay champions its clients’ aspirations, enhances users’ quality of life and strives to build a brighter future for our communities.


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