The Steel Yard
, Rhode Island's industrial arts nonprofit, has been honored with a 2013 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), a prestigious national award honoring innovative urban placemaking. The Steel Yard is one of four Silver Medalists and has been recognized for its game changing site design of a 3.5 acre historic steel fabrication site and its positive impact on the city of Providence.
Awarded by the Bruner Foundation, Inc.
in its' 25th year of recognizing pioneering urban spaces, the Steel Yard was selected among over 90 projects submitted by 30 states. The RBA is one of the highest recognitions in architecture, planning and urban design, celebrating "urban places distinguished by quality design and their contributions to the social, economic, and communal vitality of American cities." Begun in 1987, the Bruner Foundation has awarded $1.2 million through RBA to 67 projects.
"Our twenty-fifth anniversary Rudy Bruner Award winners highlight the diversity of innovation in our cities today," says Simeon Bruner, founder of RBA. "They show us urban excellence at all scales and inspire us with their optimism."
The Steel Yard will receive an award of $10,000. Representatives of the Bruner Foundation will visit the Steel Yard this fall for a special awards ceremony and the kick-off of the Steel Yard's 10th anniversary celebration. The award recognizes the transformation of the Yard into "an environmentally responsible campus for arts education, workforce training, and small-scale manufacturing".
"This award is not only an acknowledgement of the hard work it took to transform the Steel Yard from a contaminated brownfield to an urban oasis, it is also a valuation of plans to bring the Yard to its fullest potential," says Helen Lang, executive director of the Steel Yard. "Entering our 10th year anniversary, we are working towards increasing our state-wide profile through our public projects, our Weld-to-Work training program, and our education efforts that inspire future generations of metal-work enthusiasts.
The Steel Yard was founded 10 years ago by Clay Rockefeller and Nick Bauta, Brown University and RI School of Design graduates who purchased the historic Providence Steel and Iron Co. in Providence's Industrial Valley alongside the Woonasquatucket River from its original owners. The site now serves as a catalyst for innovative approaches to urban revitalization, arts entrepreneurship, workforce development, small business incubation, and community growth. After an ambitious, $1.2 million environmental cleanup of the lead-contaminated site, the Steel Yard has been recognized by organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Providence Preservation Society, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and the Rhode Island Historical and Preservation Commission.