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The Cambridge Public Library has received the 2010 Harleston Parker Medal for the “Single Most Beautiful Building” built in the metropolitan Boston area in the past 10 years, from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). A jury of nine professionals selected the project from 96 nominated projects. According to the Harleston Parker Jury Report, the Cambridge Public Library "exhibits formal beauty as well as beauty of purpose, and the experience of the building as a place is not only beautiful for its form, its building science, its sustainable design, its materials, its program, but also for the vibrant activity and undisputable joy within.” The Report also cites the project for its democratic openness to the community, as well as the strong civic involvement and close client/architect partnership that led to its success.

The Cambridge Public Library had also received an Annual Design Review Award from ARCHITECT Magazine. The Annual Design Review is ARCHITECT Magazine’s annual awards program “showcasing the best American architecture of the year.” The Library received one of nine Awards given from nearly 300 entries. The jury praised the project for its transparency and abundant natural daylighting; the “indoor-outdoor connection being strengthened by aligning the first floor with the ground plane” which makes the park appear to extend from the rooms; the use of a paved courtyard connecting the new and old buildings; and “the way the new building offers an elegant counterpoint to the Richardsonian Romanesque building it joins.”

These awards represent two of the 22 honors and awards that Cambridge Public Library has received since it opened in November 2009. Here is a list of some of them.

Award  Bestowing Organization
2015 National Honor Award for Architecture American Institute of Architects (AIA)
2012 CNU Charter Award Congress for the New Urbanism
2010 Harleston Parker Medal (photos of the award ceremony) Boston Society of Architects
2010 Honor Award for Design Excellence Boston Society of Architects
2010 Award for Interior Design/Interior Architecture Boston Society of Architects
2010 Honor Award for Design Excellence AIA New England
2010 Annual Design Review Award ARCHITECT Magazine
2010 Preservation Award Massachusetts Historical Commission
2010 Integrated Design/Integrated Development Award (IDID) for Excellence in Sustainable Design New Hampshire AIA
2010 AGC Aon Build America Award Associated General Contractors of America
One of the 10 Best Boston-Area Buildings of the Decade (2000-2010) Boston Herald
2010 Library Design Showcase American Libraries Magazine
2010 Citation for Innovative Envelope System Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) – Beyond Green High-Performance Building Awards

In December 2010, the City of Cambridge also announced that it had achieved a LEED® Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute for the Cambridge Public Library Project. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.