Belo Center Wins "Merit Design Award"

Architects awarded prize for innovation, conservation

Belo Design Award Banner

The Lawrence Group, an architecture firm and designer of the Belo Center for New Media, won the prestigious "merit design award" for the company's work on the building from the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architects' annual Honor and Design Awards on April 11, 2013.

The Belo Center contains numerous innovative design and sustainability features, and received a coveted "gold certification" from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) earlier this month.

"Our primary goal was to provide the best for The University of Texas, the UT Austin campus, and Dean Hart and the College of Communication," said I. Earl Swisher, principal of the Lawrence Group. "It's also nice to be recognized within your peer group."

The process of choosing an architect began in 2008 when 15 major architectural firms were invited to submit proposals for building the Belo Center, the new building of the College of Communication.

The Lawrence Group was chosen from five finalists who were invited to campus to make a formal presentation. The building officially opened its doors for classes in August and was dedicated Nov. 1, 2012.

"We were the largest institutional project to win an award this year," said Swisher. "The Austin AIA appreciated the planning and contextual nature of the building working within the UT master plan guidelines while maintaining a framework of design similar to that of the CMA and CMB. We were also cited for clarity of site plan organization, building massing, and our focus on environmental features."

Located at the northeast corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe Streets, the $54.8 million Belo Center provides interactive classrooms and meeting space for more than 4,600 students in the College and houses the adjacent KUT Public Media Studios. The five-story, 120,000-square-foot building includes lecture halls, auditoria, student offices and meeting rooms, as well as spaces for film screenings and conferences for all college departments.

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer