A modest Presbyterian church in McLean, designed by the Washington architectural firm of Hartman-Cox, is one of 11 winners of 1983 Honor Awards announced Sunday by the American Institute of Architects. It is the fourth time in 13 years that a building by the local firm has received an award in the annual AIA competition.
In recent years the AIA awards have varied enormously in building type, size and style, and this year's list, culled by a jury from 599 submissions, is no exception.
The biggest and most dramatic-looking winner is the Haj Terminal and Support Complex in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, designed by the Chicago and New York offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. It is a vast, technically sophisticated group of buildings designed to accommodate huge numbers of Moslem pilgrims traveling to and from Mecca, 43 miles away. The tent-like support structure, using cable, Teflon-coated Fiberglas roof units and steel pylons, was described by the jury as a "mirage-like building that floats above the desert floor."
The Hartman-Cox project (George Hartman, partner in charge, with Lee Becker, project architect) is at the opposite end of the spectrum in all respects. "We were really pleased to win with this one," Hartman said. "It is a very low-key project and it hardly cost anything at all."
Designed for Immanuel Presbyterian Church of McLean at a cost of $250,000, the project consists of a new sanctuary and fellowship hall added to an existing 19th-century farmhouse. The jury's report noted that "by creating a court between two structures, by adding a connecting arcade and by paying careful attention to color, scale and materials, the architects achieved a pleasing harmony between the old farmhouse and the new church without sacrificing originality in the latter." The interior of the church was lauded for its "extraordinary series of beautifully sunlit spaces."
Michael Graves' Post-Modernist Portland Building, a municipal office structure in Portland, Ore., and unquestionably the most controversial design in recent American architecture, won an award. It was singled out in the jury report for the "new language it speaks," offering "an alternative to the design and construction of modern office buildings." Welton Becket Associates earned an award for its painstaking restoration of the California Capitol in Sacramento, which had been closed in 1972 as an earthquake hazard.
Other nationally known firms receiving awards were Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown of Philadelphia, for two tiny, shingled residential buildings on the salt marshes of Block Island, R.I.; Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates of New York, for Best Products Corporate Headquarters in Richmond, a low, curving building with a sweeping fac,ade of glass brick; Richard Meier & Partners of New York, for the Hartford Seminary, a much-publicized building in white porcelain-enamel, praised as "a poetic interpretation of a rational theme"; and Taft Architects of Houston,, for a colorful, lively, somewhat Deco-like YWCA branch and office building in Houston.
Other winners include Hoover Berg Desmond of Denver, for a county administration building; Urban Forms of Los Angeles, for a high-density cluster of townhouses in Santa Monica, Calif.; and Wolf Associates of Charlotte, N.C., for a new county courthouse there.
Previous Hartman-Cox Honor Award winners are the Phillips Brewer house in Chevy Chase (1970), the chapel for Mount Vernon College on the campus near Foxhall Road (1971) and the National Permanent Building on Pennsylvania Avenue at 18th Street (1981).