The Town of Atlantic Beach, NC, used an international design competition to select the architects to lead the design of a major upgrade to its oceanside boardwalk and surrounding areas. Over 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms submitted designs for the competition. After narrowing the field to three finalists, the Competition Jury selected KUTONOTUK of Charlottesville, VA as the winner. Second place went to FORMA from New York City. Third place was awarded to Lewis Williams of Hudson Architects in Norwich, England.
Atlantic Beach Mayor, Trace Cooper, noted that “the jury had a very difficult decision—all three finalists submitted excellent designs, and any one of them would have led to a great new boardwalk.”
The jury ultimately chose KUTONOTUK because of how well their approach integrated ecology back into the boardwalk while also providing needed amenities, including a new pavilion to host events such as music festivals and movie nights.
In part, the jury awarded first place to KUTONOTUK because of their strategy, which recognized that “The Beach is the Star” and chose to keep their design relatively simple. This less commercial approach also resonated with many of the people who provided public input, including one respondent who commented, “It keeps the beach the focus. Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach are NOT what we want here. Kutonotuk nailed it!”
Matthew Jull of KUTONOTUK commented on their interest in this competition. “What initially attracted us to the competition was that it addressed what we think are some of the most important issues of our time. Within a town with such a rich history and in such a dynamic environment, how do we create new spaces for people to come together to strengthen the community while simultaneously meeting the challenges of the future? The fact that this key question was being asked through a public process was a major inspiration.”
Leena Cho of KUTONOTUK continued, “For us, the new boardwalk needed to act both as a central gathering space for the town and an extension to private patios and gardens of many adjacent homes and businesses. Instead of privileging one over the other, our design combined the two with a two-level boardwalk that is unique to the site, providing flexible use and connection to the urban coastal landscape.”
Subject to the Town Council’s approval of a design agreement, KUTONOTUK will start to refine their design this summer. Over 1,000 people responded to a survey about the boardwalk designs, including hundreds who provided detailed comments. These public comments, as well as input from the Town Council and homeowners along the boardwalk, will be considered as the design evolves. “We look forward to working with the community, the Jury, and the Town Council in the next stages of this incredibly exciting public space project,” stated Matthew Jull.
The town is actively seeking grant funding to help pay for the boardwalk improvements and hopes to begin constructing the first phase of the new boardwalk this winter.
**Please note that the design is not final. KUTONOTUK will be visiting Atlantic Beach this summer to collect input directly from our citizens and will refine the design based on this public input.**
The Town of Atlantic Beach, NC, is using an international design competition to select the architects to lead the design of a major upgrade to its oceanside boardwalk and surrounding areas. Over 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms submitted designs for the competition. The competition’s jury anonymously selected three finalists from a very strong field of designs from all over the world.
The finalists are FORMA from New York City, KUTONOTUK out of Charlottesville, VA, and Hudson Architects from the United Kingdom.
Each finalist delivered a detailed presentation of their design to the competition’s jury on April 13th. We are now asking for input on the designs from the public.
To see summaries of each design and provide your input, please visit:
The Town of Atlantic Beach, NC is using an international design competition to select the architects to lead the design of a major upgrade to its oceanside boardwalk and surrounding areas. Over 50 architecture and landscape architecture firms submitted designs for the competition. The competition’s jury selected three finalists from a very strong field of designs from all over the world.
The finalists are FORMA from New York City, KUTONOTUK out of Charlottesville, VA, and Lewis Williams of Hudson Architects in London, UK.
Below are the finalist’s designs:
“This competition has been a game-changer,” notes Atlantic Beach Mayor, Trace Cooper. “We were overwhelmed by the high level of interest and design shown by the competition submissions. It is now clear to me that every significant public building project should incorporate a competition format.”
The first stage of the competition was anonymous—the jury did not know the names or locations of the firms behind each design. In the second stage of the competition, the firms will refine their designs based on feedback from the Town and the jury and will present their second stage design via video conference. After the initial presentation, the Town will solicit public input on the finalists and the jury will select a winner taking into consideration comments from the public. The intent is to award the design contract for the new boardwalk and surrounding areas to the winning firm.
The town intends to build a new boardwalk, a new bathhouse, and a multi-use pavilion on the site of the legendary Pavilion that anchored the boardwalk for decades before being demolished in more recent years.
“To develop a world-class project, you have to start with world-class design,” states Mayor Cooper, “our finalists have definitely delivered world-class design.”
In addition to the three finalists, the jury awarded Honorable Mentions to the following designers and firms:
Robert Liu (Ontario, Canada); Zhoufan Chen with Unfold Plane (Los Angeles, CA); Eric Davis with Surface (Durham NC); Pyry Kuismin & Kristian Paavilainen (Finland); Armida Fernandez with Estudio ALA (Mexico); Nadine Sam and Jose Isturain (Panama); and Honglin Li (San Fransisco, USA).
Details on the finalists follow. They are listed in alphabetical order.
FORMA. Founded in 2018, FORMA is a licensed, full-service architecture firm led by Miroslava Brooks and Daniel Markiewicz in New York City. FORMA’s overlapping interests in form and its capacity to enrich our daily experiences fuels a rich portfolio of work ranging from commons to homes. Committed to developing projects with architectural clarity, conceptual rigor, and stellar execution, FORMA’s projects offer public and private clients a harmonious combination of order and whimsy, ensuring functionality, inclusivity, high-performance, and inspiration for a wide variety of users and inhabitants. Prior to founding FORMA, the principals worked on large-scale institutional projects at Eisenman Architects, Pelli Clarke & Partners, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Among FORMA’s most recent projects is Pink Thermal Baths, a 32,000 square-foot structure that pairs the leisure activities of a bathhouse with the utilitarian functions of a data center in the California Desert.
Project Credits: Miroslava Brooks, Daniel Markiewicz, Kyle Troyer
KUTONOTUK. KUTONOTUK is an architecture and landscape architecture office working to redefine the nature of cities, buildings, and public space. Since forming in 2011, the office has received national and international recognition in 17 prestigious competitions and has been featured in over 30 publications & 20 exhibitions in North America, Asia, and Europe, including the Venice Architecture Biennale (2021), The Smithsonian Museum of American History (2019), The Kunsthalle Helsinki (2015), and The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) PS1 Young Architects program (2013). Their work has been featured in major international design competitions, including the Guggenheim Museum Helsinki International Design Competition (Honorable Mention, 2015) and the Helsinki Central Library Design Competition (Honorable Mention, 2013). KUTONOTUK is led by co-founders Leena Cho and Matthew Jull. In addition to anchoring the landscape architecture and urban design side of the firm, Leena is also an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Program Director at the UVA School of Architecture. Previously she has worked in the offices of Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (Cambridge), and at Maxwan in Rotterdam NL. She completed her MLA with distinction in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard GSD. Matthew is a licensed architect in the Netherlands and is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the UVA School of Architecture. Matthew has previously worked at the offices of SOM (New York), Thomas Phifer and Partners, Stephen Holl, and at OMA/Rem Koolhaas in the Netherlands as an architect and project leader. He holds a Ph.D. in geophysics from Cambridge University and an M.Arch from the Harvard GSD.
LEWIS WILLIAMS. Lewis is an architectural designer based in the UK, working for practice Hudson Architects. He recently completed his postgraduate studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London where he developed a bold, crafted, and sustainably focused design and technical language, exploring how small urban interventions could allow the public realm to better serve its inhabitants. His design ethos is first and foremost people orientated, believing that careful yet exciting design solutions, coupled with careful consideration for the existing place serve to generate more vibrant, cohesive, and more integrated communities. He has experience working on both large- and small-scale design and landscape projects with both sustainable and behavior-focused principles both in the UK and abroad.
Project Credits: Lewis Williams, Janis Ho
Press inquiries for the Town of Atlantic Beach should be directed to Mayor Trace Cooper at email@example.com