Plaza wins big

The beautifully restored Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park was the big winner at this year’s design awards, presented virtually by the American Institute of Architects El Paso Chapter.

The firms of Cooper Carry and In*Situ Architecture won the Jury Prize for their thoughtful, glamourous renovation of the Plaza, a Trost-designed landmark. Owner Paul Foster spent $78 million bringing it back to life.

Atlanta-based Cooper Carry was the lead design and architect of record. In*Situ, an El Paso firm, was the local consulting architect, and principal Bill Helm is writing a book about the Plaza’s history and rebirth.

Helm also won an Honor Award for restoration work on an adobe home built near Santa Fe using plans created by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was featured in El Paso Inc. Magazine in 2018.

Other Honor Awards went to Root Architects for their renovation of the Abdou Building, and to Alvidrez Architecture for the athletic complex at Bel Air High School.

Merit Awards honored Root Architecture’s Working Capitol building, a shared workspace; MNK Architects for El Paso Community College’s Transmountain Campus; and firms Perkins + Will and In*Situ for UTEP’s new Interdisciplinary Research Building.

Citation Awards went to MNK Architects for their Famous Dave’s franchise concept; to PSRBB Architecture for Ysleta High School; and to MNK for Eastwood High School.

Grand news

This year’s Sun Bowl Parade will be a virtual affair, but the grand marshals will be two real, live people: brothers Alvin and Aaron Jones.

Aaron, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, and twin brother Alvin, a free agent, were raised in a military family. Both parents were Army sergeant majors at Fort Bliss, and the brothers say they learned the importance of giving back to the community.

As adults, they started their own nonprofit, A&A All the Way Foundation, which works to improve the lives of the nation’s youth.

The Jones brothers will lead Oscar Leeser’s Hyundai of El Paso Sun Bowl Parade, virtually, starting at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day on Channel 9 KTSM and online at  

According to the Sun Bowl Association, the game is set for noon Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Can’t think of a better way to end the year!

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