Some of the best masonry buildings built in the United States over the past 2 years are indeed beautiful buildings, but the selection of winners was based on more than aesthetics. The judges also considered innovations in the way the building was designed or built, use of innovative materials and cost-saving methods, and environmental awareness in the design and construction.

This year's competition was led by Colin Munro, a consultant from Batavia, Ill. This was Munro's second year in the chairman's seat, and he did his usual exemplary job. Colin is well-known as one of the most knowledgeable people in America on masonry design and construction.

Joining Munro in the judging this year were J. Patrick Rand, a professor of architecture at North Carolina State University; Daniel Shapiro, principal of SOHA Engineers in San Francisco; and William D. Palmer Jr., editor of Masonry Construction.

Pat Rand, president-elect of The Masonry Society, teaches architects about masonry in a variety of settings, from undergraduate and graduate university classes to the University Professors' Masonry Workshop (where he has led the architecture track for many years). His classes at NC State are famous for the masonry projects his students devise.

Dan Shapiro is one of the world's top seismic designers. He and his firm, SOHA Engineers, have done the structural work on many masonry buildings in California's high seismic regions. Shapiro led the Building Seismic Safety Council's committee that developed the seismic risk category maps for the entire nation.

Bill Palmer became a judge by default when Dick Lauber, Masonry Construction's Industry Leader of the Year for 2000, was unable to attend the judging. Palmer reviewed the entries with an eye toward construction issues.

This group of judges reviewed 50 entries in six different categories. Every masonry project entered had something interesting and unique and beautiful, which made the decisions difficult.