Back to Blog

Chamber of Commerce Now Accepting Applications for 54th Annual Building Awards Program

Kristin Foye - August 20, 2015

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the Annual Building Awards Program now through September 14, 2015. Open to the entire Staten Island community, the Building Awards program celebrates the best in construction and design for commercial and residential properties on Staten Island. Homeowners with new construction or renovations, contractors, engineers, architects, interior designers, landscapers, and craftsman are all encouraged to submit entries that show off quality and beautiful work. New residential and commercial structures, as well as renovation projects are eligible.

Judging will be held on October 9, 2015 and the 54th Building Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, December 4, 2015, where entries will be awarded.

Chairing this year’s program is Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, ABR, CRS, GREEN, GRI, SRES, Broker/Owner, of Claire Properties, and Alfred V. Saulo, of Alfred V. Saulo Architects, P.C. The Building Awards Program is sponsored by National Grid and TD Bank.

To obtain an application, or for more information on the Building Awards program, please contact the Chamber Office at (718) 727-1900 or email Joyce Suss at


There are four classes of entries in the program:

1.    Residential
2.    Commercial (includes office buildings, banks, schools, restaurants, etc.)
3.    Historic Restoration
4.    Sandy Restoration

There are 8 categories:
1. Exterior
This category applies to the general design/construction of the exterior of a residential or commercial structure. Exterior entries should be submitted by the architect for design and the builder for construction.

2. Interior
This category applies to the general design and construction of the interior of a residential or commercial structure. Interior entries should be submitted by the architect and interior designer for design and the builder for construction.

3. Craftsmanship
This category applies to a particular part of a project, such as a handmade fireplace, staircase, stained-glass window, or other items that become an integral part of the structure. It is not for general craftsmanship, which is judged in the general interior or exterior entries.

4. Natural Beauty
This category recognizes the practical and aesthetic use of Staten Island’s natural terrain. The award may also be presented for the creation of “natural beauty” through landscaping that enhances a structure or project in the community.

5. Interior Decorating
This category applies to interior decorating/design by creating beauty through the proper choice of color, lighting, as well as furniture selection and placement.

*6. Green Building
This category applies to structures that have included the principles of green design. The entry is to include elements utilizing alternative energy sources, materials, and design features that contribute to natural sustainability.

*7. Outdoor Space Design
A specialized award for outstanding design and/or decorating in an outdoor space. This category recognizes the creation of beauty in an outdoor space through color, lighting, furniture selection and placement and other elements of design that create a unique atmosphere in an exterior space. (Please note that landscaping projects should be submitted under Natural Beauty.)

*8. Art
A specialized award given to artists (or property owners) that show mastery of their craft, originality, and visual appeal. Applications may be submitted for a sculpture, mural, or other specific piece of art created for a new residential or commercial construction or renovation project.

*Green building, art and outdoor space design are specialized categories and will not be included in consideration for the chairman’s award.

Awards include:
The Award of Excellence is the highest honor presented in each category.
Awards of Achievement is presented for structures which make a significant impression worthy of recognition.
The Chairman’s Award Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award presented to one commercial building or structure and one residential home which receives the leading scores in all of the following 5 categories: exterior, interior, craftsmanship, interior decorating and natural beauty.
TD Bank Best in Green Award will be presented to one entry in the Green category that best reflects the principals of green design.

In the beginning:
Already an established architect in 1960, Albert Melniker suggested that the Chamber of Commerce launch a Building Awards program that would recognize outstanding architecture in the community. In 1961 the Staten Island Chamber’s Building Awards Program was born.

“The objective of the program was to give awards to buildings that are a credit to the community,” Melniker said, at the age of 91 for a profile on the program in the Chamber’s Focus newsletter. “It was not meant to be an architectural competition. It provided for an award of buildings that improved the objective of city and town planning. Buildings for awards required a plan that represented an improvement to the community.”

Today, the program commends the efforts of architects, developers, interior designers, and others involved in the construction process.

Licensed in 1940 as an architect, Melniker launched his career with the Board of Education, Bureau of Construction. In 1943, he joined the U.S. Army, and was stationed in the Pacific for two of his three years of service. He was commissioned an Army lieutenant on Saipan.  In 1946, he first opened his architectural firm on Bay Street in the space currently occupied by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

His notable projects over the years have ranged from cutting edge townhouse developments, like Village Green in Arden Heights, to modern commercial structures, such as seven of the SI Bank & Trust buildings.

Some of Mr. Melniker’s other projects include schools: P.S. 31 and 50, Staten Island Tech, Port Richmond High School, Staten Island Community College and Richmond College; residential buildings: Fountains, Sea Cliff, Bay Street Landing and Bay Plaza apartment house; shopping centers: Richmond Avenue K-Mart, Greenridge Plaza and Tottenville shopping center and places of worship: St. Stephen’s Church and New Dorp Moravian Church addition. Finally, Mr. Melniker also did the alteration and addition to the Broadway YMCA and Regional Radiology at St. Vincent’s and the 122nd Precinct Station House.   

After his death in 2002, the chamber renamed the President’s Award in his honor.  Each year, the Albert P. Melniker Award is bestowed on a structure, exhibit or person that enhances the quality of life on Staten Island.

For more information on the program contact the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce at 718-727-1900. Applications and additional information are also available online at

Categories: Chamber Blog, Press Releases

Add Your Comments

(not published)