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Honored Habitats: AIA Recognizes Top Housing Designs

Monday, March 21, 2011

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AIA announced 18 recipients of the institute’s 2011 Housing Awards, which recognize “the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.”

The jury for the institute’s Housing Awards Program, now in its 11th year, chose to recognize a diverse array of projects, including an addition to an historical cape house; an adaptation of 19th-century barn; an ultra-low energy “R” house; conversions of an historic jail complex and a former horse stable into to multifamily housing; and a complex of buildings reported to be the largest residence for the homeless in the U.S.

Projects were recognized in four award categories: One/Two Family Custom Housing, One/Two Family Production Housing, Multifamily Housing, and Special Housing.

The jury for the 2011 Housing Awards includes Jury Chair Katherine Austin, AIA, Katherine Austin Architect; Claire Conroy, Residential Architect Magazine editorial director; Mike Jackson, FAIA, Historical Preservation Agency, State of Illinois; Luis Jauregui, AIA, Jaurequi Inc.; and Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA, Florida International University Miami.

The winning firms are listed below with a summary of the projects. More details on the projects can be viewed at AIA Housing Awards.

One/Two-Family Custom Housing

• Bohlin Cywinski Jackson: Addition to an historic cape on a coastal farm, Little Compton, R.I.

The interior of the addition is a study in contrasts with its partner. While the cape has small rooms with low ceilings and small windows, the interior of the addition reveals its full volume while expanses of glass link it to the agrarian landscape.

• Alchemy: Blair Barn House, Blair, Wis.

A locally-sawn white oak skin with few, but large, openings wraps and filters the house with barn light. Over- and under-spaces delineated by steel, custom-milled ash, rope work, stock cabinetry, and salvaged materials, fill the modest volume with barn space tempered with farmer's common sense.

• Bohlin Cywinski Jackson: Combs Point Residence, Ovid, N.Y.

Combs Point Residence

Combs Point Residence (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)

Slipped into the site with a light touch, the residence and its outbuildings possess a transparency that reveals the richly varied qualities of this natural place.

• Heliotrope Architects: North Beach Residence, Eastsound, Wash.

Steel columns minimize visible structure, while metal-clad wall elements provide a bold form from the exterior. The home is designed to provide shelter with a minimum of distractions from light and view—a “floating” form both literally and figuratively responding to the client’s personal relationship to the land and their intention to minimize human imposition.

• Johnsen Schmaling Architects: OS House, Racine, Wis.

Occupying a narrow infill lot in an old city neighborhood at the edge of Lake Michigan, this LEED Platinum home for a young family is wrapped with an innovative concrete rainscreen facade system. Floor-to ceiling apertures penetrate the rainscreen, their bright colors an unapologetic nod to the cheerful polychrome of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes.

• Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect: Town House, Washington, D.C.

Town House Washington D.C.

Town House, Washington, D.C.
(Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect)

Originally built over a century ago, this completely renovated town house required the traditional limestone facade remain intact Exposed brick walls, painted white, are juxtaposed with blue epoxy floors. Floor openings with bridges, skylights, and a three- story galvanized steel wall animate the spaces and integrate the floors vertically.

One/Two-Family Custom Housing

• Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office: R-House, Syracuse, N.Y.


R-House, Syracuse, N.Y.
(Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office)

R-House presents an affordable, innovative paradigm for minimal to net-zero energy consumption embodied in architecture that is both sustainable and engaging. The house was designed to meet the German Passivhaus ultra-low energy standard, utilizing an extremely well-insulated exterior, an efficient recirculating heating and ventilation system, and high-performance windows that optimize solar gain.

• Interface Studio Architects LLC: 100K Houses, Philadelphia

100K Houses

100K Houses (Interface Studio Architects LLC)

Small, efficient, and “super-green,” the 100K Houses provide sustainable, affordable options for first-time Philadelphia homebuyers. The homes employ passive energy strategies which focus on building-envelope quality rather than mechanical systems.

Multifamily Living

• Olson Kundig Architects: 1111 E. Pike: Seattle

The site’s “auto row” history is captured in 1111’s tall, wide windows and high ceilings, the use of steel, and an exterior palette inspired by classic car colors from the 1950s. Simple materials and straightforward construction kept costs low, enabling people who work in the community to live there as well.

• Finegold Alexander + Associates: 50 Saint Peter Street/Historic Salem Jail, Salem, Mass.

50 Saint Peter Street/Historic Salem Jail

50 Saint Peter Street/Historic Salem Jail
(Finegold Alexander + Associates)

Rehabilitation of an historic 1813 jail complex as a multi-family housing, mixed-use sustainable development turned an abandoned eyesore into a positive contributor to the community with 23 units of housing, a popular restaurant, and an active, landscaped site.

• Eskew+Dumez+Ripple: 930 Poydras Residential Tower, New Orleans

This 21-story, 462,000-square-foot mixed-use residential project includes ground floor retail and 250 residential apartments above a 500-car garage base. Designed to re-imagine the typically horizontal condition of New Orleans' dense French Quarter blocks as a vertical condition, the project is organized to create a communal amenity floor at the 9th level, reinterpreting the courtyard housing typology for urban, high-rise living.

• David Baker + Partners, Architects:  Armstrong Place Senior and Family Housing, San Francisco

This complex development fills a formerly industrial three-acre block with an innovative housing mix: Affordable townhomes keep growing families in the city, while the adjacent senior apartment building ensures that seniors don’t live in isolation. Leading a trend of transit-oriented development along the district’s main corridor, the 115-unit senior building is in the final stage of LEED NC Gold Certification.

• Olson Kundig Architects: Art Stable, Seattle, Wash.

Art Stable

Art Stable (Olson Kundig Architects)

Built on the site of a former horse stable, the Art Stable carries its working history into the future with highly adaptable live/work units. The alley-facing façade features an 80-foot tall hinge, davit crane and five steel-clad, hand-cranked doors that cover nearly a third of the facade. On the street side, large hinged windows open to provide natural ventilation throughout the units.

• Koning Eizenberg Architecture Inc.: Hancock Mixed Use Housing, West Hollywood, Calif.

Hancock Mixed Use Housing

Hancock Mixed-Use Housing (Koning Eizenberg
Architecture Inc.)

This mixed-use, multi-unit residential puts housing and people (rather than parking) at grade on the adjacent avenue. The town houses have private courtyards which modulate the scale as the building moves north to merge with the hillside neighborhood behind. Interior spaces allow residents choice in their level of engagement with the boulevard, roof courtyards, and residential parking through use of sliding wooden panels and shades.

• David Baker + Partners, Architects: Tassafaronga Village, Oakland, Calif.

This new green neighborhood brings a diversity of affordable housing to an under-served area of Oakland, while repairing the deteriorated neighborhood fabric. The 7.5-acre brownfield site—previously home to decrepit public housing, an abandoned factory, and unused train tracks—is now a vibrant village that bridges the industrial-residential divide and features apartments, family townhouses, supportive housing, and a medical clinic. New landscaped paths and traffic-calmed roadways connect housing to the library, schools, and a city park. Tassafaronga Village achieved the first LEED ND Gold Certified Plan in California.

Specialized Housing

• Overland Partners Architects: Haven for Hope, San Antonio

Haven for Hope

Haven for Hope (Overland Partners Architects)

This $60 million project includes 15 buildings of approximately 300,000 square feet of total space, with 998 beds and the capacity to sleep an additional 500+ individuals in the courtyard. It is the largest and most comprehensive homeless facility in the U.S. and has already been visited by delegations from more than 40 cities, quickly becoming recognized as a new national model for homeless transformational centers.

• William Rawn Associates Architects Inc.: Northeastern University Building F, Boston

This 140,000-square-foot mixed-use building completes the build-out of the 1.2 million square foot master plan. It includes three significant components: Freshman Honors Housing, a Cultural Center, and an Academic Center. A two-story, four-part lounge encourages interaction among residents while simultaneously offering places for group/individual study.

• Ennead Architects LLP: The Schermerhorn, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Schermerhorn “seeks to define a new paradigm for subsidized housing in New York City.” Rising from a transparent glass base, five channel glass tower elements define the primary façade. Four steel trusses cantilever the building over subway tunnels crossing directly below the site.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects; Architects; Architecture; Awards and honors; Design; Housing; Modernist architecture

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