The American Institute of Architects recently bestowed a series of awards to the winners of 12 exceptional residential designs. AIA’s Housing Awards program, now in its 19th year, was established to celebrate the best in housing design for new construction, renovations and restorations. Awards were given in the following categories: one- and two-family custom residences, one- and two-family production homes, multifamily housing and specialized housing.
This year’s recipients were selected by a five-member jury that evaluated projects for demonstrating design excellence. The jury evaluates whether designs are sustainable, affordable, durable, innovative, socially impactful, meeting client needs and addressing the natural and built environment.
Here are the 2019 Housing Awards recipients and jury comments:
Category 1: One- and Two-Family Custom Residences
Georgica Cove, East Hampton, New York | Bates Masi + Architects: Each structure of Georgica Cove has an independent mechanical system allowing it to be shut down when unoccupied.
This allows the livability of the house to expand and contract whether the owners are alone, hosting dinner guests or have a full house of overnight guests.
Mirror Point, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia | MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects: Mirror Point is expressed as an elevated, 80-foot long extruded fish shed, supported by a steel aedicule and a board formed concrete entry core. The building is precisely sited using existing topography to maximize Southern passive solar energy and views to the lake.
Off-the-Grid Guesthouse, Central Coast, California | Anacapa Architecture and Willson Design: The rooftop is planted with native grasses, and the house is made of sustainable building materials such as steel, concrete and glass. The home is completely self-sufficient and includes its own sewage treatment as well as an on-site water supply and a rooftop photovoltaic system to meet all energy needs.
Category 2: One- and Two-Family Production Homes
Oak Park Housing, Sacramento, California | Johnsen Schmaling Architects: Oak Park Housing is a compact infill development on a long-vacant lot in Sacramento’s Oak Park district. Designed as prototypical single-family homes around an ambitiously stringent construction budget to position the homes at the lower end of the market spectrum, the interior had to be organized in compact volumes with uncompromising spatial efficiency, avoiding any gratuitous square footage that would balloon the unit size without tangible functional or experiential benefits.
Tiny Tower, Philadelphia | Interface Studio Architects: Tiny Tower places a 1,250-square-foot home on a 12-by-29-foot lot, whose similarly scaled neighbors are currently used as single-car parking and rear yards for the adjacent houses. Although it measures only 38 feet in height, Tiny Tower is organized like a full-scale skyscraper.
Category 3: Multifamily Housing
Bigwin Island Club Cabins, Baysville, Canada | MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects: Although formally dramatic, the cabins employ standard construction techniques, including typical gang nail trusses for the roof. This strategy, one of drawing upon local knowledge and expertise to reinterpret the vernacular, results in unique buildings that can capitalize on the economy of their construction. This is locavore architecture that is made of local materials and construction methods.
Bill Sorro Community, San Francisco | Kennerly Architecture & Planning: Bill Sorro Community provides an ambitious combination of energy efficiency, air-quality, storm-water management and grey-water re-use. The sustainable aspects reduce ongoing costs, which makes funds available for other uses.
Jefferson Park Apartments, Cambridge, Massachusetts | Abacus Architects + Planners: Residents are supported by a physical environment that provides privacy, a sense of community, connections to nature, places to play and gather, and a sense of joy.
The central drive connects directly into the surrounding neighborhood street grid, while the four courtyards provide a child- and community-friendly environment safely sheltered from traffic.
Lofts at Mayo Park, Rochester, Minnesota | Snow Kreilich Architects: The Lofts at Mayo Park has helped to improve the experience of a population critical to Rochester’s economy: medical patients traveling to the city for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Beyond providing unique housing options, such as large bathrooms, full kitchens and flexible leases, tenants describe the interiors and connection to nature as calming.
Pierhouse, Brooklyn, New York | Marvel Architects: Pierhouse condominium building performs as an extension of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a verdant backdrop recalling the high, sandy bank of pre-colonial Brooklyn Heights, screening urban noise while facilitating waterfront access.
Category 4: Specialized Housing
San Joaquin Villages, University of California, Santa Barbara | Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, and Kevin Daly Architects: The overall site and individual residential unit designs needed to complement the predominantly Spanish-style architecture of the university and surrounding communities. The team satisfied this requirement by offering a modern interpretation of local architectural motifs such as tower elements, loggias and exterior stairs.
Skyline Residence Hall, Waltham, Massachusetts | William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.: The Skyline Residence Hall “C” shape opens to views of Boston. Because of this arrangement, views are democratized. All students have access to the view over the Quad, which would not have happened had the building been placed at the hillcrest instead of the open space.
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