The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected ten recipients for the 2015 Housing Awards. The AIA’s Housing Awards program, now in its 15th year, was established to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life.

The jury recognized projects in four award categories: One/Two Family Custom Housing, One/Two Family Production Housing (none selected this year), Multifamily Housing and Special Housing. The descriptions below give a brief summary of the projects. You can learn more about these projects by clicking on the name of the project/firm name.

One/Two Family Custom Housing
The One and Two Family Custom Residences award recognizes outstanding designs for custom and remodeled homes for specific client(s).

Bridge House; Kent, CT
Joeb Moore & Partners

This weekend home sits along a 300 foot ridge that runs parallel to the Housatonic River and Kent Falls State Park. The house design references and interacts with the various geological movements on the site. The historic covered bridges that abound in the area also inform site strategy and material choices. The house appears to spring out of the sloping topography and then turns ninety degrees, spanning across the landscape which rolls directly under it. Two opposing concrete foundation structures containing dual hearths anchor a floating wooden form that houses living and dining programs.

Marlboro Music: Five Cottages; Marlboro, Vt
HGA Architects and Engineers

With a shortage of residential space for musicians, Marlboro Music developed plans for five new cottages on a 15-acre site adjacent to its campus at Marlboro College. The design was inspired by a Cape Cod cottage, a 400-year old typology derived from 17th century English settler’s dwellings in New England and the primary inspiration for Marlboro College’s centuries-old farm buildings. The cottage’s small footprints, sloped roofs, compact volumes and indigenous materials reinforce Marlboro Music’s place amidst the lush Vermont landscape of rolling hills and streams. Arranged around meandering 150-year old stone site walls, the new cottages preserve the bucolic nature of the surrounding area.

Old Briar; Lauderdale County, Tennessee
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Architecture and Design; Applied Research

Located in rural Lauderdale County, Old Briar, is the childhood home of the clients who, after twenty-five years of working and living in Chicago, are returning to share their agricultural heritage and values of stewardship with their children and grandchildren. The home they sought needed to communicate their ethics of sustainable agrarian practices, respect for the landscape as a regional resource, which is deeply rooted in their upbringing. In this sense subdued, it also needed to provide invitation and welcome, engaging both the daily tasks of farming and domestic life and the special times of family and community celebration.

Studhorse; Winthrop, WA
Olson Kundig Architects

Set in the remote Methow Valley, Studhorse responds to the clients’ desire to experience and interact with the surrounding environment throughout all four seasons. The house is composed of four separate detached structures surrounding a central courtyard. Each structure is rotated toward different dramatic elements in the surrounding landscape such as the nearby Studhorse Ridge and Pearrygin Lake. Public areas, including the family room, kitchen, and bar are grouped together in the main building. Private areas – the master bedroom, kids’ bedroom, and den – are separated in an adjacent structure, with guest rooms in yet another, isolated to allow for independent use. A fourth structure houses a sauna, removed from the cluster of activity frames a view looking out over the valley below.

Multifamily Living
The Multifamily Housing award recognizes outstanding apartment and condominium design. Both high- and low-density projects for public and private clients were considered. In addition to architectural design features, the jury assessed the integration of the building(s) into their context, including open and recreational space, transportation options and features that contribute to livable communities.

Bayview Hill Gardens; San Francisco
David Baker Architects

Previously the site of a disused motel, Bayview Hill Gardens provides 73 green, supportive homes for formerly homeless families and youth aging out of foster care. The first of its kind in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco, the new supportive building brings refreshing vibrancy and “eyes on the street” to a derelict corner on a developing corridor. The transit-oriented building features extensive community space, custom artisan details, a unique art partnership with a local gallery representing developmentally disabled artists, and African-inspired design elements to reflect and honor the history of the neighborhood.

Broadway Affordable Housing; Santa Monica
Kevin Daly Architects

All of the units at Broadway are for low-income families earning between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income. The design of this housing complex clusters economical, repeatable housing blocks and two fully wired community rooms around the canopy of an existing shade tree. Site density is encouraged by replacing a vacant nursing home with a three story, four building, 33 unit complex with a green roof. Sustainable techniques were incorporated into the design from the planted roof and wall that insulates and slows run off to the underground cistern for rain water retention to the custom designed window hoods whose forms were derived from solar orientation studies. Two bedroom units are placed on the upper levels and are connected by latticed bridges that envelope a central, shared courtyard. All of the units face this central courtyard and every room in each unit has access to natural light and ventilation.

The North Parker; San Diego
Jonathan Segal, FAIA

The affordable housing project houses 27 units on the floor above the ground plane and four commercial spaces, which consist of two restaurants, a beer-tasting bar, and an architectural office all engaging and interacting with each other. The street level façade recedes into the property, forming outdoor community gathering and interaction spaces serving the retail, thus opening the property completely to the community. Multiple entrances through different nodes of the project allow you to transfer between the commercial ground plane along the street, to the interior garden and courtyard space and then up the stairs to the second level residential circulation path. Tenants enter their units through semi-private exterior patios raised two feet above the adjacent public walkway.

Specialized Housing
The Special Housing award recognizes outstanding design of housing that meets the unique needs of other specialized housing types such as single room occupancy residences (SROs), independent living for the disabled, residential rehabilitation programs, domestic violence shelters, and other special housing.

160 Massachusetts Avenue Tower, Berklee College of Music; Boston
William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

This 16-story mixed-use building creates a center of gravity and a strong identity for the Berklee College of Music campus within Boston. Most prominent is a 40 foot high performance/dining space that fronts onto a major Boston thoroughfare, showcasing student performances nightly. Twelve floors, housing 380 students plus a fitness center and music practice rooms, sit above the performance space. Six double height lounges on the residential floors help build community by linking two floors of students. In support of Berklee’s growing programs in music technology, two floors below grade house the largest recording studio complex in New England.

John C. Anderson Apartments (JCAA); Philadelphia
WRT, LLC

JCAA is a 56-unit affordable senior housing development located in Philadelphia’s historic Washington Square West neighborhood. A public/private partnership was forged between the DMH Fund (a not‐for‐profit organization focused on addressing needs of youth and seniors within the LGBT community) and a highly experienced affordable housing developer to turn their vision into reality. The involvement of DMH Fund provided the structure by which members of the community could remain active participants throughout the detailed design and construction phases and insured that the community would have a say in all major decisions made along the way. John C Anderson Apartments is the first “LGBT‐friendly” affordable senior housing project to be developed in the eastern United States with such direct community involvement. Its realization has been the source of great community pride.

La Casa Permanent Supportive Housing; Washington, D.C.
Studio Twenty Seven Architecture/Leo A Daly

La Casa is a permanent supportive housing facility designed for the District of Columbia. It is the first permanent supportive housing project for the Department of Human Services. Rather than function as a shelter, La Casa will provide permanent, supportive housing for forty men. The architects were fortunate in having a municipal client that required design quality that “meets or exceeds” that of adjacent market-rate buildings. As the first permanent supportive housing facility in the City, La Casa is an important milestone for the District in its effort to redefine the concept of housing for the homeless community.

The jury for the 2015 Housing Awards includes: Stephen Schreiber, FAIA, Chair, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Jon Dick, AIA, Archaeo Architects; Kathy Dixon, AIA, K. Dixon Architecture; Clair Enlow, Freelance Writer and Jody Mcguire, AIA, SALA Architects.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.