AIA Housing Award Winners Perform Balancing Acts

July 2009

By Aleksandr Bierig

Last spring, the American Institute of Architects announced the winners of the 2009 AIA Housing and HUD Awards. The awards recognized a mix of dwellings, from frugal desert encampments to urban infill projects. Sustainability, no longer auxiliary, was a consideration in every building selected. Many of the projects required architects to perform balancing acts, negotiating issues such as historical context, the environment, and social concerns. Below, we take a look at each of the winners.


The 2009 AIA Housing and HUD Awards Programs

AIA One/Two Family Custom Housing

  House on Hooper’s Island
Photo © Paul Warchol

House on Hooper’s Island
Church Creek, Maryland
David Jameson Architect

700 Palms Residence
Venice, California
Ehrlich Architects

Outpost Residence
Bellevue, Idaho

Montecito Residence
Montecito, California
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen

Laidley Street Residence
San Francisco, California
Zack / de Vito Architecture

Chuckanut Drive Residence
Bellingham, Washington
The Miller | Hull Partnership

Cinco Camp
Brewster County, Texas
Rhotenberry Wellen Architects

Low Country Residence
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Frank Harmon Architect

Glade House
Lake Forest, Illinois
Frederick Phillips and Associates

House At Sagaponac
Wainscott, New York
TsAO & McKOWN Architects



AIA Multifamily Housing

  Fort Point Loft Condominiums
Photo © Bruce Martin

Fort Point Loft Condominiums
Boston, Massachusetts
Hacin + Associates

Courtyard Lofts
Long Beach, California
Interstices and Studio One Eleven
at Perkowitz+Ruth Architects

San Diego, California
TannerHecht Architecture


One/Two Family Production Housing

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  Conover Commons
Photo courtesy Ross Chapin Architects

Conover Commons
Redmond, Washington
Ross Chapin Architects

This small development in Washington State provides an excellent example of suburban infill planning and construction. A group of modestly scaled houses are tucked into a forest and organized around a “commons” — a central garden shared by all residents. The placement of the houses attempts to balance the needs of shared space and privacy. The 13 homes share a common parking lot. Traditional in form, the houses were awarded a 4-Star rating by the Master Builders Association’s Built Green program, which awards architects and builders for use of energy-efficient appliances, climate-effective insulation, weather sealing, materials selected for environmental sensitivity, and minimal construction waste.


AIA Special Housing

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  Madison @ 14th Apartments
Photo © CS Photo

Madison @ 14th Apartments
Oakland, California
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

A mixed-use project with social goals, this complex provides 79 apartments, ranging from 400-square-foot studios to 1,100-square-foot three-bedroom apartments, for low-income residents and former foster youth at risk of becoming homeless. Ground-floor retail space encourages pedestrian use, and the second floor contains spaces shared by residents, including a kitchen, conference rooms, and a podium garden. The jury noted the building’s natural ventilation and the use of green materials. They also applauded the facade’s “great play of transparency and vibrantly colored opacity.”

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  Saint John’s Abbey And Monastery Guesthouse
Photo © Paul Crosby

Saint John’s Abbey And Monastery Guesthouse
Collegeville, Minnesota

The jury characterized this “simple and rich” project as “a serene complement to the existing campus,” a collection of 10 cast-in-place concrete structures designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1950s. The new structure includes conference rooms, meeting areas, a library, meditation room, dining facilities, and administrative offices, along with 30 guest rooms that all face neighboring Lake Sagatagan. The architects took cues from the environmental precepts of the Benedictine Order to guide their sustainable building strategies, including “environmental stewardship, integrity and durability, frugality, hospitality, comfort, and balance.” 


AIA Special Housing and HUD Community-Informed Design

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  The Bridge
Photo © Tim Griffith

The Bridge
Dallas, Texas
Overland Partners and

For this center for the homeless near downtown Dallas, the architects employed a number of strategies to link the building to the surrounding community. Built from a reclaimed warehouse, a temporary shelter occupies the bottom floors, with transitional housing above. Translucent walls in the sleeping areas highlight the structure’s purpose: To make the public more aware of the city’s homeless population. An artist collaborated with the occupants to create a street-level mural.


HUD Excellence in Affordable Housing Design

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  Bridgeton Neighborhood
Photo © Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Bridgeton Neighborhood
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Torti Gallas and Partners

Located in a small town in southern New Jersey, this development represents the maturation of the HOPE VI program, which was initially aimed at public housing in large cities. The revitalization plan included a careful evaluation of the site — considering where to build and where not to build — resulting in the demolition of a former public housing project. That site was restored as a park, providing a new social center for the neighborhood. At the same time, vacant, postindustrial lots in the community were built upon to create a consistent architectural fabric.


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  Irvington Terrace
Photo © Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Irvington Terrace
Fremont, California
McLarand Vasquez Emsiek
and Partners

This 108,000-square-foot complex contains 100 units of  low-income housing and shows that Modernist forms and materials ­— which came to be associated with soulless, overscaled urban housing projects — can be successfully used for sensitive and humane social housing. The development is oriented around a traditional village square, with long blocks of rental units articulated into individual dwellings with bold, rectilinear massing. Street-conscious detailing includes stoops and porches to promote outdoor social gathering. The project also features underground parking and a variety of public green spaces, as well as connections to the nearby Irvington Village, a market-rate development designed with similar themes.



HUD Creating Community Connection

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Photo © bruce martin

South End SRO Housing
Boston, Massachusetts
Hacin + Associates

This six-story mixed-use building was developed with a nonprofit agency that supports homeless individuals by offering job training, work experience, education, housing, and services. Fourteen single-room occupancy (SRO) units are located on the top two floors, above a multipurpose community meeting space and a ground-floor commercial restaurant, which subsidizes the rent for the building. In addition to promoting the social programs, the clients and architects worked toward environmental goals by utilizing geothermal heating and cooling throughout the structure. The building awaits LEED certification for these efforts.


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