American dreams: The USA's best new homes
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the winners of its 2017 Housing Awards. The event is always a treat for fans of high-quality housing, and whether a luxury lake house for the well-heeled or rehabilitative housing for disabled veterans, each project represents the best residential architecture the USA currently has to offer.
There's a total of 14 projects in the 2017 Housing Awards, split into the following categories: One/Two Family Custom Housing, One/Two Family Production Housing, Multifamily Housing, and Special Housing.
We've picked our five favorites below, but head to the gallery to check out the rest. It's a good bunch, and highlights include sustainable student digs and a modernist interpretation of the classic Californian ranch home.
Blue Lake Retreat – Lake|Flato Architects
This attractive modern lake house in Marble Falls, Texas, was designed by Lake|Flato Architects, a firm which also featured in our look at last year's AIA Housing Awards.
The three-story Blue Lake Retreat was commissioned by a client who spent childhood summers on the lake with her architect father and looks like a great place to make the next generation of family memories. Its top floor pokes out just above the tree line and provides an almost uninterrupted 180-degree view of the nearby lake.
Generous glazing frames choice views of the surrounding area and the home boasts a large cantilevered deck which provides plenty of outdoor space. Towards the rear of the property, a small bridge offers access to the hillside and beyond.
Pennsylvania Farmhouse – Cutler Anderson Architects
Cutler Anderson Architects' Pennsylvania Farmhouse is an ode to the traditional American farmhouse.
The 3,000 sq ft (278 sq m) home is located on a 283 acre (114 hectare) farm in rural Pennsylvania and special care was taken to minimize disturbance to the plot's existing old rock walls. It features large operable shutters which let in enough daylight while still cooling the house significantly during summer months.
Warmth comes from a ground-source heating system and a wood-fired boiler is fueled by deadfall collected from nearby woods. Yet more heating comes in the form of a backup wood-burning stove which circulates warm air throughout the house. The house is also wired for a solar array to be installed on the roof in the future.
Sawmill – Olson Kundig Architects
Situated amid California's harsh desert landscape, Olson Kundig's Sawmill is an unusual family retreat with a layout inspired by tents gathered around a campfire. The idea is, the house comprises three private spaces (the "tents") arranged around a central family area (the "campfire"). In the future, the home will likely be expanded to accommodate the growing family.
The 5,200 sq ft (482 sq m) home is self-sufficient, with wind and solar producing all required electricity. Salvaged steel used in the build was sourced from a demolished cement plant and geothermal energy was incorporated, too.
Powerhouse – ISA
Powerhouse, by Interface Studio Architects (ISA), squeezes a cluster of 31 energy-efficient housing units into an urban block in Philadelphia. The project includes single family townhouses, duplexes, and two small apartment buildings.
Drawing design cues from Philadelphia's strong tradition of stoop sitting, generously-proportioned entrance platforms are installed, with handrails designed by a local artist. It's green too, and all 31 units have achieved LEED Platinum (a green building standard) certification. Notable sustainable design includes stormwater collection and green roofs.
Via 57 West - BIG
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed Via 57 West melds design elements of the traditional European perimeter block and skyscraper, to create what it calls a "courtscraper." Weird-sounding nickname aside, it's a groundbreaking project that turns heads even in skyscraper-packed Manhattan.
The pyramid-like luxury residential building offers each resident a bay-facing window and access to a light-filled courtyard that has the same proportions as NYC's Central Park, except one that's 13,000th the size. It features some energy-efficient design too, including rainwater collection and on-site filtering, hybrid heat-pump heating systems and energy-efficient appliances and lighting.