AIA Small Project Awards celebrates scaled-down design excellence
A tiny house for the homeless, an off-grid bathhouse, and a floating house are just three of the outstanding projects highlighted in this year's American Institute of Architects (AIA) Small Project Awards. Join us as we take a look at one of the most unique and varied architecture competitions around.
Created to raise awareness of the value and design excellence that architects can bring to projects, whatever their size or scope, the AIA Small Project Awards is now in its 18th year.
2021's selection of 11 projects are themselves split into three categories: projects that cost under US$150,000, those that cost up to $1.5 million in construction costs, and, finally, those that measure under 5,000 sq ft (464 sq m) – all of which doesn't actually seem that small, but when it comes to high-profile architecture competitions, it is.
We've chosen a few standout projects that caught our eye below, but head to the gallery to check out more on these and the rest of the projects featured in this year's AIA Small Projects Awards.
The Community First! Village Micro House #710, by McKinney York Architects, is a non-towable tiny house that provides a simple but safe home for a previously homeless person.
Located in Austin, Texas, the project is part of a larger community of tiny houses that are installed to provide shelter and support to the homeless and its design was a collaborative process that involved its future occupant.
Living space has been extended with an attached porch structure that also provides shade, and it has also been oriented to capture the prevailing summer winds. The interior layout is modest but well designed and includes a desk area, double bed, and some storage space.
Casa de Baño, by Robert Hutchison Architecture and JSa Arquitectura, is located near Mexico City and is part of a larger off-grid retreat in a nature reserve that has achieved full water autonomy for a community of 80 people using a complex water collection system that features 16 interconnected reservoirs.
The bathhouse's circular wooden form supports a hot bath, sauna, steam shower, and washroom, which are organized around a central cold plunge pool that's open to the sky.
Captured rainwater is channeled into the cold plunge pool, from where it eventually drains into a nearby reservoir and below-ground treatment system. It's then eventually fed back into the steam shower and hot bath to ensure that no drop of water is wasted.
The Portage Bay Float Home, by Studio DIAA, is located in Seattle, Washington, and is part of a community of floating homes on Seattle's Lake Union.
The home, which also featured on AIA's recent Housing Awards, began as a simple renovation but ended up requiring an entire new structure due to its very poor state. It received a new floor, walls, and roof, all of which were erected within the old home's dimensions, ensuring that neighbors' views weren't affected.
The team focused on maximizing light inside and making the most of available space, and the house is also wrapped by a new cedar deck that's accessible from every room, boosting living space further.