Architecture

AIA Housing Awards celebrates America's best new homes

AIA Housing Awards celebrates ...
Sonoma Farmhaus is one of the projects in this year's AIA Housing Awards. It was designed by SkB Architects and is located in Graton, California. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
Sonoma Farmhaus is one of the projects in this year's AIA Housing Awards. It was designed by SkB Architects and is located in Graton, California. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
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Broadway Housing was designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects and is located in Sacramento, California, and was recognized in the One-and two-family production homes category
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Broadway Housing was designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects and is located in Sacramento, California, and was recognized in the One-and two-family production homes category
Broadway Housing is a compact urban infill development that features nine small homes for young families on a previously unused urban site
2/21
Broadway Housing is a compact urban infill development that features nine small homes for young families on a previously unused urban site
"This project represents the power thoughtful design can have, regardless of budget," say AIA's judges regarding Broadway Housing
3/21
"This project represents the power thoughtful design can have, regardless of budget," say AIA's judges regarding Broadway Housing
Courtyard House was designed by MW Works and is located in Seattle, Washington. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
4/21
Courtyard House was designed by MW Works and is located in Seattle, Washington. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
Courtyard House sits on a sloping site overlooking Seattle's Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. It serves a family of four and was designed to protect a number of existing trees on the site
5/21
Courtyard House sits on a sloping site overlooking Seattle's Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. It serves a family of four and was designed to protect a number of existing trees on the site
"This home seems to capture and hold the cool light of the Pacific Northwest,” noted an AIA juror with regard to Courtyard House. "The vegetation plays a significant role in the material palette, and the understated concrete and wood slide past each other creating a setting that appears quiet without being austere"
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"This home seems to capture and hold the cool light of the Pacific Northwest,” noted an AIA juror with regard to Courtyard House. "The vegetation plays a significant role in the material palette, and the understated concrete and wood slide past each other creating a setting that appears quiet without being austere"
MLK Plaza was designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning and is located in the Bronx, New York. The project was recognized in the Multifamily housing category
7/21
MLK Plaza was designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning and is located in the Bronx, New York. The project was recognized in the Multifamily housing category
MLK Plaza consists of 167 apartment units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom models. The project is LEED Platinum-certified due to its energy-efficient design and is focused on maximizing natural light inside
8/21
MLK Plaza consists of 167 apartment units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom models. The project is LEED Platinum-certified due to its energy-efficient design and is focused on maximizing natural light inside
"Serving individuals and families from a wide range of income levels, including the formerly homeless, the project's design embraces neighborhood identity, focused on community health and emphasizes the health and wellness of the buildings occupants," say AIA's judges regarding MLK Plaza
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"Serving individuals and families from a wide range of income levels, including the formerly homeless, the project's design embraces neighborhood identity, focused on community health and emphasizes the health and wellness of the buildings occupants," say AIA's judges regarding MLK Plaza
PPR Residence Hall was designed by DIGSAU for Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. It was recognized in the Specialized Housing category
10/21
PPR Residence Hall was designed by DIGSAU for Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. It was recognized in the Specialized Housing category
PPR Residence Hall was designed to complement the site's existing architecture and also includes solar panels and rainwater management systems
11/21
PPR Residence Hall was designed to complement the site's existing architecture and also includes solar panels and rainwater management systems
"This project demonstrates high achievement within architecture in that the building is attractive and functional, and it achieves this through methodically approaching countless requirements and constraints," noted an AIA juror regarding the PPR Residence Hall. "It is environmentally responsible, economically sensitive, informed by social and cultural needs of the owner and users, and uniquely suited to its site"
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"This project demonstrates high achievement within architecture in that the building is attractive and functional, and it achieves this through methodically approaching countless requirements and constraints," noted an AIA juror regarding the PPR Residence Hall. "It is environmentally responsible, economically sensitive, informed by social and cultural needs of the owner and users, and uniquely suited to its site"
Sonoma Farmhaus is one of the projects in this year's AIA Housing Awards. It was designed by SkB Architects and is located in Graton, California. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
13/21
Sonoma Farmhaus is one of the projects in this year's AIA Housing Awards. It was designed by SkB Architects and is located in Graton, California. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
Sonoma Farmhaus is conceived as a contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse
14/21
Sonoma Farmhaus is conceived as a contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse
"This home is elegant," noted said an AIA juror about Sonoma Farmhaus. "Its restraint in terms of square footage, use of materials, and site disturbance create a refined language that carries consistently throughout the small complex. The interior and exterior spaces blend, and the humanity of each are inviting"
15/21
"This home is elegant," noted said an AIA juror about Sonoma Farmhaus. "Its restraint in terms of square footage, use of materials, and site disturbance create a refined language that carries consistently throughout the small complex. The interior and exterior spaces blend, and the humanity of each are inviting"
Whidbey Farm was designed by MW Works and is located in Whidbey Island, Washington. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
16/21
Whidbey Farm was designed by MW Works and is located in Whidbey Island, Washington. The project was recognized in the One-and two-family custom residences category
Whidbey Farm is a rustic retreat in a forest that usually sleeps two people but can welcome up to 20 people in its four-bedroom main house and accompanying compact bunkhouse when the owners want to have visitors over
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Whidbey Farm is a rustic retreat in a forest that usually sleeps two people but can welcome up to 20 people in its four-bedroom main house and accompanying compact bunkhouse when the owners want to have visitors over
"This home is an enviable retreat," said one of AIA's jurors about Whidbey Farm. "It uses a limited material palette to create a cohesive site and building design that includes both massing and planes, and the details contribute to the whole. While many designs claim to connect interior and exterior, in this home, the two truly bleed into each other"
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"This home is an enviable retreat," said one of AIA's jurors about Whidbey Farm. "It uses a limited material palette to create a cohesive site and building design that includes both massing and planes, and the details contribute to the whole. While many designs claim to connect interior and exterior, in this home, the two truly bleed into each other"
XS House was designed by ISA and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The project was recognized in the Multifamily housing category
19/21
XS House was designed by ISA and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The project was recognized in the Multifamily housing category
XS House squeezes seven apartments into a tiny inner-city plot in Philadelphia measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width that was previously used to park two cars
20/21
XS House squeezes seven apartments into a tiny inner-city plot in Philadelphia measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width that was previously used to park two cars
One of AIA's jurors noted that XS House is an "extremely innovative way to create housing on the kind of site that is typically left vacant"
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One of AIA's jurors noted that XS House is an "extremely innovative way to create housing on the kind of site that is typically left vacant"
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All architecture has an impact on our lives, but probably none more so than housing, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) celebrates this with its 2020 Housing Awards. Representing its selection of the best new homes throughout the United States, highlights include a contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse and an innovative apartment building shoehorned into a former car parking area.

Now in its 20th year, the 2020 Housing Awards comprises just seven homes, which is down from a dozen last year. This year's projects are split into three categories: One/Two Family Custom Residences, Multifamily Housing, and Specialized Housing (One/Two Family Production Homes is usually a category too, but none were selected this year).

Recipients are chosen by five jurors, who evaluate projects based on their design excellence. The jurors also measure whether designs are "sustainable, affordable, durable, innovative, socially impactful, meeting client needs as well as addressing the natural and built contexts." Below are three projects that we felt were standout designs, but be sure to head to the gallery to see more on these and each of the projects in the 2020 Housing Awards.

XS House squeezes seven apartments into a tiny inner-city plot in Philadelphia measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width that was previously used to park two cars
XS House squeezes seven apartments into a tiny inner-city plot in Philadelphia measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width that was previously used to park two cars

Interface Studio Architects (ISA) previously made a splash with its Tiny Tower, which has received multiple awards – and made our 2019 best of list – for its innovative use of previously unusable inner-city space. The firm has now replicated the same idea on a larger scale with the XS House, which squeezes an impressive seven apartments onto a cramped inner-city plot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The development was previously used to park two cars, measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width.

Despite the cramped dimensions, the interiors of the apartments look very livable, with high ceilings and ample daylight, plus a minimalist interior decor that suits the small space. The project could potentially serve as a blueprint to put undesirable plots in other cities to good use as affordable housing.

Sonoma Farmhaus is conceived as a contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse
Sonoma Farmhaus is conceived as a contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse

The Sonoma Farmhaus, by SKB Architects, in Graton, California, is an attractive contemporary take on a traditional farmhouse. It consists of the main house and a guesthouse with bike storage area, plus a garage. These are joined by a central outdoor meeting space with an outdoor fireplace.

Rammed earth walls made from soil excavated from the site are installed on either end of the main buildings and help regulate their interior temperatures year-round. The home opens up to the exterior with operable walls and garage doors, allowing for lots of natural light inside, as well as cross-ventilation. This is coupled with strategically-placed ceiling fans to keep residents a comfortable temperature year-round without requiring air-conditioning.

PPR Residence Hall was designed to complement the site's existing architecture and also includes solar panels and rainwater management systems
PPR Residence Hall was designed to complement the site's existing architecture and also includes solar panels and rainwater management systems

PPR Residence Hall, by DIGSAU, was commissioned by Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. The project was designed to complement three existing 19th century residence halls that are situated nearby and includes 128 suite-style apartments for students. It also packs some sustainable elements.

Water management systems and the replanting of native greenery are designed to minimize its water use, while solar panels on the roof provide 13 percent of the building’s required electricity. Additionally, students are encouraged to compost in their kitchens.

Source: AIA

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2 comments
ljaques
meh.
Heckler
How much space could be saved if multiple buildings on a block shared stairwells?