AIA Housing Awards 2008
The jury called the project, constructed at $85 per square foot ($924 per square meter), a "refined and rigorous little house" in which "[c]olor and material stand in for expensive detail and surfaces."
The Carneros Inn and Courtyard Homes in Napa, California, approaches the speculative market at a different scale. Designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., the high-end 27-acre (11-hectare) resort development combines 24 single-family houses with the central facilities of an inn and its 85 guest cottages.
The buildings are arrayed in a neighborhood intended to foster walking and interaction between residents and guests. Each house is organized around a central courtyard and features rooftop terraces with views of the surrounding vineyards.
"The simple, informal character, colors, and materials of the exterior captures the Northern California Wine Country vernacular," the awards jury commented.
Another award for production housing went to Modular: Crabapple in Omaha, Nebraska, designed by Randy Brown Architects.
The AIA announced its 2008 Housing Awards on March 13. Now in its eighth year, the program was established to recognize the best in housing design, and to promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource.
The multifamily housing category recognizes high- and low-density projects for both architectural design and contextual integration, including open space, transportation options and community livability.
One of the award-winners — 26th Street Low-Income Housing in Santa Monica, California, by Kanner Architects — was recently covered in ArchitectureWeek as the winner of a 2008 AIA Honor Award.
Nearby, in West Hollywood, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects designed Habitat 825 with respect for the adjacent house by Rudolph Schindler. The 19-unit Habitat building was kept low — two stories tall — to avoid casting shadows on the Kings Road House property.
The new building presents a boldly colored main facade of black, white, and lime green. Its parklike front yard creates a semipublic zone between building and street.
The building plan comprises two intersecting Ls that define a central open space, allowing direct exterior access to all the residential units. Light wells and single-loading of units increase opportunities for daylighting and cross-ventilation.
The jury commented, "The fractured facade opens to an activated courtyard that both embraces the bamboo scrim of the iconic Schindler house and incises natural light into living spaces at unexpected moments."
Across the country in Philadelphia, the NoLi Housing project, designed by Erdy McHenry Architecture, brings new activity to the former Schmidt's Brewery site. The six-story residential building with ground-floor retail is the first phase of a three-acre (1.2-hectare) development in the Northern Liberties community that will include office space, public amenities, and the conversion of two former warehouses, all centered on a public plaza.
Bi-level loft-style apartments increase the rentable square footage for the project and reduce construction costs by reducing elevator and stair heights by one story, while also providing expansive views and daylighting to occupants. The structural emphasis provided by the exposed concrete block and plank structure substitutes for more expensive finishes.
Balconies for each apartment activate the facade, and ground-floor passages provide access to what will be the plaza. The jury praised this infill project, saying it "creates a tapestry-like feature that enlivens the street and energizes the community."
Another urban multifamily project is Front Street, Block 97, located at Manhattan's South Street Seaport in New York City. Cook + Fox Architects designed this redevelopment project, which reconfigured a group of 19th-century brick warehouses to house 95 rental apartments and 13 ground-floor retail spaces.
"Dramatic recycling of existing building is far behind where it should be in the U.S.," remarked the jury, "and this project provides a creative solution to that problem..."
Some of the buildings were combined, several penthouse apartments were added, and many of the original facades were restored and embellished. Three modern structures were inserted on vacant lots. A varied composition of masonry and windows on the largest building suggests four separate, smaller buildings, echoing the rhythm of the existing streetscape.
Careful cuts in the historic buildings improve air circulation and allow daylight to reach the interiors. The open residential spaces feature original timbers and masonry. The development uses ten geothermal wells for its heating and cooling.
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