Page N1.2 . 27 August 2008                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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AIA Small Projects 2008


The house includes hand-made clay roof tiles, a Spanish cedar door that moves on a single-pivot hinge, and almost all custom-designed interior furniture, casework, and light fixtures. The structure is not actually a residence, but a place to enjoy the client's Tolkien collection.

One of the building's features, a custom "butterfly window" with operable semicircular sashes crafted from solid mahogany and iron, won an award of its own in the objects category.

Several other awards went to residential renovations. Casa 218 in San Antonio, Texas, by local architect Candid Rogers, added 960 square feet (89 square meters) to a circa-1873 home, contrasting the original stone cottage with a new addition clad in galvanized metal panels.

For the Wedge House in Bethesda, Maryland, Donald Lococo Architects renovated a 1970s home with a unique triangular shape by adding a series of decks, terraces, and transparent walls and frames to allow better viewing of a new park adjacent to the property.

The Penmar Studio-Residence in Venice, California, by architect Dean Nota, also takes advantage of a triangular site, expanding an old garage into a two-story live-work space for a photographer. The structure is defined by its folded metal-clad roof planes on the outside and the unique angular volumes it creates inside.

In the objects category, Alterstudio was recognized for its phased renovation of the Hidden Cove residence, using ample glass and creating a greater indoor-outdoor connection for the home, located on a private inlet on Lake Austin in Texas.

Modular-Elm by Randy Brown Architects received an honorable mention in the structures category. The project uses prefab technology to provide affordable, high-density modern housing as an alternative to typical homebuilder McMansions in Omaha, Nebraska.

The smallest residence honored was the Marfa 10x10 Lightbox by Candid Rogers. A temporary retreat, it affords staggering views of the surrounding Chinati mountains and Chihuahuan desert, as well as the numerous art installations dating to the arrival of legendary artist Donald Judd in the West Texas town of Marfa in 1971. The architecture consists of two stacked boxes, each clad in rusty Cor-Ten steel siding with a Judd-like minimalist awning structure opening out from an open wall into the house.


Laboratory for Environments, Architecture & Design (LEAD Inc.) was recognized for Tempo, a monument in Husnes, Norway, commissioned by an aluminum company to symbolize its symbiotic relationship with the local community. Composed of welded aluminum pieces and a structural fabric funnel, the piece can dramatically change color with the help of 306 LED lights programmed to respond to different environmental conditions and cultural events.

A less bombastic but equally affecting participatory public art piece, PINE/Cone by SALA Architects makes a serene gathering place in Chaska, Minnesota, from a slatted-wood box cantilevered over the forest floor.

PBC+L Architecture of Raleigh, North Carolina, received an honorable mention for its simple bus-shelter prototype. The shelter fuses just two components: a structural wall built onsite that serves as a bench, and a prefabricated aluminum canopy frame that can quickly be hoisted into place, with a Brazilian ipe hardwood bench adding a touch of traditional materiality.

Notable Objects

Besides appearing in traditional public and private spaces, great design also sometimes imagines usable space in transitional and otherwise unoccupied spaces between buildings.

Connector, another Randy Brown Architects project in Omaha, is a bridge-like interior stairwell space that unites two existing buildings of differing floor heights. Made from polycarbonate, rusted metal, wood, and glass, the bridge's transparency makes it a kind of miniature winter garden, full of lightness.

Two other winning projects also celebrate and slow down the experience of transitional spaces. PJ's Coffee Shop by Wayne Troyer Architects is located on the campus of Tulane University in New Orleans. It uses a floor-to-ceiling glass storefront within an underground breezeway beneath Percival Stern Hall.   >>>

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ArchWeek Image

A round entry door graces the Hobbit House.
Photo: Peter Archer

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A "butterfly" window in Hobbit House was independently recognized in the "small project objects" category.
Photo: Tom Crane Photography

ArchWeek Image

The residential addition and renovation of Casa 218 in San Antonio, Texas, was designed by architect Candid Rogers.
Photo: Chris Cooper

ArchWeek Image

The Casa 218 addition includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen.
Photo: Chris Cooper

ArchWeek Image

Donald Lococo Architects remodeled the 1970s Wedge House in Bethesda, Maryland.
Photo: Donald Lococo

ArchWeek Image

Its renovation of the Hidden Cove residence earned Alterstudio recognition in the objects category.
Photo: Thomas McConnell Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The Marfa 10x10 Lightbox in Marfa, Texas, was also designed by Candid Rogers.
Photo: Chris Cooper

ArchWeek Image

The Marfa Lightbox is clad in corrugated Cor-Ten steel.
Photo: Chris Cooper


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