Page N1.2 . 12 August 2009                     
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AIA Small Project Awards 2009

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The resulting 2,350-square-foot (218-square-meter) dwelling consists of two wings arranged in a V plan, each with its own master bedroom. The structural system includes V-shaped interior columns that help create an open, unobstructed living space. A nearly all-glass exterior ushers in daylight and fosters an inside-outside feel.

As a result of the illness, Nanette Stump currently uses a walker, and Reggie reports that his mother appreciates the ease of movement in the house, which has no steps and few doors. "It's not a struggle like most houses she's lived in," says the architect, now working for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in San Francisco.

The exterior includes a broad swatch of Cor-Ten steel on one facade, a bold move Stump ascribes to the influence of Predock. Brick was also used extensively. But it's really a glass house, with an overhang that reduces solar heat gain.

Trailside Restroom

The intriguing Trail Restroom by Miró Rivera Architects is a discreet project that does a lot with a little. Part of a hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, Texas, the restroom consists of several weathering steel plates arranged into the form of a coiling spine. The idea was to give the facility the look of a sculpture. It's also handicap-accessible and includes not only naturally illuminated toilets and urinals, but also a shower, drinking fountain, and exterior bench.

"The structure creates a sense of curiosity when it is approached," the AIA jury wrote. "You would not necessarily know that it is a park bathroom until you got close to it. This project takes a rather pragmatic function and introduces an art component to it."

Backyard Studio

Also in Austin, the Chapin Studio by Clayton Levy Little Architects imbues spirit and ingenuity into a combined art studio and garden shed. Constructed with wood shingles and siding as well as plenty of windows, it takes its stylistic cues from the adjacent main house's neo-Victorian style. At the same time, the architects avoided caricature, and in contrast to its period detail, the studio has a metal roof to help collect rainwater.

"This was just a small art studio, but I just played up the fanciful aspects of Victorian architecture," says Emily Little, principal of Clayton Levy Little. "People talk about the sense of surprise it has. It's really almost whimsical."

The jury agreed: "There is kind of a playful richness to the project."

Swamp Cabin Quartet

The Swamp Hut in Newton, Massachusetts, designed by Boston's Moskow Linn Architects, is a warm-weather retreat consisting of four separate wood-framed structures surrounding a central deck.

Each prefabricated 8-by-12-foot (2.4-by-3.7-meter) structure has a steep gabled roof, evocative of larger A-frame cabins. The two huts designed for sleeping have translucent fiberglass roofs, while an aluminum roof provides privacy in the "cleansing hut." On the south side, a roofless hut extends over the swamp, providing an open-air structure for eating and wildlife observation.

"There is a real poetry about how the central elements of shelter have been pulled apart," the jury commented. "You also have this excellent interstitial space where the little campfire is. It is artfully crafted, simply executed and sits very lightly on the land."

Suburban Reuse

An excellent residential example of reuse is the Ferrous House in Spring Prairie, Wisconsin. Johnsen Schmaling Architects of Milwaukee reused the foundation, plumbing cores, and main perimeter walls of a dilapidated 1970s home. The project achieves an entirely new contemporary identity — even as it faintly recalls the work of Frank Lloyd Wright — suggesting a replicable approach to reclaiming outmoded suburban housing.

Three sides of the house are clad in a rain screen of weathering steel panels, providing privacy yet allowing light through several thin vertical shafts of glass, as well as a ring of glazing along the top of the structure. The back side of the house includes a patio extending from the main structure that acts as a kind of walled-in outdoor room.

Colorful Day Care

The Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development in Solana Beach, California, occupied an aging building with little street presence until a renovation designed by local firm Stephen Dalton Architects.

Dalton designed a colorful roof canopy to replace a deteriorating roof, providing shelter for exterior circulation while creating a distinctive entrance to the space. The canopy's colorful ceiling panels evoke the children's art projects found inside the classrooms, and durable phenolic panels on the building's front elevation create a playful public face. The facility now better reflects the center's commitment to fun, creativity, and the arts.   >>>

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Brian Libby is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer who has also published in Metropolis, Architectural Record, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.   More by Brian Libby

 

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Mirķ Rivera Architects designed the Trail Restroom alongside Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas.
Photo: Paul Bardagjy Extra Large Image

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A curving metal-plank wall forms the Trail Restroom's private interior space. Light enters from above through gaps between the wall and roof structure.
Photo: Paul Finkel Extra Large Image

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Clustered around a central deck, the four-unit Swamp Hut by Moskow Linn Architects provides rustic warm-weather camping facilities in Newton, Massachusetts.
Photo: Courtesy Moskow Linn Architects Extra Large Image

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The Chapin Studio in Austin, Texas, was designed by Clayton Levy Little Architects to accompany an existing neo-Victorian home.
Photo: Clayton Levy Little Architects Extra Large Image

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In Spring Prairie, Wisconsin, the Ferrous House is the result of an adaptive reuse of a dilapidated 1970s home.
Photo: Doug Edmunds/ Courtesy Johnsen Schmaling Architects Extra Large Image

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The Johnsen Schmaling Architects design for Ferrous House includes an open, daylit living-dining space adjacent to a galley kitchen.
Photo: Doug Edmunds/ Courtesy Johnsen Schmaling Architects Extra Large Image

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A renovation of the Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development by Stephen Dalton Architects updated the street facade and entry sequence.
Photo: Courtesy Stephen Dalton Architects Extra Large Image

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A colorful new canopy runs the length of the Hanna Fenichel Center.
Photo: Courtesy Stephen Dalton Architects Extra Large Image

 

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