The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have selected the 10 recipients of the 2010 Small Project Awards. The AIA Small Project Awards Program, now in its sixth year, was established to recognize small-project practitioners for the high quality of their work and to promote excellence in small-project design. This award program emphasizes the excellence of small-project design and strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to projects, no matter the limits of size and scope.
The jury for the Small Project Awards includes: Tom Howorth, FAIA, Howorth & Associates; Kevin Harris, FAIA, Kevin Harris and Associates; Camilo Parra, AIA, Parra Design Group LTD; Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA, Dean, University of Minnesota College of Design and David Miller, FAIA, Miller Hull Partnership.
Award recipients are categorized into three groups; Architecture in the Public Interest, Small Project Objects (up to $50,000 construction budget) and Small Project Structures (up to $500,000 construction budget).
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Architecture in the Public Interest
Art as Shelter; Raleigh, North Carolina
Designed and built as an integral component of the North Carolina Museum of Art Park’s ‘art-in-service’ projects program, ‘Art as Shelter’ offers visitors a sheltered place to sit and reflect upon the museum sculpture park and public greenway. Viewed as an object in the landscape or experienced from within, the pavilion offers magnificent veiled panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Large clear spans promote the use as an indoor/outdoor classroom for teaching about art and nature. Docent-led student groups utilize the space as a studio; where folding tables, stools, and art-making materials are stored in frosted-acrylic clad boxes that double as benches and nighttime illumination.
The pavilion is wrapped in varying widths of perforated metal bands, which offer experiences that change with seasons, light and vantage point of the viewer. The metallic “skin” reflects its natural surroundings by taking on colors of the grass and sky, or at times disappearing into a moiré pattern of light and shadow.
An exercise in efficient and accurate construction techniques, the kit-of-parts system allowed for the components to be fabricated in the shop and field assembled like ‘Tinkertoys’. Metal, both steel and aluminum, was selected for its structural, aesthetic and recycled content qualities.
Construction Cost in whole dollars $62,000
Photographs JWest Productions
SplitFrame; Portland, Connecticut
North Studio at Wesleyan University
SplitFrame is a wildlife viewing structure designed and constructed to maximize environmental exposure while minimizing impact, both in construction and over the projected life of the structure. Sited in a publicly accessible wildlife sanctuary, the core of the project consists of two integral pieces - a floating Observation Deck and an elevated Viewing Station - connected via a hinged staircase, allowing the Observation Deck to rise and fall with the seasonal change in water levels.
The project is situated at the end of a long berm, a vestige of the site’s former use as a commercial cranberry bog.
This existing berm was integrated into the project as an access path, drawing visitors out over the water, under the Viewing Station, and onto a ramp to the Observation Deck. Informed by research on sustainable construction technologies and building materials, design precedents, and the project’s 19-acre site, SplitFrame was undertaken as a pro bono collaborative research/design/build project by 15 undergraduate students, their architecture studio instructor, and a local, non-profit client. The two platform components provide an immersive site experience, bringing visitors out onto the water, and offering an overview of the sanctuary from the maple tree canopy above.
Construction Cost in whole dollars 20,000
Photographs by Elijah_Huge_North_Studio
Shadow Pavilion; Ann Arbor, Michigan
It was Robert Le Ricolais, early pioneer of surface and space frame structures, that said “the art of structure is where to put the holes”. His eloquent statement is even more relevant today given the ability to link the precision of the computer with the precision of computer controlled cutting equipment.
The Shadow Pavilion explores the paradox of a perforated structure where the removal of material makes a structure lighter and weaker. The Shadow Pavilion, is both a structure and a space made entirely of holes. The pavilion surface is made with over 100 aluminum laser cut cones that vary in size. Beyond testing the limits of sheet aluminum, the cones funnel light and sound to the interior space, offering visitors a space to take in the views and sounds of the surrounding landscape.
Organizational schemes for the cones are explored, including the logic behind the concept of phyllotaxis. In botany, phyllotaxis describes a plant’s spiral packing arrangement of its elements. The organization of the cones may limit the form, but can strengthen the structure. The laser cutting process uses the digital design information to precision cut and finish the aluminum cones.
Construction Cost in whole dollars 22000
Photographs by Karl Daubmann
Plug-in satellite office – ASU; Phoenix
Mark Ryan Studio
Description by the Architects: Inspired by the ‘Cell’ art installations of Louise Bourgeois, particularly an interpretation of the notion of 'solitude within groups' this transformable, movable, satellite work space for a University College is set within a larger photography/video studio in downtown Phoenix.
When not in use the steel tube frame enclosure can compact to 7’ x 14’ and can be moved as necessary throughout the studio. When fully deployed it occupies a floor space that is 14’ square and accommodates one to four persons.
It can be ‘plugged-in’ as needed around the entire studio perimeter where data and electrical services are located. The specific site for the satellite inside this historic warehouse was chosen for its active, energetic atmosphere within the emerging downtown arts district that sits adjacent to the University’s downtown campus in process.
There was, however, a stated desire for some necessary relief, or ‘solitude’, from this same dynamic environment for purposes of productivity and sanity. Derived compositionally from a marriage of regulating line proportions and direct human dimensions, the space uses simple interior shelf units as a way to interrupt outward views while seated yet also allowing full participation with the space and activities when standing.
Construction Cost in whole dollars $5,000
Prospect.1 Welcome Center; New Orleans
The largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, exhibits 81 artists in museums, historic buildings, and found sites throughout New Orleans. The Welcome Center for P.1 is housed in one of these found spaces – the historic Hefler Warehouse – and serves to orient visitors to the city and the biennial.
The design was inspired by the shape and scale of shipping containers, a nod to the significance of the port to the city’s economy and a reference to the nature of delivery for much of the art exhibited for the biennial.
Due to constraints of time and budget – the entire project was designed and constructed in 6 weeks at a total cost of $28,000 – a single construction material was selected that was both inexpensive and readily available.
Utilizing construction grade plywood as floor, wall, ceiling and structure, the internal form is manipulated to provide hospitality desk, display counter, refreshment center and seating bench for visitors. Acting as a container within a container, the ribbed plywood exterior construction acts in dialogue with the wood structure of the historic warehouse, contrasting the architecture of old and new.
Construction Cost in whole dollars 28,000
Puptent; New York City
Description by the Architects: This piece was an exploration in materials designed and fabricated for the Design Trust for Public Spaces Annual Auction. The project requirements were: to create a “nest”--something that could support residence for a creature, and would fit in a taxi. The auction was intended to raise money for a handful of public projects sponsore by the Design Trust and featured the work of a variety of artists and architects, including: Christo, Kiki Smith, Isaac Mizrahi, Lewis Tsurmaki Lewis, Hariri & Hariri, Tsao & McKown, etc.
Our design is for a modern, indoor dog lounge or PUP TENT. Water-jet cut plywood was laminated to create a conical shape. The exterior surface was sanded and finished smooth and the interior maintains the stepping configuration characteristic of the plywood lamina. A surface pattern is created as the planar plies of the wood intersect with the conical geometry of the surface. The design is sustainable as well as the configuration promotes the stack effect and the skylight and window provide natural light!
Construction Cost in whole dollars $ 1000
Small Project Structures
East Village Studio; New York City
Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture
Living and working in just under 500 square feet, the client had been pushing the limits of what his studio, in Manhattan's East Village, would accommodate but he loved the neighborhood, and appreciated the environmental benefits of having such a minimal footprint.
The architects pointed out that the client had been occupying the space without ever really living in it, nothing had a home. They goal, they decided, should be to embed his lifestyle into the DNA of the place. Let his living patterns sculpt and mold the space to create an elegant and efficient environment.
The solution was ultimately to combine the kitchen, bath, sleeping loft and a new walk-in closet into an intricately sculpted wood-paneled central service core. The space outside of the core area would remain as flexible as possible, with millwork finished in a high-gloss white to read as part of the shell and stand in contrast to the wooden service core.
Construction Cost in whole dollars 100,000
Salve Staff Canteen; Milwaukee
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
This small canteen serves the cooks, janitors, and maids of an ornate downtown hotel built in 1893. Located deep inside the building’s subterranean belly and without access to daylight, the canteen was carved out of a cluttered maze of residual spaces previously occupied by closets, obsolete mechanical equipment, and a make-shift break room.
Invisible to the well-endowed hotel guests above, this modest back-of-the-house project demonstrates architecture’s transformative power, regardless of scope or budget limitations, benefitting a community of workers at the bottom of the economic food chain. A simple perimeter ribbon weaves around massive columns and conceals the basement’s ubiquitous mechanical and structural clutter, tying together the fragmented spaces and transforming them into a quiet dining room with a long “harvest table” at its center.
Throughout the space, carefully positioned “history apertures” – deep acrylic-sheathed display cases – penetrate the perimeter to peel away and expose hidden layers of the hotel’s past. Masonry foundations, pipes, furring strips, paint spills and water stains from previous leaks: laid bare and subtly illuminated, these historic traces become artifacts, framing an eloquent narrative of the building’s structural and aesthetic DNA. The apertures become windows into the past, their warm light softly washing the space.
Construction Cost in whole dollars $60,000
Kevin Mundy Memorial Bridge; Bozeman, Montana
This unique structure is proof that great things are done in partnership. With the help of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, the Montana Outdoor Science School, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and many others, this bridge and outdoor classroom provides a key link for pedestrian access to a new impressive trail system, and acts as a focal point for passive and active education and recreation.
The bridge is easily accessible from the trail head, yet secluded enough to create a destination and unique discovery.
With a clear span of 50 feet, the bridge is two halves made up of two opposing shed trusses, each with a high part and a lower part. The moment frame, accentuated by powder-coated orange steel, joins the two wood halves together. Seating is designed to accommodate many and offer dynamic shelter to contemplate the art of the structure and the nature of the place. From various perspectives, including the winding approaches and from points high along the trail, the dynamic form continues to surprise and impress.
The poetry of the form comes from the straight lines that, when connected, create a graceful flowing curve.
Construction Cost in whole dollars $150,000
Photographs by Derik Olsen
[Wide] Band - Nomadic Café; Los Angeles
Griffin Enright Architects
Project Description [WIDE]BAND is a 600-square foot, portable project with the flexibility to accommodate a multiplicity of functions (more or less the architectural equivalent of a hermit crab shell).
Originally designed as an installation for NeoCon West, it was then moved to the A + D Museum in Los Angeles where it functioned as a café by day and as a bar/lounge space at night without altering the configuration.
The name, [WIDE]BAND, alludes to the physical loop formed by the surfaces and to the broadband technology supporting the wireless Internet access provided. The primary material, orange 3/4” polycarbonate core panels (Pep) manufactured by 3Form, was chosen for its structural capacity to span large spaces and for its translucency, allowing the structure to be exceptionally thin and light. The panels are supported by a light skeleton of 1½” steel frames.
Walls, floor, and ceiling are shaped by wrapping the panels in a continuous loop, culminating in a long table which becomes an obstacle in the center of the room directing movement around and through the semi-transparent landscape. The table bisects the space, while becoming a nexus for engagement, promoting the interaction of visitors with each other as they negotiate the space. Construction Cost in whole dollars 32,000
Photographs by Benny Chan, Fotoworks