The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), recognized four recipients of the 2010 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards.
The four categories of the program are
- Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
- Creating Community Connection Award
- Community-Informed Design Award
- Housing Accessibility - Alan J. Rothman Award.
These awards demonstrate that design matters, and the recipient projects offer examples of important developments in the housing industry.
Category 1: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
Paseo Senter at Coyote Creek, San Jose, Calif.
David Baker + Partners, Architects
A new urban district, this affordable neighborhood fronts a newly created main walking street, or Paseo, that connects the arterial roadway to the area’s adjacent park.
At its midpoint, the Paseo widens into a public plaza that holds the main entries to the two residential districts. The bold color palette has proved extremely popular with residents and the community, who consider the project a signature addition to the neighborhood.
The property is 100% handicapped- and wheelchair-accessible, and the pool features an automatic lift.
Jury's Comments: :"A delightful project showing an exuberance of life and culture. Its admirable translation of the plaza and paseo prototypes contribute a human scale and sense of place. This is housing that makes a community, where one was sorely needed. "
Category 2: Creating Community Connection Award
Arbor Lofts, Lancaster, Calif.
This 21-unit affordable housing development for artists is the first urban infill project to be completed since the city implemented its new Downtown Specific Plan to transform this mostly vacant city area into a place of historic, cultural, social, economic and civic vitality.
The design incorporates many sustainable design methods; among these, the use of high efficiency mechanical systems qualifies the design to exceed California Title 24 Energy Code requirements by 20% and the lighting system exceeds the requirements by 24% which significantly reduces the use of energy.
Jury's Comments: "Multiple uses of the outdoor gallery and storefront spaces provide many opportunities for the community to participate in this project. Also, in terms of height of ceilings and other proportions, the different scales of the project make it quite unique and attractive. HUD encourages communities to invest in existing infrastructure, and this is an infill project which embodies that principle, revitalizing the community by taking existing valuable resources and re purposing them in a unique and innovative way."
Category 3: Community-Informed Design Award
Congo Street Green Initiative, Dallas
building community WORKSHOP
A tight-knit community consisting of 17 single-family and duplex houses, all built before 1910, recognized the need for re-development, but also did not want to relocate.
Through a series of conversations with the residents, a plan was developed to restore and/or reconstruct six owner-occupied homes. The idea is centered around the concept of creating a temporary home, or “holding house,” to house the family whose home was currently under renovation.
To date, three resident’s homes have been completed and the fourth is under construction.
Jury's Comments: "The project shows thoughtful consideration of the occupant’s needs, which is especially important because of their economic difficulties. It shows a beautiful re-use of existing housing stock, and the fact that the owners can remain makes it 100 percent better still. The architectural team’s understanding of neighborhood social structures and resident investment in the revitalization process were essential to project success. unique and innovative way."
Category 4: Housing Accessibility—Alan J. Rothman Award
Madrona Live / Work, Seattle
Tyler Engle Architects PS
A converted storefront built in the early 1900’s for a client with an extensive art collection required a flexible and multi-functional space that provides wheelchair accessibility while not making that the primary focus of the design.
Entering from the sidewalk, the main living space has a single level polished concrete slab for unrestricted wheelchair access.
A floating concrete countertop that steps from low to high accommodates disparate height requirements of the clients and exemplifies how the design provides an elegant solution on a tight construction budget.
Jury's Comments: "This project transcends our preconceptions about accessible design and illustrates how Universal Design can be embodied in a design solution that is attractive and usable to a wide audience. While small scale, this project evidences how accessibility and high quality design can go hand in hand. "
Images and content courtesy of the AIA