American Institute of Architects hands out annual awards

The American Institute of Architects handed out the 2012 Housing Awards, which recognizes projects at the “pinnacle of design, creativity and sustainability.”

The projects were considered in four categories, including custom-built homes for one family, large structures that sleep many individuals in their own apartments and specialized buildings like community centers.

The 10 homes selected were: space-age home The Nakahouse in the Hollywood Hills; luxury home Relic Rock in Scottsdale, Ariz.; stone inspired home The Pierre in the San Juan Islands off Washington state; futuristic condo complex Camelview Village in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Hampden Lane House in Bethesda, Md.; The Live Work Home in Syracuse, N.Y.; luxury Carmel residence in Carmel-by-Sea, Calif.; new Jesuit Community center in Fairfield, Conn.; low-budget homes in San Francisco; and new college halls of residence in Houston, Texas.

The award for one/two family custom housing focused on the remodeling of homes for specific clients. Awarded were: Carmel Residence, Hampden Lane House, Nakahouse, The Pierre and Relic Rock.

The Carmel Residence in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., was completed by Dirk Denison Architects, with the abode boasting of rooms flowing from a central courtyard with nooks for the kitchen and office spaces, and areas separated by screens of mahogany and steel.


The Hampden Lane House in Bethesda, Maryland by architect Robert M. Gurney has been described as “a simple cube where all spaces are utilized”. The house is approximately 2,200 square feet, with the flat roof providing an additional 1,100 square feet of outdoor living space with views of treetops and downtown Bethesda.

The Pierre (Photo courtesy of AIA)

Relic Rock (Photo courtesy of AIA)

Hampden Lane House (Photo courtesy of AIA)


Nakahouse in Los Angeles is by XTEN Architecture. A remodel of a 1960s hillside house, it boasts a series of indoor-outdoor spaces with framed views to nature rendered in white steel, plaster and concrete. This is said to lend to the concept of an “uncontained” space, with no rigid beginnings or ends. The contrast between the interior and exterior of the house is also apparent, with the interiors dominantly colored lightly, and the exterior walls finished in a black monolithic plaster system.

The Pierre on the San Juan Islands, Washington was created by Olson Kundig Architects. Conceived as a bunker, it features rocks extruding into the home, interior and exterior hearths carved out of existing stone, and the master bathroom sink and the powder room fully carved out of the rock.

Meanwhile, designed by DCHGlobal Inc., the Relic Rock in Scottsdale, Arizona boasts sustainable features, including 99% recycled steel and “floating” floor plans that kept the rocks around and under the property untouched. The system used was designed to the LEED Platinum level, and can be constructed in any location, climate, or terrain.

The winner of the one/two family custom residences award – which recognizes outstanding designs for custom and remodeled homes for specific clients – was the Live Work Home in Syracuse, New York. Designed by Cook + Fox Architects, it has skylight tubes and perforated screens that allow light to bounce, in response to the long and dark winters of Syracuse.

The award for multifamily housing – which recognizes apartment and condominium design for both public and private clients that include open and recreational space – was given to Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments and Optima Camelview Village.

David Baker + Partners designed the Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments in San Francisco, comprising of 120 studio apartments for low-income formerly homeless residents, many with mental and physical disabilities. The sustainable infill development remediates the site of a demolished freeway with green homes, on-site social services, generous outdoor and common spaces, and neighborhood-serving retail. The apartments incorporate sunshades, awnings, and alternating glass panels and board form concrete columns to create a dynamic facade. Local and reclaimed materials were used.

Nakahouse (Photo courtesy of AIA)

Live Work Home (Photo courtesy of AIA)

Carmel Residence (Photo courtesy of AIA)


Drawing inspiration from the surrounding mountains and Native American desert communities, Optima Camelview Village in Scottsdale, Arizona was designed by David Hovey & Associates Architect, Inc. It is comprised of a 700-unit mixed-use condominium development with 11 interconnected, terraced, bridge-linked buildings that has a pedestrian friendly environment of interconnected landscaped courtyards. Deep-layered shades, shadows, colors, textures and transparency along with overlapping and interconnected forms and voids create a diverse composition of space. Overhanging bridges and cantilevering landscaped terraces shade public pedestrian courtyards, creating shelter as a serene sanctuary from the southwest desert.

The special housing award by AIA is for the design of housing that fits a specific purpose, such as homes for the disabled, rehabilitation centers or domestic violence shelters. The winners were the McMurtry & Duncan Colleges, Houston and the Jesuit Community Center, Fairfield, Connecticut.

Rice University in Houston, Texas enlisted Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company with Hopkins Architects to build McMurtry & Duncan Colleges.
Here, seven buildings, designed in the collegiate quadrangle tradition, accommodate 650 students and faculty masters. These are woven together with shaded arcades and existing tree-lined walks to create a careful composition and hierarchy of buildings and spaces and honoring the order of the original campus plan. Both colleges have earned LEED Gold.

The Jesuit Community Center in Fairfield, Connecticut was by Gray Organschi Architecture. The apostolic center houses resident Jesuit priests and their guests, administrative offices, a chapel, community dining room, great room, and library.

Established 150 years ago, the American Institute of Architects currently has over 79,000 members. The 2012 Housing Awards jury included: Sandra A. LaFontaine, AIA, (jury chair) LaFontaine Architecture and Design, Worthington, Ohio; Allison Arieff, New York Times, San Francisco; Sara E. Caples, AIA, Caples Jefferson Architects, New York City; Jerome King, FAIA, The Office of Jerome King, San Jose, Calif.; and Bill Moore, AIA, Sprocket Design Build, Inc., Denver.

Jesuit Community Center (Photo courtesy of AIA)

Optima Camelview Village (Photo courtesy of AIA)



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