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American Institute of Architects - Housing and Community Design Awards

The Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in conjunction with the Residential Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), recognizes excellence in affordable housing, community-based design, participatory design, and accessibility. These awards demonstrate that design matters and provide examples of important benchmarks in the housing industry. Awards are offered in four categories: Community–Informed Design Award, Creating Community Connection Award, Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award, and Housing Accessibility— Alan J. Rothman Award.

American Institute of Architects - Housing and Community Design Awards


Community-Informed Design Award
This award recognizes design that supports physical communities as they rebuild social structures and relationships that may have been weakened by outmigration, disinvestment, and the isolation of inner-city areas.

Kings Beach Housing Now:

Kings Beach Housing Now is a sustainable, workforce housing project consisting of nine building on five sites in Lake Tahoe. The Kings Beach Housing Now development team worked to incorporate the community in every step of the development process. The development team began by forming partnerships with community advocates and nonprofits to sponsor the first Housing Needs Assessment in Kings Beach, helping to identify the community’s demand for affordable housing. The Housing Needs Assessment involved the analysis of a total of 335 surveys in both English and Spanish, which were collected at community events and local social services. The development team also held over 30 bilingual community meetings to inform the project’s planning and design. The resulting development provides 77 energy-efficient, affordable apartments, spread over five sites in Kings Beach (Brook, Chipmunk, Deer, Fox, and Trout), for low-income workers and families who previously lived in substandard converted motel rooms, cabins, and trailers. The sites replace dilapidated, inefficient housing with new, LEED Certified Silver apartments that reduce negative impacts on the environment while reusing infill land and preserving Tahoe’s beautiful open space.

Domus Development; YHLA Architects

Creating Community Connection Award
This award recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purpose of either revitalization or planned growth.

Kelly Cullen Community: San Francisco, CA.

Located in the Tenderloin neighborhood, this historic Central YMCA building underwent a $55 million renovation to establish a complex that provides permanent housing and supportive services for the chronically homeless and those at risk in San Francisco. The facility includes 174 micro units of about 200 square feet, an 11,700 square foot LEED Commercial Interior Gold-certified behavioral and mental health clinic, and amenities such as a gym, auditorium, multipurpose room, and swimming pool. The project relied on historic preservation tax credits for partial funding, requiring significant care in maintaining original design features including window bays, terrazzo stairs, tile walls, wood ceilings, and translucent planters around the new grand stairway, as well as wood, tile, and marble finishes. Additional effort was taken to ensure a healthy and sustainable living environment through efficient lighting and ventilation.

Gelfand Partners Architects; Knapp Architects

Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
This award recognizes architecture that demonstrates overall excellence in terms of design in response to both the needs and constraints of affordable housing.

28th Street Apartments:

The 28th Street Apartments are sustainable, affordable, supportive housing units located in a restored YMCA building and an adjacent newly constructed building in an ethnically mixed and chronically underserved neighborhood in south Los Angeles. The YMCA building, which was in a state of disrepair at the time of its purchase in 2007, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dating back to 1926, the building was designed by noted African-American Architect Paul R. William and features Spanish Colonial revival masonry. The YMCA’s renovation involved restoring the exterior of the building, adapting the interior for housing units, and adding photovoltaic panels on the south façade and solar hot water panels on the roof to help the building achieve LEED Gold certification. Together with a newly constructed, five-story, stucco-clad building, the renovated building now offers 48 supportive housing apartments and employment training for neighborhood youth. Supportive housing units include 23 units for residents at 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), 7 units for residents at 40 percent of AMI, and 18 units for residents at 50 percent of AMI. Thirty of the 48 units are reserved for homeless or mentally ill individuals.

Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.

Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award
The purpose of this award is to recognize exemplary projects that demonstrate excellence in improving housing accessibility for people with disabilities.

Sierra Bonita Apartments:

Sierra Bonita Apartments is a display of West Hollywood’s commitment to full inclusion of individuals with disabilities, as well as the city’s first all-affordable mixed-use development and the first project designed and completed using the city’s new Green Building Ordinance. The development includes 42 one-bedroom units for very low-income individuals with permanent disabilities and 3,000 square feet of street-level space for community-serving nonprofit organizations in a 5-story building. The building utilizes passive solar design and incorporates rooftop solar panels and energy-efficient appliances. Individuals with disabilities participated in the design and development of the project, requesting pleasant views of outdoor spaces. The development accomplished this goal, providing low-maintenance, drought-tolerant landscaped outdoor spaces, visible from two roof decks on the building’s fifth floor.