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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.

AIA - Housing and Community Design Awards


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

Recipient: Leland Apartments. San Francisco

"The strong urban facade was designed to complement the diverse assortment of architectural styles and building uses in the immediate neighborhood: old residential hotels, new live/work loft buildings, commercial buildings and automobile garages, has been widely accepted and praised by many of these neighbors." The project design incorporates such features as: dual elevators with emergency power, power assisted doors in all common areas, filtered air supply and wide hallways. All 24 of the 2 bedroom/1 bath, 800 single-family units are designed with fully equipped and fully accessible open kitchens, accessible bathrooms and open floor plans devoid of hallways. The building facilities also include a Community Room and laundry, as well as 21 parking spaces.

Housing Accessibility - Alan J. Rothman Award
Community building is a people-based approach to fighting poverty that builds on the assets of the community. It supports people on the poor neighborhoods as they rebuild social structures and relationships that may have been weakened by out-migration, disinvestment, and the isolation of inner-city areas.

Co-Recipient: Public Market in Portland, ME

Throughout the development process significant efforts were made to inform and educate the community about public markets. Local and state governments were actively solicited for their ideas, as were the region’s farmers and neighborhood residents. Outreach to the neighborhood institutions resulted in the involvement of a local social service agency, the Preble Street Resource Center, as a vendor in the market with their first entrepreneurial venture, Stone Soup Foods. The local community has responded strongly to the public market. The market attracts people of all different income levels. It is common to see the indigent people with their belongings sitting next to businessmen in suits conducting impromptu meetings next to young mothers with baby strollers. People of all ages are found in the market, including teenagers. Overall, there is an immense amount of pride about the public market and what it means to the failure to the city. The success of the public market is its ability to provide opportunities to small food producers and farmers, helping to strengthen Maine’s agricultural economy and simultaneously provide enormous benefits to a marginal downtown area. In the age of increasing globalization and corporate capriciousness, the public market shows that, small local companies can succeed.

Co-Recipient: Orchard Gardens, Roxbury, MA

The project was resident-driven with broad community involvement. Resident organization has been involved in detailed planning for over seven years including and early rehab phase HOPE VI Planning grant and HOPE VI Implementation grant. Residents organizations and PHA reached out to community organizations to facilitate the redevelopment of over 100 abandoned lots and derelict buildings to re-knit the neighborhood fabric and integrate the public housing. The projects implementation process reinforced and built on social and human capital by numerous residents who were hired for construction, management, and maintenance jobs; resident organization formed a joint development committee including residents from adjacent neighborhoods - the process became "we" instead of "them vs. us"; public housing residents moved into new off-site units integrating into the neighborhood, building trust; the mixed income redevelopment eliminates the isolation of poor families; project removed the blight depressing commercial/retail redevelopment in area. Re-investment is now soaring. Over 100 abandoned lots and derelict buildings were converted from neighborhood liabilities into assets. The vacant historic school at the center of the site was rehabbed. The School Department was convinced to build the City’s first new Community Learning Center school on the site. The project created housing of a scale and density that fits into the surrounding community comfortably and enhanced the quality of the public park by reconfiguring it.

Housing Accessibility - Alan J. Rothman Award
This award recognizes projects that embrace and demonstrate the revitalizing potential of mixed-use and mixed-income housing developments. "Mixed-use housing" refers to developments that combine residential land use with nonresidential uses(s), such as retail centers,, community centers, public facilities, and the like, "Mixed- income housing" refers to residential developments designed and financed to include market-rate as well as below-market-rate (affordable) housing.

Co-Recipient: Center City Ward, Charlotte NC

This neighborhood once dominated by 409 public housing units on eleven crime-ridden city blocks, has been transformed into a mixed income neighborhood. A unique public/private collaboration among the City, the Housing Authority, and a Community Development Corporation combined a HOPE VI grant with other private and public investments to create a mixed-income core which has catalyzed the redevelopment of the entire 50 block Wards. The former uniform image of the Ward has been changed by creating new public open spaces that establish several different districts, each with its own character. The lower density ones are at the edge and the higher density ones closer in to the central business core. As a result, there are waiting lists for market rate units in units adjacent to those occupied by public housing residents and persons with other rent subsidies. The once moribund area has become a true mixed income community.

Co-Recipient: Vermont Avenue, South Central Los Angeles, CA

This project is a mixed-use block in a once thriving commercial corridor and home to the administration building of Pepperdine College. By the early 90’s the ArtDeco Pepperdine building remained as an empty relic on an otherwise vacant block of Vermont frontage. This project makes the old infrastructure of Vermont’s frontage into a new functional pattern that can extend for many blocks.