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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: Inglis Gardens. Eastwick, Pennsylvania

Architect: Cecil Baker and Associates
Developer: Inglis Housing Corporation

Inglis Gardens at Eastwick is a wheelchair community offering long-term and transitional care for adults with chronic disabilities. Built by a provider of therapeutic programs and barrier-free living for wheelchair users, the facility exceeds the accessibility recommendations set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project includes 12 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartments for low-income adults. Each unit is equipped with bathroom fixtures, doorways, and light switches accessible from a wheelchair, as well as fully accessible parking, ramps, and other exterior features.

Located in southwest Philadelphia on a former brownfield, the attractive one-story "village" was designed to integrate into the existing neighborhood. It is convenient to shopping, medical, recreational, and banking facilities as well as to public transportation. Funding for Inglis Gardens at Eastwick and its sister project, Inglis Gardens at Eastwick II, was provided by HUD Section 811 moneys, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency PennHOMES funds, the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, and city of Philadelphia Community Development Block Grant funds.

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.

Recipient: Arbolera De Vida. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Architect: Design Workshop
Associate Architect: Studio E Architects
Owner: Sawmill Community Land Trust

Arbolera De Vida (Orchard of Life), located in the Old Town district of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was designed to provide both long-term affordable housing and economic opportunity for its residents. Developed by Sawmill Community Land Trust, a local nonprofit, Arbolera De Vida includes single-family homes; townhomes; apartments; live/work units; and commercial, light industrial, and retail space, including an incubator. The homes are tailored for low- and moderate-income families and many include energy-saving features such as passive solar orientation and double-glazed windows. The land on which the homes are built is held in trust by the Sawmill Community Land Trust and leased to homeowners for 99 years.

The 27-acre site formerly housed a sawmill. The new community plan and its buildings are designed to tie into existing adjacent neighborhoods and to maximize the conservation of energy and water resources through careful siting and by minimizing runoff. The neighborhood follows the New Urbanism style of development, incorporating design features such as pedestrian walkways, porches, rear garages, neighborhood businesses, and open green space. The focal points of the community are a public plaza, community center, and park. The plaza provides sitting and performance space underneath an arbor and, secondarily, serves as a storm runoff detention basin. Surface runoff was a primary technical concern to project architects since underground storm sewers in the area were already at capacity.

The Sawmill Community Land Trust partnered with the city of Albuquerque to develop the project.

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: TriBeCa Pointe. Manhattan, New York

Architect: Gruzen Amton LLP
Owner: Rockrose Development Corporation

Located in the Battery Park Section of Manhattan, TriBeCa Pointe is a 42-story residential tower containing studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom rental units. The 340 apartments are an 80 percent/20 percent mix of market-rate and government-subsidized affordable units. Among the building's features are a roof deck and solarium, a children's playroom, and spectacular views of the Hudson River and lower Manhattan skyline.

The building includes a seven-story base designed to continue the architectural style of nearby Stuyvesant High School, blending into a common composition through the use of unified brick color and similar mass. The street façade also integrates architectural details found on historic buildings in the adjacent TriBeCa area, one of Manhattan's premier artistic and shopping districts. Located on the riverfront, TriBeCa Pointe is convenient to parks and playgrounds in Battery Park City and to sought-after schools such as I.S. 89 and P.S. 234.

Co-Recipient: East Lake Commons. Decatur, Georgia

Architect: Village Habitat Design, LLC
Associate Architect: Pimsler Hoss Associates
Owner: East Lake Commons Homeowners Association

Located less than 5 miles from downtown Atlanta, East Lake Commons is a mixed-income infill development built as a cohousing community. Cohousing developments combine private homes with commonly-owned facilities. At East Lake Commons the development's 67 townhomes are clustered on fewer than 10 acres, with the rest of the 20-acre site devoted to green space, an organic garden, and the Common House, in which residents share guest rooms, an entertainment dining room and kitchen, a workshop, and a playroom. Parking and access to the development are provided along one side, with pathways connecting the parking area to the houses. Home entrances are ramped to allow easy access by stollers and wheelchairs.

The development includes two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes, offered at a wide range of prices, with 5 percent of the units set aside as affordable housing. Energy-efficient techniques were incorporated in design and construction, and the houses include energy-saving features such as low emissivity windows and special gasketing.

East Lake Commons was developed on a tract that-prior to redevelopment-was a crime-ridden brownfield strewn with old tires. More than half of the acreage was set aside for community purpose, with the neighborhood developed around pedestrian ways, an orchard and garden, and wildlife corridors. At the request of residents, the green space is permanently protected by an easement, recorded on the title. In addition to the natural amenity, community residents also enjoy good access to local public transportation networks to help connect them to downtown Atlanta.

Co-Recipient: Center Commons. Portland, Oregon

Architect (apartments and senior building): Otak Architects PC
Developer: Lennar Affordable Housing
Architect (townhomes): Vallaster and Corl Architects
Developer: Innovative Housing

Situated on 5 acres and located within walking distance of a MAX light rail line, Center Commons in Portland Oregon, is a mixed-income, transit-oriented development consisting of 4 apartment buildings and 26 townhouses. Designed as a cohesive campus, the apartment buildings contain 172 units of affordable housing for seniors, 60 two-, three-, and four-bedroom affordable family units, and 56 market-rate units. Also included in the apartment complex are an onsite day care facility and a play area for children. The three-story condominium townhouses were built primarily for first time homeowners and were made available for sale to both conventional and below-median-income buyers. Income-qualifying households receive a 10-year transit-oriented property tax abatement from the city of Portland because of the development's proximity to the MAX light rail system.

Prior to redevelopment, the Center Commons site housed an Oregon Department of Transportation vehicle maintenance yard, shop, and regional offices, necessitating demolition of a 58,000-square-foot building and the removal of soil contaminated by diesel fuel and oil.

Co-Recipient: Swan's Market Place. Oakland, California

Architect: Pyatok Associates
Associate Architect: Y.H. Lee
Owner: East Bay Asian Local Development Corp.

Located in the Old Oakland Neighborhood, Swan's Market Place-built in stages between 1917 and 1940-encompasses an entire city block. After years of success as a thriving shopping destination, it fell prey to the decline of Oakland's core and closed in 1983 after nearly seven decades in business. Through innovative financing and other means, developers have revived the old landmark by creating a mixed-use development that combines housing, offices, and gallery space with the building's original function as a marketplace.

The historic structure is a unique example of glazed brick and terra cotta commercial architecture. The new design retained 75 percent of the original structure, including the façade. Portions of the roof were removed to bring daylight into the interior of the block. The open interiors are covered by 200-foot-long north-facing clerestories supported by long-span steel trusses.

Recalling the marketplace's retailing tradition, the first story of the building is devoted to restaurants, fresh food markets, and other specialty retail. The second floor includes 18 one- and two-bedroom affordable rental units, office space, a children's art museum, and 20 market-rate condominium apartments. The loft-style condominiums were developed as cohousing units, with residents sharing a central "common house."

In addition, an outdoor courtyard is open to the public for events and performances, helping to fulfill the developer's intention of creating a place that serves as a gathering spot for the many ethnic neighborhoods that surround the market.