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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: Caldera Place Apartments. Berkeley, California

Inspired both by his own need for wheelchair access and the dearth of independent-living apartments for the 14,500 low-income disabled in Alameda County, the architect of Caldera Place Apartments set out to create a dwelling of accommodation and affordability. Following HUD's 811 program guidelines on affordable housing for the disabled, Erick Mikiten has designed 12 apartments of artistic form and unique function. Thoughtful touches abound, from adjustable height counters and rollout shelving in the kitchens and wheelchair-accommodating shower stalls in the bathrooms to height-adjusted electrical outlets that are easily reached from a wheelchair. Ramps cleverly serve the dual purpose of providing accessibility around the complex and denoting the boundaries of the residential courtyard. Consideration of historical neighborhood design can be seen in the complex's front rock wall, which serves both as a visual anchor with the neighborhood and as height-appropriate extra table or seating space for wheelchair riders. Caldera Place showcases that, with forethought and understanding, wheelchair accessible housing can be aesthetic as well as functional.

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: Outside In. Portland, Oregon

For 30 years, Outside In has provided the city of Portland's homeless youth with shelter, medical care, and counseling from the makeshift sanctuary of borrowed buildings. When the organization recently decided to establish a permanent base of operations for all their programs, they proceeded with the same openness and inclusiveness that has been a staple of their long-term success. Staff and volunteers not only participated in the design and construction of this 31,000-square-foot structure, but also encouraged various forms of creative input from those youth who would benefit from the housing, clinics, and counseling found within. Therapy group participants created collages and paintings of how they envisioned the center appearing, while other youth were encouraged to write about their feelings and thoughts on how the structure might appear. Input from neighboring residents even fell into the mix, encouraging the inclusion of a courtyard where young residents could relax in an outdoor setting without raising concerns of loitering. As a result of this patchwork inspiration, the building is a nonconformist addition to Portland's urban arena. It intensifies the landscape with unusual angles, leaning walls, and exposed structure as well as vibrant street art, including a wall mural from a former location. It also proved to be a successful community collaboration, demonstrating Portland's continuing devotion to Outside In and the homeless youth it helps.

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.

Recipient: Heritage Landing. Minneapolis, Minnesota

With contemporary flair and a tip of the hat to historical design, Heritage Landing combines living spaces of varying affordability with close-at-hand shopping amenities, making it both accessible and appealing to Minneapolis residents. Located in the city's historic warehouse district, the infill project draws inspiration from longstanding landmarks-such as the architectural integration of a 19th century battered stone wall surrounding the site-with a façade complimentary to the preexisting industrial warehouse aesthetic. The complex provides a versatile mix of living units, including flats, lofts, and two-story townhomes, with underground parking and street-level retail such as a market, deli, flower shop and drycleaner. Rent is reasonably staggered for the different living units, ranging from $650-$5,000 per month and making Heritage Landing an appropriate abode for a diverse cross section of prospective renters.