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

Greenbridge, White Center, Washington

Greenbridge, White Center, Washington, is a 100-acre HOPE VI redevelopment. A mixed-income, built-green community of 1,000 low-income, workforce, rental, and for-sale homes, it replaces a 568-unit World War II-era low-income public housing project. Greenbridge is seen as an engine for transformational change in the larger community, in that it addresses the social failure of mid-twentieth-century garden-community planning, provides affordable housing at multiple income levels, and replaces a project known for its high crime rate with a neighborhood built around parks and open spaces.

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

Valencia Gardens, San Francisco, California

Valencia Gardens, San Francisco, California, is a HOPE VI federally funded mixed-use affordable public housing project located on a five-acre site in San Francisco's Mission District. The primary goals were to connect the project with the surrounding urban fabric, re-establish a strong sense of place among members of the community at large, and provide a safe place that establishes defensible space, while acknowledging household independence. Valencia Gardens accomplishes these objectives while instilling a sense of pride through well-designed, community-oriented space and public art.

Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
This award recognizes architecture that demonstrates overall excellent design responses to the needs and constraints of affordable housing.

K Lofts, San Diego, California

K Lofts, San Diego, California, was created through a participatory design process that forged positive connections between and among residents, community stakeholders, local government officials, and civic groups. The design outcome provides a building that integrates public and private spaces in ways that enhance human scale and promote social interaction. K Lofts employs shared use of defensible space to help revitalize this deteriorating community, while at the same time enhancing the neighborhood’s physical fabric.

For 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.

Patrolia Loft, Boston, Massachusetts

Patrolia Loft, Boston, Massachusetts, is an interior fit-out of an existing concrete-shell apartment for a wheelchair-bound user. The project starts with the proposition that accessible design should first and foremost be a good design. Patrolia Loft has specific accommodations for tenants with mobility limitations and, where appropriate, is tailored to the specific needs of the owner. The result is a well-designed, open, and dramatic home that has quickly become the focus of the owner's busy life.