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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.




Community-Informed Design Award
The Community-Informed Design 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.
 

Community Learning Center: Leominster, Massachusetts.

Sited near the center of the small, once-prosperous city of Leominster, the Community Learning Center had operated for years out of a tiny apartment in a public housing development, getting at-risk kids on track to graduation and college. The Leominster Housing Authority received a grant to cover half the cost of a new 2,000-square-foot facility, and arranged with the local vocational/technical high school to provide the labor to make up the difference. Plans were prepared by the high school drafting class. Realizing that licensed professionals were needed to ensure the success of the project, the architectural firm Abacus Architects + Planners was brought in to rethink the design and coordinate the efforts of the Housing Authority, the residents, the Learning Center staff, and the high school’s Center for Technical Education. The resulting design is a simple barn-like structure with operable south-facing windows for passive solar heating.

Architect
Abacus Architects + Planners
Website


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.
 

Via Verde – The Green Way: New York, New York.

Via Verde is a sustainable, urban, permanently affordable residential development in the South Bronx. It is an important component in the revitalization of a low-income neighborhood, reflecting a commitment to create the next generation of social housing that addresses poverty, health, and the environment. Situated on a former brownfield site, Via Verde consists of a 20-story tower, a 6- to 13-story mid-rise duplex apartment component, and 2- to 4-story townhouses. Its 222 apartments include 71 workforce housing cooperatives for residents earning 80 to 100 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 151 low-income units for residents earning 60 percent or less of AMI. The ground floor features retail stores, a community health center, live-work units, and a courtyard that leads to a series of terraced, south-facing roof gardens that create outdoor environments and a promenade for residents.

Architect
Dattner Architects with Grimshaw
Website


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.
 

New Accessible Passive Solar Housing: Stoneham, Massachusetts.

New Accessible Passive Solar Housing units added to an existing public housing development in Stoneham have boosted the town’s inventory of accessible housing. While all elements of the four-unit building and the site it occupies meet the Americans with Disabilities Act and Massachusetts accessibility requirements, other considerations — quality of life, connections to the outside world, and being responsive to the climate — also drove design considerations. The sloping topography was graded to avoid ramps and double railings that cut off many accessible buildings from the surrounding landscape. Entrances are sheltered by simple pitched roofs that provide shade during the summer. The open living spaces are lit from above by clerestories and interior windows that bring the sun into every room, hallway, and bathroom so that artificial lighting is never needed during the day. Blue sky and green trees are visible in all directions. South-facing windows bring in the low winter sun, while deciduous trees and broad overhangs provide summer shade. High- and low-operable windows that reduce the need for air conditioning and radiant heat in the concrete floors allow the buildings to provide energy-efficient comfort.

Architect
Abacus Architects + Planners
Website