Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture’s Best, Tiny Projects

Suzuko Yamada, Pillar House, Tokyo, Japan. Image © Iwan Baan/

This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.

Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.

When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.

Koosmann Residence / Salmela Architect

© Paul Crosby

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: , USA
Year: 2014
Photographs: Paul Crosby

9 Architects Reflect on the Homes That Most Inspired Them

The homes that inspire architects.

Where do you receive inspiration? Nalina Moses asked the question to nine contemporary residential architects, asking each to choose one residence that had left an impression on them. The following answers were first published on the AIA’s website in the article “Homing Instinct.”

When nine accomplished residential architects were asked to pick a house—any house—that has left the greatest impression on them as designers, most of their choices ran succinctly along the canon of American or European Modern architecture. Two—’s Villa Mairea and ’s La Maison de Verre—were even tapped twice.

If the houses these designers chose weren’t surprising, the reasons they chose them were. Rather than groundbreaking style or technologies, what they cited were the moments of comfort, excitement, and refinement they offered: the restful proportions of a bedroom, the feel of a crafted wood handrail, an ocean view unfolding beyond an outdoor stair.

Izzy’s Ice Cream Kitchen & Retail Shop / Salmela Architect

© Paul Crosby

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: 1100 South 2nd Street, , MN 55415, USA
Architect In Charge: David Salmela
Design Team: David Salmela, Malini Srivastava, David Getty, Stephanie Getty.
Project Architect: Malini Srivastava
Area: 7500.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Paul Crosby

Rierson-Salmons Cabin / Salmela Architect

© David Getty

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: Tofte, , United States
Architect In Charge: David D. Salmela
Project Architect: Malini Srivastava
Builder: Rod & Sons Carpentry
Area: 1372.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: David Getty

Salmela House / Salmela Architect

© Paul Crosby

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: , Minnesota, United States
Principal Architect: David Salmela
Builder: Rod&SonsCarpentry
Area: 3,000 sqft
Year: 2007
Photographs: Paul Crosby, Peter Kerze

Hall House / Salmela Architect

© Paul Crosby

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: , MN, USA
Architect In Charge: David Salmela
Project Architect: Malini Srivastava
Area: 2,424 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Paul Crosby

Bagley Outdoor / Salmela Architect

© Paul Crosby

Architects: Salmela Architect
Location: University of Duluth, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812, USA
Architect In Charge: David D. Salmela
Area: 1995.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Paul Crosby

Yingst Retreat / Salmela Architect

© Undine Prohl

Architects: David Salmela Architect
Location: , , USA
Architect In Charge: David Salmela
Area: 4,000 sqft
Year: 2008
Photographs: Undine Prohl, Peter Kerze, Paul Crosby

Streeter Residence / Salmela Architect

© Peter Bastianelli Kerze

Architects: David Salmela Architect
Location:
Video: Peter VonDeLinde
Area: 3,000 sqft
Photographs: Peter Bastianelli Kerze

AIA Selects the 2012 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

University of Duluth – Bagley Classroom Building / Salmela Architect © Paul Crosby

The American Institute of Architects () and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. Now in its 16th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is one of the profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.

The highlighted projects are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They have made a positive contribution to their communities, improved comfort for building occupants and reduced environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

All the projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition, next month in Washington, D.C. Continue after the break to review the top ten green projects.

AIA 2011 Small Project Awards

Tea House / , © Paul Warchol Photography

The eight winners of the 2011 Small Project Awards were recently announced by the . In its eighth year the program focuses on highlighting good design at any scale. The jurors for this year included: Deborah Pierce, Obie G. Bowman, Randy Brown, Lance Hosey, and Wendy Evans Joseph.

A complete list of winners following the break.