The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing Knowledge Community, together with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has announced two selections for the 2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards, which recognize innovative housing projects with excellence in design. This year's projects were selected in the Excellence in Affordable Housing Design and Creating Community Connection categories.
The Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award was awarded to Brooks + Scarpa for their Step Up project in Santa Monica, California, which embodies the award’s recognition of “architecture that demonstrates overall excellent design responses to the needs and constraints of affordable housing."
Gossens Bachman Architects was announced as the winner of the Creating Community Connection Award for their Co-op Plaza Redevelopment in Brattleboro, Vermont. This award “recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purposes of either revitalization or planned growth.”
More about the winners, after the break…
Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award: Step Up; Santa Monica, California / Brooks + Scarpa
Step Up provides 46 units of affordable housing, plus support services and rehabilitation for the homeless and mentally disabled population. Passive design strategies were key to the planning and design of Step Up, resulting in a building that is 50% more efficient than a conventionally designed structure. These strategies included locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads and shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds and for promoting natural ventilation. South-facing windows are shaded, and all windows are designed to maximize daylighting and natural ventilation. The building is loaded with energy-saving, sustainable devices and materials. Carpet, insulation, and concrete were all specified with recycled content. Compact fluorescent lighting is used throughout the building, and all windows are double-pane with a low emissivity coating.
Apartments are equipped with water-saving low-flow toilets and a high-efficiency hydronic system for heat. Custom water-jet anodized aluminum panels on the main façade create a dramatic screen that sparkles in the sun and glows at night. The panels also act as sun protection and privacy screens. The material reappears as a strategic arrangement of screens on east- and south-facing walls, lending a subtle rhythm to the exterior circulation walkways and stairs. Asymmetrical horizontal openings on south-facing walls filter direct sunlight, provide unexpected visual depth, and create a sense of security for occupants.
Creating Community Connection Award: Co-op Plaza Redevelopment; Brattleboro, Vermont / Gossens Bachman Architects
The Co-op Plaza has revitalized a key area of the city’s downtown and, through a public-private partnership between the co-op grocery store and a local nonprofit, provided 24 affordable apartments. The first two floors of the four-story building house the grocery store, its administrative offices, a bakery, and commercial space for local vendors. An accessible green roof juts from the first floor. Other community amenities include new parking areas, pedestrian walkways, outside seating, a café, and market areas.
The stakeholders’ collaborative design process was critical in making the project a model for responsible building practices and smart growth. The site, contaminated by a dry-cleaning facility, was cleaned up, and the building was moved away from the nearby brook to protect the water from pollution and the building from flooding. Storm water runoff is treated and filtered by the green roof, permeable surfaces in the parking lot, and a 20-foot buffer strip in the new public park created along the water. Construction materials included locally harvested and milled flooring and slate siding manufactured in Vermont. Natural light floods the spaces, and the apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery. The co-op uses a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. Taken together, these features have cut energy costs per square foot by about 50%.
Project descriptions and news via the AIA.