The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have announced the 2016 winners of the AIA/HUD Secretary Awards. They include projects in Oakland, California, Chicago, Houston, and Port Townsend, Washington.
Given to projects that "offer examples of important developments in the housing industry," the awards were presented to four housing developments in the following categories: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, Creating Community Connection Award, Community-Informed Design Award, and Housing Accessibility—Alan J. Rothman Award.
"Each of these developments are innovative housing opportunities offering seniors and families alike a place to thrive," HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a press statement. "These winners prove that affordable and accessible housing can become part of the fabric of any neighborhood and reinforce the principles of inclusiveness and opportunity."
Read on for descriptions, taken from the press notes, of each of the winning projects below.
Category One: Excellence in Affordable Housing
The project is home to 91 very-low-income and special-needs homeless seniors, many of whom have been displaced with the Bay Area’s rapidly rising housing costs. The building has extensive on-site services and is designed to support independent living, with strong transit connections to downtown Oakland and San Francisco and access to crucial retail offerings, including a pharmacy and grocery.
The high-density housing—138 units per acre—provides indoor and outdoor community spaces at both the ground floor and upper levels. The central west-facing main courtyard opens visually toward the street and is warmed by afternoon sun. A rooftop suite of community spaces overlooks the lake, maximizing views for the most users. Designed with a complementary series of sustainable strategies, the building is pending LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum Certification.
Category Two: Creating Community Connection Award
As a former Chicago Housing Authority project sitting vacant since 2007, the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) stands as the cornerstone of the recently revitalized Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. The project embodies a successful collaboration between private, public, and non-profit sectors committed to transforming the neighborhood into a cultural incubator through the reactivation of abandoned buildings and cultural foundations in the under-invested neighborhood.
The DA+HC features a rehabilitated block of 32 of the original 36 two- and three-bedroom townhouse units that now provide mixed-income housing. Four of the center units were removed to create the focus of the development—a 2200-square-foot Arts Center complete with a dance studio, work and tech shops, and public meeting space, offering arts creation, education, performance, and display space for people of all ages.
Category Three: Community-Informed Design Award
Disaster Recovery Round 2 (DR2) launched five years after Hurricane Ike devastated the Texas Gulf Coast. The DR2 program sought to fill the remaining gap in home repair and replacement while offering homeowners choice in their disaster recovery experience. DR2 was designed to bring together the expertise of local design architects and insight from residents directly affected by the storm to build single-family, high-quality, cost-effective, sustainable designs.
Through a series of community lead charrettes, the design team gathered contextual information for every affected neighborhood, including demographic research and documentation of neighborhood form and character. This approach created a collaborative relationship with the city, residents, and local designers ensuring the process supported local professionals as well as benefited residents. Over 206 homeowners have met with the design team to select the housing options that best meet their needs.
Category Four: Housing Accessibility—Alan J. Rothman Award
This house was designed to meet the homeowners' goal of creating a home accommodating to them both—he uses a power wheelchair whereas she does not. Careful site planning was essential to creating a continuous accessible route from the street through the home to the terrace and onto the common garden space.
The attached carport accommodates the wheelchair-accessible van with its ramp, creating a covered route from the front entrance into the van. An open plan ensures easy circulation within a modest 1,325 square-foot footprint. The telescoping pocket doors to the bedrooms also allow flexibility in how to use the rooms and how connected they are to the living spaces. The entry door and sidelight feature vertical glazing to allow viewing of the external approach from any height. The kitchen and bathrooms are designed to facilitate use from both standing and seated positions. This project demonstrates that universal design and accessibility features are compatible with a warm and modern aesthetic.