The true hallmark of a talented architect is the ability to great things with minimal resources. Which is why, for the last six years, the American Institute of Architects--America's premier trade-association for architects--has handed out its Small Project Awards.
This year, 10 projects were selected, but we've picked our favorites among those to give you a taste. Pictured above and below, the Kevin Mundy Memorial Bridge in Bozeman, MT, by Intrinsik Architecture, which cost just $150,000 to build. The bridge itself is made from two common shed trusses, which had a high and a low end; these were fitted together, and the level change in the roof line was covered up by a twisting series of planks, which add architectural interest on the cheap:
A 500-square foot studio in New York, by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture. Given the tiny space, the architect decided to meld the kitchen, bath, sleeping loft, and a new walk-in closet into one single plywood "service core"--thus leaving the rest of the space as open as possible. The entire project cost $100,000:
Slade Architecture created this Pup Tent--complete with roof vent/skylight!--out of plywood that was stacked and sanded smooth:
PLY architecture's Shadow Pavilion, a temporary space made "entirely of holes." The piece was made from over 100 laser-cut aluminum sheets, which were rolled into cones. The entire thing cost just $22,000, and offers a strangely inspiring view of the landscape outside:
And finally, the Welcome Center created by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, for Prospect.1, a scrappy air fair that sprung in New Orleans, post-Katrina. The center served to point art-goers to all of the various exhibitions, and it was made totally from plywood for just $28,000. Superb: