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AIA Announces the Best Housing of 2011 [Slideshow]

Here, we feature our favorites.

  • <p>Spread over an old industrial site in San Francisco, this complex, by the Bay Area’s residential design king David Baker + Partners, pairs a senior apartment building with affordable townhouses for families who’d otherwise get priced out of the city.</p>
  • <p>Here, architect Robert M. Gurney renovated a more than 100-year-old building in D.C. to resemble a modernist funhouse, with blue epoxy floors, skylights, and precarious-looking bridges every which way.</p>
  • <p>Eye-catching mangaris wood screens front this low-slung complex of condos, studios, retail, and parking in West Hollywood, California. By Koning Eizenberg Architecture</p>
  • <p>Designed by Interface Studio Architects, the 100K Houses (one of two shown here) are lean, mean, and green, providing first-time homebuyers in Philadelphia an cheap place to live.</p>
  • <p>Passive energy strategies help the houses earn LEED Platinum certificatation -- LEED’s top designation. Each uses up to 75% less energy than a typical home.</p>
  • <p>A whimsical update of the classic Midwestern farmhouse in Blair, Wisconsin, by Alchemy</p>
  • <p>The interior</p>
  • <p>Olson Kundig Architects’s mixed-use building in a former industrial neighborhood in Seattle includes five units of customizable live-work space.</p>
  • <p>A winner of the Special Housing award, which recognizes shelter for under-served populations, Haven for Hope, in San Antonio, Texas, creates a massive 37-acre "campus of transformation" for the city’s homeless. By Overland Partners</p>
  • <p>A small summer house designed to blend into the sylvan wilds of Eastsound, Washington, by  Heliotrope Architects</p>
  • <p>This single-family house in Racine, Wisconsin, was one of the first LEED Platinum-certified homes in the Upper Midwest. Designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects, it features an innovative rainscreen that suspends concrete panels between horizontal steel channels, creating a breathable 8-inch-thick barrier against the elements.</p>
  • <p>In an attempt to graft the lively communal feel of the French Quarter onto a high-rise, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple designed a 21-story tower in New Orleans that stuffs apartments, retail, a garage, and a communal courtyard under one roof.</p>
  • <p>The courtyard rises nine stories above the street and looks out over downtown New Orleans.</p>
  • <p>Apple store architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson created a stunning family retreat by sprinkling buildings through a forested glen at the edge of a lake in upstate New York.</p>
  • <p>The firm’s founder Peter Bohlin won the AIA’s top honor, the Gold Medal award, last year.</p>
  • 01 /15 | Armstrong Place Senior and Family Housing

    Spread over an old industrial site in San Francisco, this complex, by the Bay Area’s residential design king David Baker + Partners, pairs a senior apartment building with affordable townhouses for families who’d otherwise get priced out of the city.

  • 02 /15 | Town House

    Here, architect Robert M. Gurney renovated a more than 100-year-old building in D.C. to resemble a modernist funhouse, with blue epoxy floors, skylights, and precarious-looking bridges every which way.

  • 03 /15 | Hancock Mixed Use Housing

    Eye-catching mangaris wood screens front this low-slung complex of condos, studios, retail, and parking in West Hollywood, California. By Koning Eizenberg Architecture

  • 04 /15 | 100K House

    Designed by Interface Studio Architects, the 100K Houses (one of two shown here) are lean, mean, and green, providing first-time homebuyers in Philadelphia an cheap place to live.

  • 05 /15 | 100K House

    Passive energy strategies help the houses earn LEED Platinum certificatation -- LEED’s top designation. Each uses up to 75% less energy than a typical home.

  • 06 /15 | Blair Barn House

    A whimsical update of the classic Midwestern farmhouse in Blair, Wisconsin, by Alchemy

  • 07 /15 | Blair Barn House

    The interior

  • 08 /15 | Art Stable

    Olson Kundig Architects’s mixed-use building in a former industrial neighborhood in Seattle includes five units of customizable live-work space.

  • 09 /15 | Haven for Hope

    A winner of the Special Housing award, which recognizes shelter for under-served populations, Haven for Hope, in San Antonio, Texas, creates a massive 37-acre "campus of transformation" for the city’s homeless. By Overland Partners

  • 10 /15 | North Beach Residence

    A small summer house designed to blend into the sylvan wilds of Eastsound, Washington, by Heliotrope Architects

  • 11 /15 | OS House

    This single-family house in Racine, Wisconsin, was one of the first LEED Platinum-certified homes in the Upper Midwest. Designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects, it features an innovative rainscreen that suspends concrete panels between horizontal steel channels, creating a breathable 8-inch-thick barrier against the elements.

  • 12 /15 | 930 Poydras Residential Tower

    In an attempt to graft the lively communal feel of the French Quarter onto a high-rise, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple designed a 21-story tower in New Orleans that stuffs apartments, retail, a garage, and a communal courtyard under one roof.

  • 13 /15 | 930 Poydras Residential Tower

    The courtyard rises nine stories above the street and looks out over downtown New Orleans.

  • 14 /15 | Combs Point Residence

    Apple store architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson created a stunning family retreat by sprinkling buildings through a forested glen at the edge of a lake in upstate New York.

  • 15 /15 | Combs Point Residence

    The firm’s founder Peter Bohlin won the AIA’s top honor, the Gold Medal award, last year.

The recipients of the American Institute of Architects? 2011 Housing Awards include $100,000 houses in Philadelphia built to exacting LEED Platinum standards, a high-rise interpretation of New Orleans's low-slung French Quarter, and a glassy lakeside redoubt in upstate New York by the architects of the Apple stores.

The 18 winners, announced today, were chosen for promoting "the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource," the press release said. The AIA established the competition 11 years ago to honor the best shelter design in America.

Historically, though, that's meant largely houses for the rich. The latest batch of winners represents a wildly diverse group, with low-income complexes, eco experiments, and modernist manses all walking hand in hand. The selection suggests that architecture is transforming (however slowly) from the ultimate gentleman's profession into something of a people's profession.

[Images courtesy of the American Institute of Architects]

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