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Gorgeous Housing That People Can Actually Afford

The AIA and HUD just announced their picks for best affordable housing of the year.

  • <p>Koning Eizenberg Architecture restored a 1926 YMCA building in south Los Angeles, adding a new five-story structure in the rear.</p>
  • <p>One building provides 49 units of affordable housing, and one houses youth training and employment programs.</p>
  • <p>Gelfand Partners Architects and Knapp Architects transformed San Francisco’s nine-story Central YMCA into supportive housing in the Tenderloin.</p>
  • <p>The “architectural gem,” as the competition jury calls the historic building, now features 174 micro-apartments (200 square feet each). The project preserved hallmarks of the original 1909 structure, like its grand staircase leading to a second-floor lobby and spacious window bays.</p>
  • <p>YHLA Architects designed a network of nine LEED-certified apartment buildings on the shore of Lake Tahoe. The 77 apartments provide housing for low-income workers and their families.</p>
  • <p>The development team analyzed data from more than 300 community surveys and held more than 30 bilingual meetings to help determine the needs of the workforce, resulting in modification of the area’s land use and zoning codes.</p>
  • <p>Patrick Tighe Architecture designed the first entirely-affordable mixed-use development in West Hollywood, developed with the input of individuals with disabilities. It fits 42 units on a 13,000-square-foot site.</p>
  • <p>The apartments are oriented to capitalize on views and natural light, and the building features plenty of outdoor spaces filled with drought-resistant plants. Solar panels power common areas and provide the building’s hot water.</p>
  • 01 /08
    | 28th Street Apartments

    Koning Eizenberg Architecture restored a 1926 YMCA building in south Los Angeles, adding a new five-story structure in the rear.

  • 02 /08
    | Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award

    One building provides 49 units of affordable housing, and one houses youth training and employment programs.

  • 03 /08
    | Kelly Cullen Community

    Gelfand Partners Architects and Knapp Architects transformed San Francisco’s nine-story Central YMCA into supportive housing in the Tenderloin.

  • 04 /08
    | Creating Community Connection Award

    The “architectural gem,” as the competition jury calls the historic building, now features 174 micro-apartments (200 square feet each). The project preserved hallmarks of the original 1909 structure, like its grand staircase leading to a second-floor lobby and spacious window bays.

  • 05 /08
    | Kings Beach Housing Now

    YHLA Architects designed a network of nine LEED-certified apartment buildings on the shore of Lake Tahoe. The 77 apartments provide housing for low-income workers and their families.

  • 06 /08
    | Community-Informed Design Award

    The development team analyzed data from more than 300 community surveys and held more than 30 bilingual meetings to help determine the needs of the workforce, resulting in modification of the area’s land use and zoning codes.

  • 07 /08
    | Sierra Bonita Housing

    Patrick Tighe Architecture designed the first entirely-affordable mixed-use development in West Hollywood, developed with the input of individuals with disabilities. It fits 42 units on a 13,000-square-foot site.

  • 08 /08
    | Housing Accessibility Award

    The apartments are oriented to capitalize on views and natural light, and the building features plenty of outdoor spaces filled with drought-resistant plants. Solar panels power common areas and provide the building’s hot water.

In the U.S., beautiful housing is usually reserved for those who can afford to pay a premium. Few American cities have adopted the high-design ethos behind affordable housing programs the way European cities like Vienna have. Thoughtful social housing does exist here, albeit not in as great of a quantity as we’d like. But here, you'll see a step in the right direction. The American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have announced their picks for the 2014 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards, a prize that recognizes exemplary design in affordable housing.

The four projects recognized "are shining examples of how the latest innovations in design, materials, and building techniques are not just for high-end housing but can also offer lower-income families exceptional homes they can actually afford," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a press statement.

Check them out in the slide show above.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / © Eric Staudenmaier; 02 / © Eric Staudenmaier; 03 / Mark Luthringer; 04 / Mark Luthringer; 05 / Tom Zikas Photography; 06 / Tom Zikas Photography; 07 / Art Gray Photography ; 08 / Art Gray Photography ;