AIA Announces the Best Housing of 2011 [Slideshow]

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]