Looking for a stunning, eco-friendly new home that marries indoor and outdoor living … and is still (somewhat) affordable? Don’t laugh! It’s actually possible. As proof, check out the American Institute of Architects’ newly named 2017 Housing Award winners.
These architectural overachievers offer a respite from the standard cookie-cutter new homes. They were chosen for their creative, best-in-class designs and all around “livability.”
“These projects provide a glimpse of future trends in the housing market,” AIA spokesman Matt Tinder said in a statement about the winners of the 17th annual contest. “Universal design concepts, natural building materials and sustainable design principles are prevalent throughout these award recipients.”
So check out these drool-worthy homes below.
Category No. 1: Custom residences
* The Graphic House in Fayetteville, AR
The Mid-Century Modern–inspired Graphic House was, in fact, designed for a graphic artist and his family out in the suburbs. It’s an L-shaped, single-level home with a loft in the middle used for an art studio.
“The idea was to design a market-rate house … in the suburbs,” says architect Marlon Blackwell, who designed the three-bedroom home before the recession hit. It was built once the economy improved, for a cost of about $450,000.
The base of the home is made of concrete bricks, giving it an urban feel, with a carapace of stained black Cyprus wood covering the top part of the exterior. Glass windows providing plenty of sunlight join the two.
“It provides an alternative to the typical overscaled version of a suburban home,” Blackwell says. “Custom contemporary architecture doesn’t have to look like grandma’s house—and it can be affordable.”
* Blue Lake Retreat in Marble Falls, TX
The three-story, four-bedroom home was built on the side of a hill as a vacation retreat for a three-generation family: an older couple, their children, and the grandkids. But there’s a twist. The kitchen and living room are on the top floor, which features floor-to-ceiling windows. Bedrooms are on the first two floors.
“It’s a reversed floor plan,” says Gus Starkey, a project designer at Lake Flato, the San Antonio–based architecture firm that designed the home. “Once you get up [to the third floor], you’re right above all those treetops and you get a 180-degree view of the lake that’s just downhill.”
* Los Altos Residence in Los Altos, CA
Architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed this single-family house as a modernist reinterpretation of the ranch homes popular in Northern California. The home’s clean design is meant to encourage its inhabitants to enjoy a combination of relaxing indoor/outdoor living, providing a bit of respite from the stresses of everyday life. It also features a linear pool and concrete garden wall outside.
* Pennsylvania Farmhouse in Lakewood, PA
The 3,000-square-foot home, which looks like a futuristic barn, was designed by Cutler Anderson Architects. Set on a nearly 300-acre family farm in the hills of rural Pennsylvania, the base of the home was built with Pennsylvania bluestone and fieldstone. In addition, movable shutters allow residents to control the light flow into the home and cool the structure on hotter days.
* Sawmill in Tehachapi, CA
The 5,200-square-foot retreat in the California desert, designed by Olson Kundig, was inspired by the idea of tents centering around a campfire. It consists of three zones, which resemble small wings, connecting to the main house. This was intended to give the parents and each of their two children a living space of their own.
Category No. 2: Homes built for the speculative market
* Cully Grove in Portland, OR
The 16 single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes in Cully Grove were designed as a co-housing community built around shared gardens and a common house for communal meals and social gatherings. Members of the community share the common spaces.
The buildings are also environmentally conscious, using solar power and heavy insulation to cut down on heating costs.
“The concept is that older folks and younger families would be in the same complex,” says architect Hans Kretschmer, of Green Gables Design and Restoration, which designed the community. “It’s really like living in a garden estate. You park elsewhere and then you walk through the garden to your dwelling.”
* Roxbury E+ in Boston, MA
The four three-story townhouses that comprise the Boston development were designed to prove that eco-friendly homes can be easily constructed in cities, be attractive, and be affordably priced.
“These are green homes that produce more energy than they use,” thanks to heavy insulation, which limits how much heat is needed in the colder months, and solar panels, says Brian Phillips. He is principal architect at Philadelphia-based Interface Studio Architects, which designed the homes. “The buildings are contemporary, but more importantly, they’re simple and minimal.”
* Stellar Residences homes and townhouses at Northstar in Truckee, CA
The six single-family homes and 11 townhouses are reinterpreted mountain residences in the forest featuring energy efficiency alongside floor-to-ceiling windows showing off views of the Martis Valley and the Sierra Nevada. There is access to skiing, hiking, and biking trails, naturally.
It represents the second win of 2017 for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who also designed the Los Altos Residence.
Category No. 3: Multifamily housing (apartments and condos)
* Hunters View Housing Blocks 5 & 6 in San Francisco, CA
Paulett Taggart Architects is transforming two blocks of deteriorating city housing into 53 units in four L-shaped buildings surrounding shared courtyards. The multistory townhouses making up the Hunters View Redevelopment are also eco-friendly, earning LEED environmental certifications.
* Powerhouse in Philadelphia, PA
Interface Studio Architects reimagined a busy city block with 31 attached single-family houses, duplexes, and apartments all ranging in price from $199,000 to $500,000. The eco-friendly homes are topped with solar panels and green roofs for gardening.
* VIA 57 West in Manhattan, NY
The 35-floor, pyramid-shaped skyscraper features a courtyard for neighbors to meet and mingle, breathtaking views of the Hudson River, and plenty of bay windows to ensure residents can fully enjoy those views. The 709-unit apartment tower was designed by Bjarke Ingels, whose firm is also working on the new Google campus in Silicon Valley.
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