4th Annual Small Project Award Winners

AIA Chicago

Last week, AIA Chicago announced the winners of their Small Projects Awards. The program recognizes exceptional works that are in the spirt of 'small', meaning they can be designed by a small architecture firm, on a small budget, or with a small footprint. Each year the winning submissions get better and better, and serve as a great example that small is cool.

According to AIA Chicago, the goal of this program is to raise public awareness of the value that architects bring to small projects and to promote small practitioners as a resource for design excellence. Winners are divided between categories for three size groups, objects, and unbuilt buildings.

Here are a few of our favorite winners:

Atrium House by dSPACE Studio: "In crafting a complete overhaul of the interior, the architects took their lead from the home’s literal centerpiece, an atrium that had acted as little more than an enclosed light well. By hanging a sleek new staircase within the atrium space, enlarging the glass opening at its top and removing some walls to open it into the surrounding rooms, they 'made it more of a focal point,' a judge said. 'It’s a great space and it suffuses the home with natural light, which is always a problem in these urban environments.'"

Harbert Cottage by Searl Lamaster Howe Architects: "The property has been in the possession of the owner since 1974 and he has a strong sentimental attachment to the house. Although its roof was caving in and its slab was slowly sinking, the size and general layout of the house worked. The project became an opportunity to reengineer and reinvigorate the classic American ranch house. The design of the renovation was shaped by principles of simplicity, ease, durability, and environmental responsiveness. The visual interest of the structure comes from revealing rather than concealing the building's construction."

Woodland Dune Home by Kuklinski + Rappe Architects: "Perched on a steep, forested dune, this weekend retreat successfully balances the competing goals of accessibility low on the slope and sweeping views higher up. By siting the home as high as could be reached by car, and locating the master bedroom suite and common areas midway between a lower-level garage and upper-level guest rooms, the owners contend with only a short flight of stairs… The home employs a range of sustainable design strategies, including site orientation to maximize winter sun exposure, preservation of the deciduous tree canopy for summer shade, radiant heating, operable windows, whole-house ventilation, recycled metal siding and a thermally modified domestic wood rainscreen."

Cell Table by Dirk Denison Architects: "The base for this table has forms derived from cell patterns & structure found in coral reefs. Because of the complexity of the design, the base was fabricated as extruded ‘tubes’ of quartered ash, and then machined with a 5-axis CNC router. An accurate 3D digital model of the base guided the router’s movements. An acrylic top was added to allow visibility of the pattern from above."

Read About the Other Nine Winners: AIA Chicago 2014 Small Projects Awards and Architect Magazine

MORE SMALL PROJECTS AWARDS ON APARTMENT THERAPY:

(Image credits: dSPACE Studio; Searl Lamaster Howe Architects; Kuklinski + Rappe Architects; Dirk Denison Architects)