If you're looking to the best green homes for inspiration, look no further than the winners of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Housing Awards. Each year the AIA recognizes the best in housing design, and this year there were quite a few eco-stars (including a former jailhouse!). Find out why they won, and what makes them special, after the jump.
The AIA Housing Awards was established "to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource."
Shown above the jump, from left to right:
1 Blair Barn House, by Alchemy: "The Blair Barn House is a celebration of the straightforward utilitarian nature intrinsic to farm life. The house takes its clues from 19th century barns and updates them for a sustainable 21st century, with a goal of being modern yet acceptable, in a rural community where families have lived for generations. A locally-sawn white oak skin with few, but large, openings wraps and filters the house with barn light. Over- and under-spaces delineated by steel, custom-milled ash, rope work, stock cabinetry, and salvaged materials, fill the modest volume with barn space tempered with farmer's common sense."
2 OS House, by Johnsen Schmaling Architects: "Occupying a narrow infill lot in an old city neighborhood at the edge of Lake Michigan, this LEED Platinum home for a young family demonstrates how a small residence built with a moderate budget can become a confident, new urban constituent. The compact building volume is wrapped with an innovative concrete rainscreen facade system that transforms into a delicate scrim of metal rods defining the perimeter of upper level outdoor rooms. Floor-to ceiling apertures penetrate the rainscreen, their bright colors an unapologetic nod to the cheerful polychrome of the neighborhood's Victorian homes."
3 R-House, by Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office: "This prototype residence was designed as part of an initiative to revitalize the Syracuse neighborhood of the Near Westside. R-House presents an affordable, innovative paradigm for minimal to net-zero energy consumption embodied in architecture that is both sustainable and engaging. The house was designed to meet the German Passivhaus ultra-low energy standard, utilizing an extremely well insulated exterior, an efficient recirculating heating and ventilation system, and high performance windows that optimize solar gain. R-House is durable, adaptable and affordable due to its simplicity of form and modesty of materials."
4 100K Houses, by Interface Studio Architects LLC: "Small, efficient, and super-green, the 100K Houses provide sustainable, affordable options for first-time Philadelphia homebuyers. The homes employ passive energy strategies which focus on building envelope quality rather than mechanical systems. All of the homes have achieved LEED for Homes Platinum certification and use up to 75% less energy than a typical home. The 100K Houses use simple materials and flush facades, employing texture, pattern and color as low cost, high impact treatments."
5 50 Saint Peter Street/Historic Salem Jail, by Finegold Alexander + Associates: "Rehabilitation of an historic 1813 jail complex as a multi-family housing, mixed-use sustainable development knitted together various aspects of the site—history and culture, built and natural environment, economic and social stability—to contribute to the city's interest in being a livable community. Abandoned for decades, yet located on prime real estate, the jail was an eyesore—trash, chain link, razor wire, and vandalism—and inhibited surrounding development. It is now a positive contributor to the community with 23 units of housing, a popular restaurant, and an active, landscaped site."
Read about all 18 winners: 2011 AIA Housing Awards
(Images: 1 Alchemy LLC; 2 Johnsen Schmaling Architects; 3 Richard Barnes; 4 Interface Studios Architects; 5 Neil Alexander Photography)