AIA Small Project Awards

AIA Small Project Awards

We love small spaces here on Apartment Therapy — they're smart, efficient and full of character. Unfortunately small structures don't always get the same recognition as their flashy, large-scale structure counterparts. That's why the AIA Small Projects Awards is a breath of fresh air amongst big-name awards. Now in its seventh year, the program provides a showcase of some of the most masterfully executed small objects, structures and residences. Take a look at some of the past recipients after the jump:

The deadline for the 2011 AIA Small Projects Awards submissions just ended, and we look forward to the newest batch of outstanding projects:

The Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community presents the seventh annual Small Project Award Program to recognize small project practitioners for the high quality of their work and to promote excellence in small project design. This Award Program strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to projects, no matter the limits of size and scope.

1 Counterbalanced Steel Stair, by Intrinsik Architecture: Access to a third floor loft required double usage of floor space at its second floor landing: stairs up and hallway through to a master bedroom suite. This overlap in programming inspired a counterbalanced stair which could be manually pulled down or pushed up as required with a minimum of physical effort. A pre-manufactured aluminum stair was adapted to this function with the use of innovative steel detailing, including a 2.25'' O.D. adjustable torsion bar running the length of the stair; an idea originating from an automotive industrial design, and a vertical track utilizing modified rubber skateboard wheels to guide the counterbalance up and down the western wall.

2 Cup City, by Legge Lewis Legge: Cup City, a temporary interactive lounge, was constructed over the course of the 3-day Austin City Limits Music Festival using 41 (6'x15') Rent-A-Fence panels, zip ties and approximately 25,000 pieces of garbage. The walls of the lounge were slowly filled with disposable containers by concert-goers and volunteers, many of whom spent hours arranging and rearranging patterns in the chain link panel walls. Cup City engaged and displayed a portion of the Festival crowds' stream of consumption, diverting approximately 25,000 used bottles, cups and cans into its ever-changing web.

3 Chapin Studio, by Clayton Levy & Little Architects: This structure serves as a combined art studio and garden shed with adjacent carport. While it recalls southern historic precedents in its geometry and proportions, the little box deftly absorbs the spirit of its Victorian neighbor and expresses it with a modern sensibility. Wood shingles and siding gently complement the materials of the main house, while the metal roof provides rainwater collection. A small porch identifies the entry and addresses the main house.

4 Ferrous House, by Johnsen Schmaling Architects: The Ferrous House demonstrates how an obsolete suburban dwelling can be reinvented, both spatially and aesthetically, to accommodate today's lifestyles. For budgetary reasons, the house reuses the foundation, plumbing cores and main perimeter walls of a dilapidated 1970s structure. The main house volume is wrapped on three sides with a rain screen of weathering steel panels, protecting the inside of the house from the scrutiny of curious neighbors and the elements; in the back, it extends beyond the building's perimeter, where it shelters the sides of a linear south-facing patio.

5 Emel Residence, by EASA Architecture: Construction of a new 660 square foot basement under the existing 830 square foot structure made this a unique and challenging project. The design navigates multiple constraints and solves the expansion problem with an "upside-down" second floor addition that remains entirely within the bounds of the local zoning ordinance that prohibits second floor additions on small lots. The additions and alterations integrate seamlessly into the style and massing of the existing structure preserving the vernacular cottage aesthetic loved by the owner. The home is improved and expanded; with the value and useful life of the home extended well into the foreseeable future.

6 Casa 218, by candid rogers architect: Casa 218 was built in 1873. The original volume of the two room limestone residence is little more than 500 sq. ft. The original residence was restored using original regional materials. The project has two aspects: that of historic preservation and the contextualizing the new addition with the existing residence. An addition of 960 sq. ft. was added, which includes a kitchen, two bathrooms and two bedrooms. The new addition was set behind the existing residence, connecting sensitively to the rear to allow for an uninterrupted place and siting of the original residence. The scale and proportions of the principal elements were respected and translated into a new idiom in the new addition.
The connection of the roof between the existing residence and new addition was resolved with two single sloping shed roofs joining in a single valley, which facilitated the collection of rainwater.
Conceptually the project aims to respect the scale of a modest small architecture, while juxtaposing a new vocabulary of the addition with that of the original.

7 Pup Tent, Slade Architecture: This project was an exploration in materials designed and fabricated for the Design Trust for Public Spaces Annual Auction. The project requirements were: to create a "nest"--something that could support residence for a creature, and would fit in a taxi. Our design is for a modern, indoor dog lounge or PUP TENT. Water-jet cut plywood was laminated to create a conical shape. The exterior surface was sanded and finished smooth and the interior maintains the stepping configuration characteristic of the plywood lamina. A surface pattern is created as the planar plies of the wood intersect with the conical geometry of the surface. The design is sustainable as well since the configuration promotes the stack effect and the skylight and window provide natural light!

8 East Village Studio, by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture: Living and working in just under 500 square feet, the client had been pushing the limits of what his studio, in Manhattan's East Village, would accommodate, but he loved the neighborhood and appreciated the environmental benefits of having such a minimal footprint. The architects pointed out that the client had been occupying the space without ever really living in it—nothing had a home. The goal, they decided, should be to embed his lifestyle into the DNA of the place. Let his living patterns sculpt and mold the space to create an elegant and efficient environment. The solution was ultimately to combine the kitchen, bath, sleeping loft and a new walk-in closet into an intricately sculpted wood-paneled central service core. The space outside of the core area would remain as flexible as possible, with millwork finished in a high-gloss white to read as part of the shell and stand in contrast to the wooden service core.

• More: The American Institute of Architects

(Images: AIA Small Project Practitioners)

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