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Low-Income Designs Receive High Honors

Thursday, June 4, 2015

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WASHINGTON—Two housing projects serving low-income communities and the homeless have been awarded national honors for their design and building technologies.

Step Up in Santa Monica, CA, and the Co-op Plaza Redevelopment in Brattleboro, VT, were recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ Housing Knowledge Community and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In its 2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Award announcement, AIA said the projects “demonstrate that design matters” and “offer examples of important developments in the housing industry.”

Step Up

Step Up, designed by Brooks + Scarpa, was awarded the Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award, which recognizes “architecture that demonstrates overall excellence in terms of design in response to both the needs and constraints of affordable housing.”

Step Up
Photos courtesy of AIA, photographer indicated; © John Edward Linden

Step Up, in Santa Monica, CA, provides 46 units of affordable housing and support and rehabilitation services for the homeless and mentally disabled.

The project provides 46 units of affordable housing, as well as support and rehabilitation services for the homeless and mentally disabled population in Santa Monica, according to AIA's description.

The project incorporates passive design strategies that create a building 50 percent more efficient than a conventional structure, AIA said.

The building also features a plethora of energy-saving technologies and materials. Carpet, insulation and concrete were all specified with recycled content.

Other features include windows with low-emissivity coatings and custom water-jet anodized aluminum panels on the main facade, according to the institute.

Revitalized City Center

The Co-op Plaza Redevelopment, designed by Gossens Bachman Architects, received the Creating Community Connection Award, which recognizes projects that "incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purpose of either revitalization or planned growth."

Co-op Plaza Redevelopment
© Peter Mauss / Esto

The Co-op Plaza Redevelopment in Brattleboro, VT, has revitalized the city's downtown, AIA says.

The plaza provides 24 affordable apartment units, a co-op grocery store and its administrative offices, a bakery and commercial space for local vendors.

According to AIA, the project has revitalized a key area in the city’s downtown once contaminated by a dry-cleaning facility.

A green roof, locally sourced construction materials and permeable parking surfaces were all key features in the redevelopment.

This year, the AIA did not select winners for two additional program categories: the Community-Informed Design Award and the Housing Accessibility: Alan J. Rothman Award.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Associations; Awards and honors; Color + Design; HUD; North America

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