Thinking big by celebrating small projects

At this year’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) Small Project Awards, Tomecek Studio Architecture’s Sunset Pavilion in Firestone, Colorado, was honored in the awards’ $150,000 category for its effective use of the structure to frame the natural environment.
Photo © Tomecek Studio Architecture

Winners have been selected for the 2017 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Small Project Awards, which are intended to recognize the high-quality work of architects completing even small projects. Entries were assessed by a jury of experts, including:

Category 1

Prospect House, a Dripping Springs, Texas-based event space by Max Levy Architect, uses the rotating mast of a wind vane to give visitors a sense of connection to the outdoors, and was a winner in the awards’ category for projects costing more than $1.5 million.
Photo © Casey Dunn Photography

Three projects were recognized in this category, which honors projects (whether buildings, art, or design elements) with a construction cost of up to $150,000. The winners are as follows:

Category 2

Intended for projects of up to $1.5 million in construction cost, this category features five winners:

  • Lightbox by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which serves as a home and photography studio on a site spanning the border between British Columbia and Point Roberts, Washington, using two stories of glass to capture sunlight and employing exposed wood beams and a prefabricated aluminum window system to achieve a simple aesthetic;
  • Laura’s Place by Architecture Building Culture, a Portland, Oregon-based transitional housing facility for pregnant women and women with children, which underwent a collaborative expansion to reflect the cultural context of its residents;
  • Little House by mw|works, a 2-m2 (20-sf) project on an existing foundation in Seabeck, Washington, which uses elements such as a canopy, black cedar and blackened cement infill panels, soft pine plywood, and a patio to integrate with the natural environment;
  • Prospect House by Max Levy Architect, an event space in Dripping Springs, Texas, which connects indoors and outdoors via a wind vane whose mast extends into the main hall and causes a decorative ring to turn with the breezes; and
  • Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects, a private New Hampshire observatory that passes on a traditional dome structure in favor of a helical stair and faceted turret, irregular geometry, and elements that frame and reflect celestial landmarks.

Category 3

In the third category, for projects measuring smaller than 464 m2 (5000 sf), Mell Lawrence Architects’ Lady Bird Loo was awarded for meeting project goals of vandal resistance, a safe and airy aesthetic, and low maintenance requirements on a set of trails in Austin, Texas.
Photo © Whit Preston

This category awards projects smaller than 464 m2 (5000 sf). This year, its winners were:

  • Funny Girl Farm Produce Barn by Szostak Design, a Durham, North Carolina-based work shed measuring 399 m2 (4300 sf), which uses wood and steel to reflect its practical purpose without sacrificing aesthetics;
  • Lady Bird Loo by Mell Lawrence Architects, two single restrooms on a stretch of trails in Austin, Texas, which use unfinished steel and concrete with intentional gaps to create light and shadow patterns and accomplish project goals of durability, airiness, and vandal resistance; and
  • De Maria Pavilion by Gluckman Tang Architects, located in Bridgehampton, New York, which links sculptures along an informal art walk, using irregular façade elements, board-formed concrete interior frames, light-diffusing glazing, and other aspects to reflect and contrast with the nearby art.
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