AIA/HUD Secretary Awards Recognize Three Outstanding Housing Projects


Washington, D.C. – May 14, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), recognized three recipients of the 2013 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards. The categories of the program include (1) Excellence in Affordable Housing Design (2) Creating Community Connection Award (no recipient selected this year) (3) Community-Informed Design Award and (4) Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award. These awards demonstrate that design matters, and the recipient projects offer examples of important developments in the housing industry.

The jury for the 2013 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards includes: Kathleen Dorgan, AIA, Chair, Dorgan Architecture & Planning; Luis Borray, Assoc. AIA, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; Elizabeth A. Cocke, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; John Isch, AIA, RWA Architects, Inc.; R. Thomas Jones, AIA, California Polytechnic State University; Stephen Sharpe, Hon. AIA; and Charles L. Travis, AIA, The Housing Studio, P.A.

“These developments prove that you can push the boundaries of design while still creating something very special that folks can actually afford,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “These projects took innovative visions from the drawing board and made them a part of how we live today.”

The descriptions below give a brief summary of the projects. You can learn more about these projects by clicking on the name of the project/firm name. If you are interested in obtaining high resolution images, please contact Matt Tinder at " target="_self">.

Category One: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award

Via Verde – The Green Way; Bronx, New York
Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects

This project has become the new model for public housing in New York City. The project was carefully crafted to accommodate the scale of the existing neighborhood and adjacent housing while adding both housing and green space to a brownfield site in the South Bronx. Landscaped green roofs and a central courtyard create 40,000 square feet of open space. Residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables as well as enjoy the evergreen grove and fruit orchard. In addition, photovoltaic panels are integrated into the south-facing areas of the project, providing enough energy to power all common areas and exterior lighting. Rainwater is collected on-site and recycled for irrigation of the gardens throughout the year. In support of the Department of Health’s Fit City initiative to promote physical fitness, stairs are located near elevators and are designed as colorful interior spaces with natural light and ventilation. The project is on track to receive LEED® Gold certification.

Category Three: Community-Informed Design Award

Community Learning Center; Leominster, Massachusetts
Abacus Architects + Planners

This 2,000-square-foot facility, built on the edge of a public housing development, was only possible through the efforts and contributions of students, teachers, residents, alumni, builders, and suppliers, all coordinated and overseen by the architecture firm. The local housing authority received a grant to cover half the cost of the facility and made arrangements with the nearby vocational/technical high school to provide the labor and drafting. The architects helped participants develop the building program, ensured that the project met the exacting standards of the funder, and worked with the teenage crew to bring design sketches into reality. The building is clad in multicolored fiber-cement panels with articulated aluminum joints. South-facing windows at the front entry provide passive solar heating in the winter, and deep overhangs and deciduous trees provide summer shade. Particleboard partitions composed of recycled content, mark individual study areas. Light floods in from all sides, and sliding doors with glazed perforations provide acoustical privacy for story telling or conferences.

Category Four: Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award

New Accessible Passive Solar Housing; Stoneham, Massachusetts
Abacus Architects + Planners

This project, for a small public housing authority, responded to a need to provide affordable accessible housing that could be used as a model for future development. In addition, the project had to embody the spirit of universal design principles by meeting high standards for energy efficiency and passive solar heating. Every element of the buildings as well as the site was designed to meet ADA and state accessibility requirements. The sloping topography of the site was carefully graded to ensure all the inclines were below five percent and to avoid the ramps and double railings that often make accessible buildings seem cut off from the surrounding landscape. South-facing windows bring in the low winter sun, and deciduous trees and broad overhangs provide summer shade. Artificial lighting is never needed during the day, and blue sky and green trees are visible in every direction. High-density foam insulation, high-performance windows, and radiant heating in the concrete floors keep the apartments comfortable and minimize energy usage.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

Matt Tinder

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