As the housing marketing continues to go green, so too does the AIA's Housing Awards. The organization has just released its 2014 award winners and sustainable design features abound. Seeking to highlight projects that promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource, the jury recognized projects in three categories: one- and two-family custom housing, multifamily housing, and special housing. No winners were chosen in a fourth category, one- and two-family production housing.

Scroll down to see a round up of the green building elements of this year's crop of winners.

Informal House by Koning Eizenberg Architecture

Credit: Eric Staudenmaier


A winner in the one- and two-family custom residences category, this single-family house in South Pasadena, Calif., facilitates the client's interesting indoor-outdoor living. Exposed materials with a high thermal mass, such as polished concrete floors, take advantage of significant daily temperature swings, while a cool white roof minimizes solar gain in the sunny locale. Passive cooling strategies and fan-assisted earth tubes eliminate the need for air conditioning in the 3,700-square-foot home and an off-the-grid guest house/pool house. Three lower roofs sport vegetation to help insulate the surfaces and create an articulation between activity or living spaces and service spaces.

Kicking Horse residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Credit: Matthew Millman

For this winner in the one- and two-family custom housing category, clients in Golden, British Columbia, Canada, tasked the architects with creating a weekend gathering place for their family of five that would have flexibility to accommodate larger groups of family and friends and could capitalize on the home's location at the base of a ski resort. The resulting design is oriented to capture daylight and views to the nearby mountain peaks, while also shedding snow from massive storms. The form is crafted to allow natural drainage patterns to flow through the site, and the architects and contractor worked to ensure that the below-grade drainage system was the most effective for the soils on site. cresting over peak, the standing seam metal roof transitions into an wall with operable vents that bring light and air into the loft spaces within.

Park Passive by NK Architects

Credit: Aaron Leitz

Seattle's first Passive House, this 2,710-square-foot home's ability to capture and retain heat gives endows it with passive survivability capabilities in the instance of power outages during the winter. The house requires only the amount of heat provided by a hairdryer to heat the structure, thanks to extensive air sealing, high levels of insulation, and high-performance windows. Vertical and horizontal spatial connections allowed the architect to maximize a shallow floor plate, and are detailed by salvaged ash woodwork. It was a winner in the one- or two-family custom housing category.

Sol Duc Cabin by Olson Kundig Architects

Architect: Tom Kundig

Architect: Tom Kundig

Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

For this one- and two-family custom housing category winner, the owner sought a compact, low-maintenance, and virtually indestructible home for use during fly-fishing trips on the Olympic Peninsula. The steel-clad, 350-square-foot cabin is composed of two levels, with the entry, dining, and kitchen areas on the lower floor and a sleeping loft above. The floor of the sleeping loft is crated from leftover dimensional lumber that was destined to become waste. The majority of the cabin was prefabricated off-site to reduce on-site waste and site disruption and the raised structure, which is perched on four steel columns, provides safety from occasional floods of a nearby river. The cantilevered roof provides solar shading and protection from western storms, and the building's operable shutters can be adjusted as needed to regulate exposure.

Topo House by Johnsen Schmaling Architects

JOHNSEN SCHMALING ARCHITECTS

JOHNSEN SCHMALING ARCHITECTS

Featuring a high-performance ventilated rainscreen system with concrete fiber panels, this house in Blue Mounds, Wisc., draws its form from the site's topography of rolling hills. The facade of this winner in the one- and two-family housing category features 190 individually shaped, black-anodized aluminum fins that contracting and expanding shapes that shift the the geometry of the home based on the angle by which they are viewed. Responding to the site's severe weather throughout the year, the building envelope features a palette of sustainable and highly durable materials.

1221 Broadway by Lake|Flato Architects

By remaking an abandoned superstructure into a high-performing large multifamily project, this multifamily living category winner sparked nearby urban redevelopment and revitalization in San Antonio. Design strategies include passive solutions such as open breezeways oriented to cool circulation corridors and large windows that allow in more natural light. Five courtyards provide access to the outdoors and links to the urban surroundings. The project achieve a HERS index of 68, and performs 32 percent better than new multifamily projects built to code, according to the AIA. In addition, the building's energy use intensity is 30 percent better than the national average for large multifamily projects. 

Cherokee Studios by Brooks + Scarpa

This isn't the first AIA award this Los Angeles project has racked up. In 2011, it garnered an AIA COTE Top Top Green Project award. The main feature in this multifamily living category winner is the owner-controlled operable double facade, which allows occupants to adjust the facade screens as desired. Passive solar strategies and the  building's orientation allows for daylighting on both sides of every unit, while capitalizing on prevailing breeze for natural ventilation. A green roof helps reduce stormwater runoff.

Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects.

Merritt Crossing Housing, Oakland, California
Architect - Leddy Maytum Stacy

Merritt Crossing Housing, Oakland, California Architect - Leddy Maytum Stacy

Credit: Tim Griffith

Another former AIA COTE Top Ten Green Project, this Oakland, Calif. multifamily project provides a mix of studios, one-, and two-bedroom apartments and on-site services for low-income seniors and formerly homeless residents. The layered facade on the building's southern six provide controls solar exposure and mitigates acoustics from a nearby freeway. High-performance systems include high-efficiency water heating, a rooftop solar hot water system, and a rooftop PV array. Invested in sustainability, the owner of the multifamily living category winning project tested several green building rating systems such as the LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program, Build It Green's GreenPoint rating system, Energy Star, and Bay Friendly Landscaping.

28th Street Apartments by Koning Eizenberg Architecture

Credit: Eric Staudenmaier

This project, which was one of two winners in the specialized housing category, transformed a historic-yet-distressed YMCA building in Los Angeles into stylish supportive housing for young adults exiting foster case, the mentally ill, and the chronically homeless, and a new venue for a neighborhood youth training and employment program. Efficiency upgrades include a cool roof, demand-control ventilation, a solar thermal system, and a PV array. A five-story addition to the historic building features a green roof that doubles as a rooftop deck. It should look familiar to readers of the Fall 2013 issue of Ecostructure.

Sweetwater Spectrum Community by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Sweetwater Spectrum, Sonoma, CA
Architects - Leddy Maytum Stacy

Sweetwater Spectrum, Sonoma, CA Architects - Leddy Maytum Stacy

Credit: Tim Griffith

Although the second winner in the specialized housing category is located in Sonoma, Calif., it is designed to be replicated nationwide. Integrating autism-specific design, universal design, and sustainable design, it is a neighborhood of long-term housing for 16 adults with autism. Four 3,250-square-foot, four-bedroom homes are complemented by a community center, therapy pool and spa, fitness room, orchard, and organic gardens. Designed for LEED Gold, it is a net-zero ready pilot project and features ample daylighting, high R-value insulation, high-performance windows, cool roofs, solar shading, and energy-efficiency lighting and appliances.