If the winners of this year’s Residential Architect Design Awards share something in common, it’s a rejection of showy displays of design bravado in favor of a quieter architecture. With the quiet comes meaningful investigation into the serious issues of the day, be it pursuing environmental sustainability, responding to the affordable housing crisis, heralding the possibilities of adaptive reuse, engaging with a landmark neighbor, or even some combination of these pursuits in a single project. Which is not to say that there aren’t some eye-catching moves—just in the service of some greater good. Taken together, this year’s winners illustrate ways in which residential design can respond to the challenges of today and begin to take on those of tomorrow.

Paulett Taggart, FAIA, Paulett Taggart Architects, San Francisco
Danielle Tillman, AIA, BKL Architecture, Chicago
Amy Yang, Dash Marshall, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Detroit

The Winners
(To see more photos and drawings, click through to the project gallery for each winner.)

Laia Rius Sola

Custom House, Less Than 3,000 Square Feet, Award
Rain Harvest Home
Temascaltepec, Mexico
Robert Hutchison Architecture and JSa Arquitectura

“It’s easy to love the landscape of the site because it is so beautiful. But the siting of the buildings actually enhances it. I appreciated the materiality of the design—the simplicity of the natural woods within the context of the landscape. The project also did a good job of using the environment, particularly the solar aspect and the collection of rainwater.” —Danielle Tillman

Roehner & Ryan

Multifamily Housing, Honorable Mention
The Hollyhock
Studio Ma

“It is a well-thought-out plan, and I appreciate the simplicity of the design. There are some interesting moves; the shifting of the planes of the façade was really nice. With multifamily, the challenge is always how to make something a little more distinctive when you do multiple units, and I thought they did a good job of differentiating the spaces.” —Danielle Tillman


Affordable Housing, Citation
Argyle Gardens
Portland, Ore.
Holst Architecture

“The architects did something fun and unexpected with this project, and they managed to do a lot with a little in terms of the cost. Opening the stairs up to the light creates a nice inside-outside relationship.” —Paulett Taggart

David Paler

Multifamily Housing, Citation
Enclave at the Cathedral
New York City
Handel Architects

“When you’re designing these large multifamily buildings, you’re always trying to find a way to differentiate them. The architects created a dynamic façade that is really successful, especially in the way it relates to the church.” —Danielle Tillman

Corey Gaffer

Custom House, More Than 3,000 Square Feet, Award
X House
Marquette, Mich.
Snow Kreilich Architects

“It’s a strong, clear concept that is well carried out. The building has a certain elegance: the lightness of the glazed part of the structure, the thinness of all the verticals—their regularity. They all come together into one whole. It’s really beautiful.” —Paulett Taggart

courtesy Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

On the Boards, Citation
Isla Intersections
Los Angeles
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

“The project creates a community and yet it is all of a piece. It doesn’t try to be separate buildings. Rather, it breaks down the scale in a way that doesn’t feel gratuitous but that feels true to itself. ” —Paulett Taggart

courtesy Bates Masi Architects

Architectural Design Detail, Award
Sagg Farm
Sagaponack, N.Y.
Bates Masi + Architects

“The materiality of the cedar rainscreen on the exterior is beautiful and really highlights the structure. It is different, it is well detailed, and where it meets the other materials on the façade is really well thought out.” —Danielle Tillman

Halkin/Mason Architectural Photography, LLC

Student Housing, Award
PPR Residence Hall
Swarthmore, Pa.

“It’s a well-laid-out plan that fits well within the context of the site. The architects weren’t trying to mimic the older buildings on campus, but the materiality of the buildings and the windows—the depth and shadow they create—fits with the overall context.” —Danielle Tillman

Renovation, Citation
Wabaunsee County Homestead
Alma, Kan.
El Dorado

“I liked the modest decisions the architects made for the new structure. They did a nice job creating an addition that complements the original and doesn’t take away from it.” —Amy Yang

Joe Fletcher

Custom Home, More Than 3,000 Square Feet, Honorable Mention
Three Chimney House
Charlottesville, Va.
T.W. Ryan Architecture

“I think the siting is really beautiful—the idea of the historical reference to the chimneys, and how that is a marker for homes in the landscape. The architects worked with the existing vernacular well, but in a modern way.” —Amy Yang