Photo: Olson Kundig 

Receiving an award from the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) is a supreme honor. The AIA has been around since 1857, when thirteen architects met up in the New York office of renowned architect Richard Upjohn to found the organization. Today the AIA membership boasts 88,000 architecture professionals. The organization recognizes builders of public and commercial buildings, but also gives awards to exceptional home builders. As the AIA states, “by recognizing the best in home design, AIA Housing Awards show the world how beauty, safety, sustainability, and comfort can come together.” Fourteen projects won 2017 Housing Awards this year, including three by Northwest firms. Marvel at these highlights:

Sawmill in Tehachapi, California by Olson Kundig of Seattle


Photo: Olson Kundig

Inspired by a romantic vision of tents around a campfire, this 5,200 square foot house is comprised of three private zones or ‘tents’ surrounding a family hearth. One ‘tent’ is for the parents and two are for each of their children. The owners hope to preserve the property for the next several generations of their family.

Pennsylvania Farmhouse in Lakewood, Pennsylvania by Cutler Anderson Architects of Bainbridge Island

Pennsylvania Farmhouse-min

Photo: Cutler Anderson Architects

Can you imagine living in a 3,000 square foot home on a 283-acre family farm embedded in the rolling hills and meadows of rural Pennsylvania? If you build it, they will come. The architects made the most of the environment surrounding the property to build the farmhouse. The stone used at the base of the house is Pennsylvania bluestone/fieldstone and the wood for the wood-fired boiler that heats the home was collected from dead-fall in the surrounding woods.

Cully Grove in Portland, Oregon – Green Gables Restoration of Portland

Cully Grove-min

Photo: Green Gables

Cully Grove is a communal living, urban gardner’s fantasy land. On two magnificent Portland acres, sixteen homes curve around two distinctive courtyards. A sturdy Oregon white oak, beautiful gardens and a hardwood grove where children frolic and families share organic meals are just a few of the amenities offered in this commune paradise. The lucky residents of this architectural wonder can all partake in a 1,100 square foot common house for communal meals, social gatherings, music, movie nights, or hosting out-of-town guests.

Stellar Residences and Townhomes at Northstar in Lake Tahoe, CA by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson  


Photo: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

These architects reimagined the ski chalet of your dreams. While retaining familiar chalet elements such as wood, glass and an exposed structure, the firm added on LEED certified environmentally friendly features. The residences feature big windows with glorious views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Why bother skiing when you can drink hot cocoa in one of these cozy homes?

Blue Lake Retreat in Marble Falls, Texas by Lake Flato Architects


Photo: Lake Flato

Notable for its phenomenal location high above a beautiful lake, this home features majestic views, four separate “bedroom retreats,” and a bridge connecting the house to its surrounding landscape. The architects designed the top floor to be open and large enough to comfortably host the entire family in one space, yet intimate to “reinforce close family-bonding.” Billy will probably still pull Suzy’s hair and Veronica is in her rebellious teen phase, so she’ll be too cool to hang out with mom and dad — but the house will be amazing.

Congratulations to all of the 2017 AIA housing award winners!

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