American Institute of Architects Reveals the Year’s Best Houses

It's a wide-ranging list

Chandler Street Tiny Homes
Chandler Street Tiny Home Village was among the winners of AIA's annual award.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

A riverside home in Oregon, a towering ecological marvel in Costa Rica and a distinctive village for the unhoused in Los Angeles. These buildings don’t look too much alike, but they do have one thing in common — they’re among the winners of the American Institute of Architects’ Housing Awards for 2022.

This year, awards were issued to 14 buildings across four categories: One- and Two-Family Custom Residences, One- and Two-Family Production Homes, Multifamily Housing​ and Specialized Housing. As Dezeen noted in its article on the awards, two architecture firms were represented with multiple designs: Olson Kundig Architects and Alterstudio.

The AIA notes that the houses in question “emphasize the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource.” In practice, that means that the honorees cover a lot of ground, both in terms of who lives there and what approaches were taken.

Olson Kundig’s Costa Rica Treehouse, for instance, made use of teak located nearby. It’s a three-story residence designed for balance with the local landscape — and easy access for surfing. And Robert M. Gurney, FAIA Architect’s work on Renovation 1662 — a renovation of a historic Georgetown home — blends contemporary flourishes with a host of historic details.

The Chandler Tiny Homes Village for the Homeless, designed by Lehrer Architects LA, has a very different aim — providing temporary housing for people who had been living on the street beforehand. Here, having something that could be set up quickly was crucial — but the community also abounds with noteworthy design features and innovative use of materials.

The whole list of homes is well worth looking into — both for inspiration and as a survey of what’s happening right now in contemporary architecture.

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