2021 AIALA Residential Architecture Award Winners
Announced by the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles
To view winning images, click here.

 

May 26, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) – How does an international design jury–London, Milan, Los Angeles–view contemporary residential design in Los Angeles, contextualizing it within the city’s reputation as a mecca for designers, a lab for innovation, and a pioneer of solutions addressing societal challenges?

The answer is in the 30 winners of the 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIALA) Residential Architecture Awards (RAA), announced on Wednesday evening, May 26, 2021. And the words of the jury members who selected them: Peter Culley, Intl. Assoc. AIA, ARB, RIBA – Creative Director, Founder Spatial Affairs Bureau; Monica Mazzolani, Giancarlo De Carlo Associati, and Founder, MTA Associates; and Ruth Wallach – Associate Dean for Public Service, University of Southern California, Libraries.

“I saw the confidence to reference and create something new and quite refined,” said the London-based Culley, when speaking about this year’s recipients as a group. “Here’s an emerging contemporary culture that somehow sits within modernism.”

From the perspective of European countries, said Mazzolani, who is based in Milan, “Los Angeles is [an] icon of modernity… but also from [the submissions] it is a link to the legacy of the last century.”

Culley also noted a uniqueness of approach: “There’s a light-heartedness in some of the projects—that, I think, is a bit of an LA thing—through the various genres. We’ve seen architects who understand how they’re operating, take it to a new level, reference back—whether it’s to modernism, or even, tongue-in-cheek nods to Spanish revival,” he noted.

This was the sixth iteration of the Residential Architecture Awards program, founded to recognize Los Angeles’ influence on residential design. The RAAs have expanded over time to seek answers to such current societal crises as the increasing number of Angelenos without shelter, through the addition of categories that support designers and clients providing affordable and temporary housing, as well as accessory dwelling units and multiple multi-family housing types.

To see the recorded awards ceremony, visit Vimeo.

The 2021 AIALA Residential Architecture Awards were graciously presented by MASS Beverly, Minotti Los Angeles and Thermador. Southern California Edison presented the AIA Los Angeles Climate Positive Residential Design Award.

The full list of 2021 AIALA Residential Architecture Award recipients and accompanying jury notes follows. Recipients are awarded with Honor, Merit or Citation awards, “Honor” being the highest.

Additions and Accessory Dwelling Units

Merit
Project Name: Stiff Peaks
Firm: Byben and Skeens
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Taiyo Watanabe

Jury Comments:
Appreciate the light-heartedness of the approach and how the whimsical identity can be traced through earlier moments of residential architecture in this region – ‘storybook’, ‘Spanish-ish’… | Also provides a good precedent across affordability sectors for how a very small footprint ADU can liberate an entire household.

Citation
Project Name: 3 in 1 House
Firm: Tighe Architecture
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Photographer: Tighe Architecture
Instagram: @patricktighe_architecture

Jury Comments:
Appreciate the boldness of the diagram and rebalancing of volumes from the original building. |

Citation
Project Name: Studio
Firm: Oller & Pejic Architecture
Location: Pasadena, CA
Photographer: Tom Pejic
Instagram: @ollerpejic

Jury Comments:
The Studio is like an agricultural annex which in its simplicity offers the starting point for other further additions to the main body. | The new volume of only 550 sq ft, […] uses an architectural language that leaves the way open to the use of different materials: contemporary—such as steel—or timeless—such as wood. | The volume is simple, delicate, timeless, like the game of petanque belonging to the past and looking to the future as a communication device between generations.

Affordable Housing

Citation
Project Name: RISE Apartments
Firm: Egan | Simon Architecture
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: John Egan
Instagram: @egansimon

Jury Comments:
Despite the tight footprint, the project adds several distinctive communal and intimate outdoor and indoor spaces. | Groupings of strong colors give the project visual variety without being overly tiresome. | Appreciate the robust presentation to the setting.

Citation
Project Name: Path Metro Villas
Firm: KFA Architecture
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Jonathan Ramirez
Instagram: @KFALosAngeles
Jury Comments:
The organization of the outdoor shared space expresses the delicate search for social integration while protecting and providing opportunities for interaction without forcing. | The variety of volumetric treatments allows a specific permeability within the lot without introspection into the private. | The use of color to differentiate the areas without excesses is quite a relevant aspect of design.

Adaptive Re-Use/Renovation/Historic Preservation

Merit
Project Name: Skyview Residence
Firm: Dake Wilson Architects
Location: Altadena, CA
Photographer: Stephen Schauer
Instagram: @dakewilsonarchitects

Jury Comments:
Permanence and interpretation without forcing original and distinctive characters of the house express respect and understanding of the original design and establish an exciting dialogue with the past that the reuse of the existing always needs to communicate. | The new materials and the elegant essentiality of the architectural language, demonstrated by the section, create livable and well-articulated indoor and outdoor spaces, enhancing the relationship with the outside.

Merit
Project Name: Los Feliz Residence Renovation & Preservation
Firm: Warren Techentin Architecture [WTARCH]
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Eric Staudenmaier
Instagram: @wtarch

Jury Comments:
A sensitive restoration combined with a modernization that honors the structure’s historic fabric. The latter is exemplified by an insertion of a small library and a reading nook into an irregularly shaped connective space. | A good example of where a renovation can also lift the quality of the original.

Citation
Project Name: Rising Glen Residence
Firm: Standard Architecture | Design
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Benny Chan and Shade Degges
Instagram: @standardarchitecture

Jury Comments:
This renovation honors the classic mid-20th-century design by an important Korean-born Los Angeles architect.

Citation
Project Name: Venice Residence
Firm: Studio Benson
Location: Venice, CA
Photographer: Eric Staudenmaier
Instagram: @studio.benson

Jury Comments:
A refined solution that adds to the lineage of camelback additions to historic properties in the Venice area. | There was a good sense of calm continuity created between both old and new elements.

Temporary Housing

Merit
Project Name: Raymer Street Housing Shelter
Firm: DNA Architecture + Design, Inc.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Undine Prohl

Jury Comments:
A good example of adaptive reuse for the social good, providing transitional housing with semi-private sleeping spaces. | Unusual lighting and acoustical scheme modulates what was originally an open-plan rectilineal warehouse. | The building seems to offer an acceptable level of privacy, despite the need to provide shelter to as many guests as possible. It constitutes an excellent example in the use of disused factories for this purpose. | The tone of the inner space is palpable, expressing specific care even in the sobriety of the design. | Both inside and out, a sophisticated use of colour and graphic creates, presumably on minimal budget, a self-assured and yet welcoming mood.

Citation
Project Name: The Willows
Architect: GGA Architecture +
Location: Canoga Park, CA
Photographer: Ric Berryman
Instagram: @ggarch_

Jury Comments:
The partnership between public and private for the investment in permanent structures recognizes personal dignity [for] this fragile population. The design of internal spaces goes beyond a service provider offering environments with different privacy and enabling to choose the degree and method of sharing the areas and services. | Temporary shelter that includes areas for singles and for couples, located within and opening to an existing low-rise urban fabric. There is a calm complementarity to the color scheme. | Commitment to bringing in natural light within the deep footprint and so ‘taking on’ the existing warehouse space is very effective.

Multi-Residential – Small
(Up to 20 Units)

Merit
Project Name: Treehouse
Firm: THE CALIFORNIA OFFICE (formerly Soler Architecture)
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: William Short
Instagram: @thecaliforniaoffice

Jury Comments:
The Project’s narrative is compelling and expresses a natural quality in sharing spaces that directly achieve a balanced relationship between sharing and privacy and communicate an identity that belongs to the entire resident community and represents it. | The composition of the volume is well controlled, and the use of open spaces is remarkable. | We applaud the commitment to vegetation, ensuring that the ‘treehouse’ project name remains a powerful guiding principle. | Very effective response to this emerging typology that builds on earlier examples of part-communal living (early 20th Century Venice hostels) and shared outdoor spaces (ubiquitous Los Angeles ding-bat apartment blocks).

Multi-Residential – Medium
(Up to 50 Units)

Citation
Project Name: The Harland
Firm: OFFICEUNTITLED
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Photographer: Hunter Kerhart
Instagram: @officeduntitled

Jury Comments:
The relationship between volumes and internal space is well conducted, which retains all its metropolitan character while establishing a remarkable quality connected with the use by each unit of the external area. | Relevant is the setback and rotation of the volumes to ensure privacy and enhance the urban side’s landscaping. | Elegant design and fine construction. | Interesting project to watch how Los Angeles moves towards its more ‘grown-up’ phase.

Citation
Project Name: Kings1030
Firm: Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Photographer: Paul Vu
Instagram: @loharchitects

Jury Comments:
We applaud the project for wrestling with the potential conflict of providing a generous outward face to the city whilst aiming for privacy for the residents. At the same time, it also strives to create its own distinct identity in what appears to be a changing context, partly through finding resonant view corridors to the outside world. | We also appreciate the brave decision to cut into the valuable site footprint to bring in light, views and vegetation at a powerful scale.

Multi-Residential – Large
(50 Units +)

Citation
Project Name: Millennium East Village
Firm: Michael W. Folonis Architects
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Photographer: Art Gray
Instagram: @folonisarchitects

Jury Comments:
This is an interesting approach to creating a new multi-unit neighborhood on a narrow urban site. The structural massing creates a variety of open spaces which have the potential to develop into communal areas. | The ongoing success of the project–being so densely stacked, may well be in how much the tight slithers of exterior space are able to evolve with ongoing sophisticated landscape solutions.

Citation
Project Name: L + O
Firm: DE Architects AIA
Location: North Hollywood, CA
Photographer: John Linden
Instagram: @dearchitectsaia

Jury Comments:
The project manages to achieve a surprising 7 stories via aggregate forms that step across the floor plates creating an ambiguity appropriate in a neighbourhood with density commitments still in flux. | The identity overall manages to step aside from the more stereotyped higher-density, developer blocks, with a sense of connection to the North Hollywood demographic.

Climate Positive Award

Project Name: Isle Au Haut Residence
Firm: LUNO Design Studio
Location: Isle Au Haut, ME
Photographer: Trent Bell
Instagram: @lunodesignstudio

Jury Comments:
The design of this home fully embraces its relationship to energy, deriving its form and its orientation from the way it harnesses the sun for heat, energy and light. | The spaces are passively heated by the sun, which also washes the interiors in warm daylight. The 8-panel rooftop photovoltaic array powers the clean energy electric appliances, including an induction cooktop. The PV panels send the energy produced in excess of what the home uses to be stored by the island’s microgrid, making a net-positive contribution to its neighbors.

Single Family Residential – Small
(up to 2,500 Sq. Ft.)

Merit
Project Name: Shepard Mesa House
Firm: Nabi Boyd
Location: Carpinteria, California
Photographer: Caitlin Atkinson
Instagram: @nabiboyd

Jury Comments:
The volume is organized to enjoy the comprehensive view and the privacy offered by the presence of the trees. The house is part of the orchard itself, closed just enough to provide shelter for the winter, but you can imagine life outside in the shade of the trees for most of the year. | The characterizing element that dominates the composition is the orchard. Because of this, the house is sloping together with the site. | The dimensional relationship and harmonic proportion between topography and multidimensional square geometry regulating the composition of the openings are correct, together with the perception of the context from the inside.

Merit
Project Name: 4/Way House
Firm: deegan day design & architecture
Location: Topanga, CA, USA
Photographer: Taiyo Watanabe
Instagram: @deegan_day_design

Jury comments:
Slipping effortlessly between early 20th century low-tech twinned-timber technologies, mid-century case study forms, industrial folding roofs, and across-space cinematic connections, this project takes on its robust fire-conscious landscape setting with equal resilience. | The relatively tough exterior shell is a good decoy for a warm and light interior that carries through structural and cladding strategies all the way through to arrangement of interior furniture and other volume defining elements.

Merit
Project Name: Modern Bungalow
Firm: RIOS
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Hunter Kerhart
Instagram: @rioshome

Jury Comments:
Although small, this contemporary bungalow integrates into a narrow rectangular lot, creating an illusion of a larger living space. | This project is obviously urban while at the same time it is intimately framed by a variety of landscape elements—a pebbled drive-way transitions between the street and the wildflowers and plantings of the interior.

Single Family Residential – Medium
Up to 5,000 Sq. Ft.

Honor
Project Name: Palms House II
Firm: kevin daly Architects
Location: Venice, California
Photographer: Benny Chan
Instagram: @kevindalyarchitects

Jury Comments:
Wonderful affirmation of an ongoing client dialogue and a confidence to explore an evolving architectural language that, in the end, creates a balance and convincing counterpoint to the first work. | This project complements the much larger Palms House I. Notably, both turn their narrow sides to the street, humanizing the actual scale of their conversation. | Beautiful and correct–the use of the double wooden-skin related to the perforated sheet metal on aluminum frames of the former house. | The wooden curvilinear sculptural forms feel completely under control in relation to the streetscape, landscape and the other buildings, avoiding the potential realms of the cartoon or one-liner.

Merit
Project Name: Strandhouse
Architect: XTEN Architecture
Location: Hermosa Beach, CA
Photographer: Art Gray
Instagram: @xtenarchitecture

Jury Comments:
An adept further excursion towards modernist minimalism that sits confidently amongst the eclectic beachfront ‘contestants’. | The internal layout creates a sense of fluidity appropriate to maintain strong relationships to the ocean even deep into the floor plan, with a masterful commitment to detailing on both the interior and exterior. | The tapered beachfront frame to exterior walls and roof with no apparent parapet allows the simple box form to have a powerful weight, and the exaggerated horizontal floor plates provide a subtle rhythmic connection to the neighbors.

Merit
Project Name: House Stepping Down a Hill
Firm: Bestor Architecture
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Bruce Damonte
Instagram: @bestorarchitecture

Jury Comments:
Being light-hearted in outlook as well as deferential towards the revered neighbor shows a certain confidence and laissez-faire attitude, and so forms an important exemplar for this relatively informal neighborhood. | The interaction of volumes expresses balance and integration between architecture and landscape. The connections between the volumes interpret the naturalness of the context by relying on natural light and all its variations throughout the day. The wood, metal, and glass surfaces are appropriately integrated and express an extraordinary control of the detail. | Provides a respectful contrast to its historic neighbor while directly speaking to the hillside terrain and the reservoir below. | The main pavilion plays with the idea of a fun-filled family campground outing while simultaneously paying homage to mid-century modern design.

Citation
Project Name: House of Seven Screens
Firm: Escher GuneWardena Architecture
Location: Glendale, CA
Photographer: Clarke Henry
Instagram: @egarch

Jury Comments:
This discreet juxtaposition of geometries–those of the ranch-house and of the Mashrabiya latticework–fuses two stylistic traditions: Southern California and Middle Eastern. Very apropos for Glendale.

Citation
Project Name: Laurel Hills Residence
Architect: Assembledge+
Location: Studio City, Los Angeles
Instagram: @assembledge.com
Photographer Name: Matthew Millman

Jury Comments:
Interestingly the dimensional and material relationship between the wooden surfaces–the metal, and the glass ones–play a role in counterpointing the colors, black and white. | The organization of the landscape plays an exciting role in the simplicity of the volumes, which, in the connections flooded with natural light, offers a realistic experience in contact with nature. | Interesting investigation into top-heavy monolithicity in combination with a lightness of touch in well-detailed glazing and relationships with delicate vegetation. Memories of Wexler for Merrill Lynch.

Citation
Project Name: Mildred Residence
Firm: Minarc
Location: Venice, CA
Photographer: Art Gray
Instagram: @minarcdesign

Jury Comments:
The force with which the position of the entrance dominates and highlights the entire layout is the compositional principle that gives rise to the design by dividing the volume into two parts. In a functional and harmonic relationship, the two parts continue to dialogue in plan and section, creating the necessary tension to make the narrative of the volume particularly interesting. | The colors also emphasize the contrast and tension between the interior spaces. The composition finds its perfect synthesis on the cover.

Single Family Residential – Large
(5,000 Sq. Ft. +)

Merit
Project Name: A Bronze House on Nightingale
Firm: Zoltan E. Pali | SPF:architects
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Matthew Momberger
Instagram: @spfarchitects

Jury Comments
The project explores the theme of light and the expressive potential offered by surfaces to screen or diffuse natural light. | Textures on the entrance’s side are folded to collect the gradations in equal measure to those of the roof. | The intention is to use all the exhibits to modulate the light and project it inside the volume. The internal surface is divided into two sections crossed by natural light and joined by walkways exposed to sunlight to increase the feeling of space.

Merit
Project Name: California House
Firm: GLUCK+
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Timothy Hursley
Instagram: @gluck_plus

Jury Comments:
Aptly named, this project is so firmly rooted in various phases of residential research in Southern California, but yet manages to land a freshness of approach that isn’t just another rehash. | Clever planning on the lower level creates balanced, rational spaces that appropriately benefit from thermal mass. | Very careful detailing with restrained use of colour and materials and with brave touches such as the curtain rail across the glass.

Merit
Project Name: Forest Knoll Residence
Architect: Standard Architecture | Design
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Photographer: Mike Kelley
Instagram: @standardarchitecture

Jury Comments:
This project is an excellent example of controlled and consistent architectural vocabulary on a grand scale. It retains a calm distinctiveness while in dialog with a notable precedent. | Through a tripartite arrangement of simple volumes, this single-family residence retains flexibility of use. | Very well-articulated composition of landscape and buildings that form a rational relationship on what seems like an awkwardly shaped site.

Citation
Project Name: Breeze Blocks
Firm: Kovac Design Studio
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Photographer: Jeremy Bittermann
Instagram: @kovacdesignstudio

Jury Comments:
This home was designed to fit the stylistic ordinance of Trousdale Estates. Of particular note is the perforated wall of breeze blocks that discreetly shields the entrance with its colorful mosaic and a Roberto Burle-Marx inspired pond. Night views of the city are worthy of a Julius Shulman photograph.

 


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Director, Marketing and Public Relations
t: 213.639.0763
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