2011 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards

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Town House | Notes of Interest

Though built over a century ago like its neighbors, this town house has been completely renovated. The result is a tremendous increase in natural light, an uplifting collection of colors and material palettes, and a tastefully modern feel within a traditional townhouse.

The team worked within a number of regulations for the renovation, among them a requirement that the traditional limestone facade remain intact. The rear facade, located in an alley, has been completely reworked to provide more light into the building.

The building was previously used as commercial space on all three floors. The eighteen-foot wide by 100-foot long structure occupies the entire site. Interior spaces were typically dark with nine-foot high ceilings, the result of a previous renovation.

In this new renovation, the majority of existing floor joists are retained in an effort to reuse the existing structural system and to leave the historical limestone facade undisturbed. To change the redundancy of continuous nine-foot high ceilings, a twelve-foot wide section of the third floor--the width of the row house-- was removed. Located directly above this opening, a similar-sized skylight infuses the interior with light. Above a new steel and aluminum stair, the rooftop addition opens to adjacent terraces and provides outdoor living spaces with rooftop views.

Exposed brick walls, painted white, are juxtaposed to blue epoxy floors. Floor openings with bridges, skylights, and a three-story galvanized steel wall animate the spaces and integrate the floors vertically. Glass and steel elements compose the spaces and unify a diverse but consistent palette of materials, resulting in a modern spatial quality within a traditional town house typology.


  • Contractor: Prill Construction
  • Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
  • Photo Credit: © Paul Warchol

Town House

Jury Comments

The site was a challenge, especially in terms of natural light and deep, narrow space... What an elegant solution to a difficult urban and architectural problem.

The project skillfully brings light deep into the house, creating an interior cascade of light.

An astounding and graceful renovation.

2011 AIA Housing Awards Jury

  • Katherine Austin, AIA, Chair
  • Katherine Austin Architect
  • Sebastopol, Calif.
  • Claire Conroy
  • Residential Architecture Magazine
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Jackson, FAIA
  • Historical Preservation Agency
  • State of Illinois
  • Springfield, Ill.
  • Luis Jauregui, AIA
  • Jaurequi, Inc.
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA
  • Florida International University Miami
  • Coconut Grove, Fla.

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