AIA/HUD Secretary Awards recognize three outstanding housing projects

For immediate release:  

Washington, D.C. – May 11, 2017 – The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing Knowledge Community, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), recognized three recipients of the 2017 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards. The categories of the program include (1) Excellence in Affordable Housing Design (2) Creating Community Connection Award (3) Community-Informed Design Award and (4) Housing Accessibility - Alan J. Rothman Award (no projects were selected in this category this year). These awards demonstrate that design matters, and the recipient projects offer examples of important developments in the housing industry.

The descriptions below give a brief summary of the projects. You can learn more about these projects by clicking on the name of the project/firm name.

Category one: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award

Monteverde Senior Apartments; Hayward, California

Dahlin Group Architecture Planning

Monteverde Senior Apartments is a 67-unit community providing much-needed affordable, age-qualified housing. The development is an architectural feat, located on a hillside with more than 17% slope, a 40-foot grade increase – challenging for building a residence for seniors. Its contemporary design melds with the existing structures, working well with the multi-tiered site and meandering paths designed to connect with the surrounding community.  A transit-oriented development, the location links residents to BART and downtown Orinda services. The building is also designed with a Green Point Rated score of 150+, with sustainable features including solar hot water and photovoltaic systems. As the first new senior affordable housing development in three decades, all units were leased within weeks of opening, demonstrating the need for affordable senior housing in the area. The community is the first of hopefully many more senior affordable housing opportunities for those most in need.

Category two: Creating Community Connection Award

Plaza Roberto Maestas, Beloved Community; Seattle

Architect of Record: SMR Architects, PLLC; Design Architect: 7 Directions Architects & Planners, Third Place Design Cooperative

Plaza Roberto Maestas is a landmark equitable transit-oriented development project in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The project incorporates the community’s vision into a new mixed-use development in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Completed in September 2016, Plaza Roberto Maestas consists of two six-story buildings that flank an outdoor plaza, which opens onto a Festival Street adjacent to a light rail station. Through nearly eight years of planning with the community, El Centro de la Raza transformed a surfacing parking lot into a multicultural hub for the neighborhood that incorporates 112 units of affordable housing, local small business retail and office, community space, and a bilingual child development center.  Plaza Roberto Maestas directly addresses the urgent need for affordable housing and economic opportunity in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and is a model for community-inspired transit-oriented development.

Category three: Community-Informed Design Award

Flance Early Learning Center; St. Louis

Trivers Associates

Sited on one of the last failed public housing high-rise structures in St. Louis, this early childhood center aspires to proactively alter the course of the most impoverished zip code in Missouri. The design process involved meetings with community leaders, volunteers, and private partners to address the needs of children and the neighborhood. The program’s instruction, daycare, nutrition education, and integrated wellness center for 164 children of mixed-incomes is unique among other childcare centers. The massing of the center provides an abstracted, organic-formed facade which creates a shaded interstitial porch for each classroom’s outdoor access. Like dappling light through a tree canopy, perforated metal filters the light, shading the south and west-facing glass, contributing to the facility’s pending LEED certification. A sophisticated yet playful palate fills the interior with light and energy, allowing the building to remain a canvas for learning and creating.  

The jury for the 2017 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards includes: Katherine Williams, AIA, (Chair) Fifth Generation Holdings; Danielle Arigoni, US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Joe Digrado, AIA, Danielian Associates; Blake Held, AIA, Blake H. Held Architect, PLLC; Rachelle Levitt, US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Charles Mudede, The Stranger and David Perkes, AIA, Mississippi State University, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


Matt Tinder
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