2022 Small Project Awards
Recognizing the best in small project design
AIA and it's Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community present the annual Small Project Awards to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects provide regardless of the limits of size and scope.
These thirteen projects represent the big impact that small projects can have on their users and broader communities.
A Wall Made of Bricks
Equal parts time machine and work of art, A Wall Made of Bricks in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood is composed of building materials found at the site dating from 16,000 years ago to today. The team reused 11,000 salvaged bricks from the demolition of an existing warehouse to create this 200-foot-long street wall in collaboration with a group of master masons.
Enough House, a prototype in Riverport, Nova Scotia, explores precisely what constitutes enough in both size and craft. At just about 700 square feet, Enough House is a dwelling in a series of affordable, modest houses designed by the team to demonstrate the idea of economy as an ethic.
Goatbarn Lane is a full-time residence for the architect’s father, who sought to live simply and respectfully amid Colorado’s unique mountain landscape. Its architecture explores the power of less and, in doing so, the impact of each of its elements grows while sustainability comes naturally. Throughout, the home demonstrates that minimal design can connect us to places, simplify our lives, and inspire us in profound ways.
Hill Country Wine Cave
Stealthily tucked into the eastern edge of Texas's Hill Country, this private wine cave sits on a secluded river bend just a short walk from other ranch amenities. The project, designed under the pretense of an existing excavated cave on the north face of a limestone hill, nearly disappears into the native landscape. Its unassuming exterior entry count provides just a glimpse of what awaits inside, while boulders and lush vegetation help camouflage the cave mouth.
Jesse’s House, built through an AIA Austin initiative, is a tiny home for Jesse, a community member who had been homeless for much of his life. The home’s design reflects the ideals of shelter and permanence, as well as Jesse’s notions of how to be a good neighbor. It is located in Community First! Village, a cluster of micro-homes, services, and amenities in east Austin that supports those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Leimert Park Community Fridge
This project evolves the notion of a community fridge and is a volunteer project initiated by a group of 10 young practitioners to better serve the Leimert Park community in Los Angeles. Supported by firm partners after forming a Design Justice Committee during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s design solution improves the life expectancy of the neighborhood’s existing community fridge and is a model that can be easily adopted at other locations.
Austin’s Little Tiger is a Chinese language immersion school serving children in pre-K, kindergarten, and early elementary school in one of the city’s residential neighborhoods. The school had been operating at capacity in a converted bungalow and adjacent church, and this project, taking advantage of Austin’s development code for compatible uses, adds a new one-room classroom to flesh out a small-scale campus.
Marfa Suite is a detached addition which serves as a refuge when family and friends visit West Texas.
Palms House II
Palms II in Venice, California, is a three-bedroom single-family house that transforms an earlier project, Palms I, into a family compound organized around a large courtyard. The project resulted from a decade-long collaboration between the design team and the client, and it responds to the organic growth of the family and the architects’ evolving design process. The new home uses conventional materials in unexpected ways to shape a livable, functional, and surprising home.
SLC Fire Department Training Center
This project, a facility for the Salt Lake City Fire Department’s training exercises, breathes new life into an existing building and achieves a dynamic new civic facade. The original intention for the project was to demolish an existing but largely abandoned station to make room for a pre-engineered metal building. However, the design team convinced the department that it could maximize its $1.3 million construction budget by adapting the largely abandoned station while also being more environmentally responsible.
Spatial Laminated Timber (SPLAM) Pavilion
The Spatial Laminated Timber (SPLAM, for short) Pavilion is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the design team and the University of Michigan Taubman College. The pavilion is a permanent addition to the campus of Chicago’s EPIC Academy, one of the city’s most innovative high schools, and demonstrates the potential for prefabricated timber framing panels using robotic technology to achieve sustainable design and construction methods.
When it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect daily life for the foreseeable future, Austin’s Little Tiger Chinese immersion school opted to move a significant portion of its classes outdoors. Temporary Tiger, which took a week to build and cost less than $6,000, allowed the school to continue its programming in fall 2020. The shelter allows for learning in an exciting, cheerful environment while providing students with shelter from the intense Texas sun.
The Seattle Street Sink
Seattle is the nation’s 18th largest city, but it has the third-largest population of people experiencing homelessness. When Washington State enacted its stay-at-home orders during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, that vulnerable population was left with few opportunities to wash their hands in business restrooms and other public buildings. Seattle initially responded with temporary stations that proved inadequate in number and required the constant emptying of greywater.
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects