As part of National Architecture Week , an event that showcases architecture’s influence on daily life, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is working to increase attention to the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design. Each day this week this blog will highlight an AIA-NJ Design Award that exemplifies this –
Interface Studio Architects Receives AIA-NJ Merit Award for Design of Affordable Housing Community in Camden, N.J.
Philadelphia, Pa.-Based Firm’s ‘Nueva Vida Homes’ Will Be Nation’s First WaterSense Certified Neighborhood Development
The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has awarded Philadelphia-based architectural design firm Interface Studio Architects with a Merit Award for its imaginative design of the Nueva Vida Homes, an affordable housing community in nearby Camden, N.J.
“The Nueva Vida Homes demonstrate that affordable housing designs need not be insipid and uninspired,” said Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “Interface Studio Architects has devised a plan for a new community that is both thoughtful and practical, and it’s sure to provide a significant boost to the Camden community.”
Part of a three-phase neighborhood redevelopment effort led by Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, the Nueva Vida Homes is currently in the schematic design phase. Therefore, its Merit Award was in the “Un-built” category, meant to recognize projects yet to be built, but which show great promise. The project consists of 19 scattered site in-fill homes for sale in an urban residential area of Camden. The iconic structures, coined “sidecar houses,” feature eye-catching, playfully designed exteriors intended reflect the eclectic design of the surrounding neighborhood.
Interface Studio Architects’ plans served as a paragon for efficiency and sustainability while maintaining affordability for its residents. The buildings will be the first urban dwellings to be labeled through the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, which promotes water conservation in building design. The home designs also received ENERGY STAR certification.
“We’re honored that our affordable housing proposals for Cramer Hill, Camden have been recognized by AIA NJ,” said Brian Phillips, AIA, LEED AP, principal of Interactive Studio Architects. “It confirms our deeply held belief that high-performance, contemporary design has a place in modest housing types and markets. This award celebrates the conviction and vision of our client.”
The AIA-NJ Annual Design Awards program recognizes architectural projects that exhibit design excellence in one of four categories: Open (meant for any building type), Residential, Historic Preservation and Interior Architecture. Projects are further designated as either Built or Un-built. To be eligible, projects must be either located in New Jersey or designed by an AIA-NJ architect. Submitted projects are evaluated during the organization’s annual Design Conference by a group of distinguished architects from throughout the country.