2011′s Latest and Greatest: Award-Winning Architecture
The State of Minnesota’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded several firms for their outstanding work across the country. A recent Star Tribune article featured everything from a north woods cabin to a California college. Some dwellings were small, and others were large, commercial spaces.
The overriding feel of the spaces is to blur the structures with nature, bringing the outside in. Large windows and open formats thematically play across the prestigious list of honorees. Recycling was another theme where rainwater nourishes roof plantings and theaters are built into abandoned whale tanks at the Minnesota Zoo.
One of our favorite firms to watch is Minneapolis’ Alchemy, architects and founders of the WeeHouse. One of their projects made the hot list this year — a simple two-room home installed in the Texas dessert. Alchemy is giving an option to build that reasonably priced and high-styled space just about anywhere.
Another favorite project this year was the Gunflint Lake Cabin designed by VJAA, another Minneapolis firm. The simplicity of the two-box design is so respectful of the environment: they were able to save the large Cedar trees on site. The clean approach is admirable considering the steep, organic lay of the land.