Spotlight on Architectural Excellence [2022]

In a fiercely competitive field of nearly 370 entries across 11 residential design categories, the 2022 Residential Design Architecture Awards (RDAA) stood as a testament to the outstanding creativity and innovation within the industry. The judging process, led by five esteemed architects well-versed in residential architecture, resulted in the recognition of 30 exceptional projects.

Among the accolades were one Project of the Year, 9 Honor awards, and 20 Citation awards, showcasing the best in class from top firms across the nation. It’s noteworthy that some winning projects might be familiar, having graced the pages of this magazine or received acclaim in other prestigious competitions. However, previous publication or awards didn’t serve as disqualifications, emphasizing the commitment to evaluating each project on its individual merits.

Eligible for consideration were residential projects completed after January 1, 2017, and the judges took on the challenging task of reviewing entries virtually before engaging in a two-day, intense deliberation over Zoom.

The outcome? A collection of nationally significant and inspiring residential architecture that pushes boundaries and sets new standards. In the spirit of celebration, we’re thrilled to spotlight three remarkable projects that stood out, shaping the future of residential design.

  1. Project of the Year: Mar Vista | Los Angeles, CA | Architect: Woods + Dangaran

Among the standout projects, one particularly caught the eye of the judges for its masterful handling of architecture’s core elements – space, proportion, and light.

Described as a dwelling one would want to live in, this ethereal house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood stood out with its intriguing contrasts. The L-shaped ensemble, featuring an atrium and glass-enclosed corridors, presents a modernist blend of warm natural materials inspired by Mexican floor plans.

Unveiling an outdoor view of a specimen gingko tree, the double-height atrium creates a sense of decompression, enhancing the indoor-outdoor dynamic. The central great room, with massive sliding-glass pocket doors, seamlessly connects the kitchen, dining area, and living room to the pool garden and a dining patio.

The meticulous attention to detail extends to sumptuous materials in the baths, where marble swirls and white oak accents counterpoint the house’s simple geometric forms. The garden, a collaboration with landscape architect Chris Sosa, blends organic and precise elements, creating serene outdoor spaces.

It is the perfect synthesis of architecture and nature that captivates with its simplicity and beauty.

2. Custom Urban House: Water’s Edge Residence | Austin, TX | A Parallel Architecture

Step into a world of exacting precision and deft proportioning with this incredible lakeside project, designed for a mathematician and his family. Every stone and brick in the 8,000-square-foot house was meticulously located in drawings, reflecting the firm’s commitment to precision. The siding, imbued with hidden messages through binary code, adds an intriguing layer of detail.

For the mathematician client, each meeting brought mathematically based curveballs, creating a unique blend of logic and creativity in the house. Despite the fun and Easter eggs, real challenges emerged, primarily the relentless Texas sun and heat gain. The team devised a plan to self-shade the house, using deep overhangs, operable window wall systems, strategically hidden shades, and a thoughtfully planned HVAC system.

The house’s material palette, including limestone, steel, concrete, stone, mahogany, and dark brick from Italy, reflects durability and low-maintenance, akin to a commercial building. The Golden section is intricately woven into the design, even extending to the boat dock. Judges praised the project’s architectural strength, noting its ability to maintain a sense of scale and avoid feeling bloated despite its size.

This blend of mathematical elegance and architectural prowess transcends the conventional, creating a space where precision meets soul.

3. Custom Rural or Vacation House: Goatbarn Lane | Boulder, CO | Renée de Gaudio Architecture

Discover the thoughtful integration of architecture with the environment in Goatbarn Lane, a full-time house nestled in the Colorado mountains. Judge-approved for its meticulous design, the project embodies the owner’s vision of a just-big-enough house, where every inch serves a purpose.

Architect Renée del Gaudio embraced the challenge, drawing inspiration from the site’s massive granite rock outcrop. Placing the owner’s bedroom next to the rock created a unique connection with nature, allowing for nightly visits from a curious fox. The living area’s 800-square-foot footprint and glassy bedroom suite, set on steel legs, harmoniously coexist with the landscape and wildlife.

An interior ipe bridge adds a dramatic touch, spanning the living room and culminating in a viewing platform with breathtaking mountain views. The thoughtful use of materials, including steel framing, concrete base, carbon steel cladding, and fire-safe ipe wood, not only contributes to the aesthetic but also serves practical purposes, acting as a wind and fire break in the wildfire-prone region.

The entry sequence, featuring ipe decking beneath giant ponderosa pines, showcases an intelligent combination of materials, providing a seamless connection to nature. Judges praised the house’s spatial intelligence, turning a small footprint into a spacious, elegant retreat in the heart of the Colorado mountains. Explore the perfect fusion of design and nature in Goatbarn Lane – where efficiency meets beauty. For an in-depth exploration, delve into the full article on this exceptional architectural gem.

Patrick Sullivan
Phone: 804.397.5078 

John Innes
Phone: 804.397.5078 

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