perkins eastman architects, pittsburgh

For designing urban expansion that enhances the community, South Side Housing takes top honors. In a two-block section of Pittsburgh, Perkins Eastman Architects reclaimed old industrial sites with an intricate plan that includes 58 new and renovated townhouses--about 30 per acre, compared with the more common 10 units per acre. "Unless we could maintain that density, we couldn't get the scale and rhythm right," says project architect Stefani Ledewitz. Nevertheless, the firm packed in parking spaces and vest-pocket parks, creating fences and walls to make them private. "If you build smaller spaces with privacy, they're just as appealing to people as large yards that require more maintenance," Ledewitz notes. And since the lower-cost homes are mixed in with larger units all around the block, they avoid the all-too-common fate of isolation. "The site plan is very strong and well organized," the judges said.

For economy and context, the architects made use of materials found on the site, as well as new, industrial-type products. Old brick and block stone reappear on new walls and courtyards. And the corrugated-metal stoops echo the site's past. "The best things about this project are the materials and their relationship to the site," the judges agreed. "There's a grammar for the vocabulary of materials."

project architect: Stefani Ledewitz, AIA, Perkins Eastman Architects
developer: Jack Johnston, Allton Properties, Pittsburgh
general contractor: Tim Fisher, Mistick Construction, Pittsburgh
landscape architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Cambridge, Mass.
project size: 960 to 1,750 square feet per unit
site size: 2 acres
construction cost: $62 per square foot
sales price: $100,000 per unit
units in project: 58
photographer: Tsunehisa J. Tusda