studio atkinson, washington, d.c.

Simplicity doesn't guarantee elegance, but in the case of this project that's exactly what it achieves. "This is a very good small house," the judges said. "The architect accomplished a lot with few parts."

Consisting of two rooms separated by an exte-rior breezeway for natural ventilation, the house is a loose interpretation of a dogtrot layout. Then again, says architect Stephen Atkinson, perhaps it's "more akin to a shotgun." The plan locates public rooms--the kitchen, dining, and living areas--in one wing and private ones--the bathroom and sleeping area--in another. Four sets of doors open the house to cross-ventilation.

Artful restraint prevails. A weekend retreat for the architect's parents, the house is only as big as it needed to be, and the vernacular dictated modest materials like corrugated metal, pressure-treated lumber, and translucent fiberglass panels. "It is unique by its absence of anything unnecessary," the judges said. "It got to the bare essence."

project architect: Stephen Atkinson, Studio Atkinson
general contractor: John Atkinson, Baton Rouge, La.
project size: 550 square feet
site size: 44 acres
construction cost: $90 per square foot
photographer: Timothy Hursley