The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named the 2009 winners of its Small Project Awards, which honor small-project practitioners for design excellence. Awards were given in three categories: Small Project Objects (those with a construction budget of up to $50,000), Small Project Structures (those with a budget of up to $500,000), and Accessible Residential Designs.

The winners in the Accessible Residential Design category are:

Green Lake Residence, Seattle, by ZAI Inc. of Seattle. A three-story urban infill home designed to accommodate the changing needs of its occupants over the course of their lives, while demonstrating the aesthetic potential of universal design. Improved accessibility features include an open layout, gently sloping entry paths, 3-foot-wide doors, zero thresholds at all exterior doors, and lever handles.

Luminous Bodies Residence, Evansville, Ind., by ASTIGMATIC Studio of San Francisco. A house designed for a divorced couple with very different mobility needs who wanted to live together when retired. The house is configured in a "V" plan to maximize the separation of private spaces, as well as each private space's connection to the public spaces.

Saratoga Pool, Santa Clara County, Calif., by Min | Day of San Francisco. The vanishing-edge pool straddles the narrow end of the ridge on which the house rests and complements the steeply sloped site. Wheelchair-accessible features, such as a ramp and a transfer bench at the side of the pool, are integrated seamlessly and discretely.

Among the winners in the Small Project Objects category were two residential projects:

Counterbalanced Steel Stair, Bozeman, Mont., by Intrinsik Architecture of Bozeman. To access the building's third-floor loft, floor space at the second-floor landing had to serve as a hallway to the master suite and as a stairway up. Adapting a manufactured aluminum stair with an adjustable torsion bar, the firm created a counterbalanced stair that can be pulled down or pushed up manually with minimal effort.

Dominey Pavilion, Decatur, Ga., by Lightroom LLC of Atlanta. The project consists of a new exterior deck, outdoor living room, garden, carport, and driveway, and abstractly references such Southern vernacular structures as shotgun shacks and dogtrot houses. (The pavilion also won a Merit Award in the 2009 CUSTOM HOME Design Awards.)

Among the Small Project Structures winners were several residential projects:

Chapin Studio, Austin, Texas, by Architects/ClaytonLevyLittle of Austin, Texas. Serving as a combination art studio and garden shed with an adjacent carport, the structure offers a modern interpretation of Victorian design to complement its neighbor. Its exterior materials complement those of the main house; its metal roof collects rainwater for harvesting.

Ferrous House, Spring Prairie, Wis., by Johnsen Schmaling Architects of Milwaukee. The pre-existing 1970s suburban structure was reinvented for a modern lifestyle. The exterior is wrapped on three sides in a rainscreen of weathering steel panels, which extend beyond the house's perimeter in back to shelter a patio. (This project won a Renovation Merit Award in the 2009 residential architect Design Awards competition

and was named Custom Home of the Year in the 2009 CUSTOM HOME Design Awards competition.)

Accessory Building, North Vancouver, B.C., by mcfarlane | green | biggar of North Vancouver. Designed for small-office use in a residential neighborhood, this accessory building consists of two L-shaped roofs that mirror each other in section and step up with the topography. The building's form, program, and approach to its site address its public and private roles.

Emel Residence, Palo Alto, Calif., by EASA Architecture of San Mateo, Calif. The project required a new 660-square-foot basement under an existing 830-square-foot house, which the firm solved using an "upside down" second-floor addition. Additions and alterations integrate seamlessly with the original structure, preserving the existing cottage.

Swamp Hut, Newton, Mass., by Moskow Linn Architects of Boston. Designed for outdoor living and to foster an appreciation of the swamp habitat, this project arranges four huts around a central deck to create a protective enclosure. The hut is prefabricated of standard framing lumber with nominal sizes to minimize waste.