Affordable / Merit
Sometimes limitations can produce poetic results. Take Del Norte, Colo., affordable senior housing community Casas de Rio Grande, where Ron Faleide, AIA, used budget constraints as a framework for the building's clever floor plan. “The cheapest building you can make is a box with a hallway in the middle,” he says. So he designed one. Then he split the box lengthwise and shifted the halves in opposite directions along the building's axis, allowing units that would have faced each other to face the outdoors instead.
As a result of this simple move, every apartment opens onto a sunny, window-lined corridor rather than a dark, double-loaded one. And Faleide specified exterior door and window frames and fiber-cement walls for the units' glassed-in front elevations, heightening the hallway's resemblance to a street. “People put their outdoor furniture and plants outside their doors,” he says. “They sit there when they want to be part of a community.”
The judges admired the design's encouragement of social interaction. “This is a terrific building,” said one.