The 12 most innovative and beautifully designed buildings in 2019, according to architects

The best designed homes of 2019.

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The best designed homes of 2019.
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Bates Masi + Architects

The design of a building can tell a story, bring a community together, or simply imitate societal trends.

With over one million new residential homes expected to reach completion in the US this year, there is a sweeping pool of new techniques, designs, and talent in the world of architecture.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a nationally known organization for industry professionals, dwindled that pool of buildings down to 12 remarkable residential designs and named them the winners of the organization’s 2019 Housing Awards. The annual Housing Awards program was established 19 years ago by the AIA. Each year, it recognizes the best residential architecture in new constructions, renovations, and restorations.

Read more: 31 architectural masterpieces everyone should see in their lifetime – from the largest mud-built structure in the world to a Beijing tower shaped like trousers

This year’s entries came from homes designed by licensed US architects as well as owners of residential projects that were completed after January 1, 2014.

The winners were recognized across four categories: one- and two-family custom residences; one- and two-family production homes; multifamily housing; and specialized housing. A jury of industry professionals evaluated how successfully each project met individual requirements along with its sustainability, affordability, social impact, innovation, durability, and ability to meet specific client needs.

Presented below, in no particular order, are the 12 winners of this year’s 2019 Housing Awards.


The Bigwin Island Club Cabins are located on an island in Baysville, Ontario.

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DoubleSpace Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


They were designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects and built to blend in with the woodland setting.

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DoubleSpace Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


Arguably the most prominent part of the design is the Muskoka shingled roofs which, as described by the AIA, “appear to float on the grazing line that the deer have created in the forest.”

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DoubleSpace Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


In San Francisco, California sits the Bill Sorro Community, which houses 67 units for low-income families and developmentally disabled adults.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


The building was designed by Kennerly Architecture & Planning.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


It incorporates sustainable living strategies that target energy efficiency, air-quality, storm-water management, and grey-water re-use.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


The Georgica Cove overlooks the ocean in East Hampton, New York.

The best designed homes of 2019.

source
Bates Masi + Architects

Source: American Institute of Architects


Designed by Bates Masi + Architects, this home has a personal, guest, and public area that can be connected and divided by sliding doors.

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Bates Masi + Architects

Source: American Institute of Architects


As described by AIA, the design’s soft-colored detailing “unifies the various spaces and responds to the local climate.”

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Bates Masi + Architects

Source: American Institute of Architects


Over in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sits the Jefferson Park Apartments, which serves as an affordable housing unit for the local community.

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©Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


It was designed by Abacus Architects + Planners and features four courtyards …

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©Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


… as well as a distinctive set of terraces, natural materials, and bright colors.

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©Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


The Lofts at Mayo Park are located in Rochester, Minnesota.

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© Corey Gaffer

Source: American Institute of Architects


The four-story, 29-unit residential project was designed by Snow Kreilich Architects.

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© Corey Gaffer

Source: American Institute of Architects


It is located on the Zumbro River and is connected, through its details and structure, to the landscape around it.

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© Corey Gaffer

Source: American Institute of Architects


The Mirror Point cottage is tucked away on a lake in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

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© James Brittain Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


The 80-foot “fish shed” was designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited.

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© James Brittain Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


The design, as described by AIA, “demonstrates the frugality of the Nova Scotian vernacular in an elegant manner. “

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© James Brittain Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


Oak Park Housing in Sacramento, California, is a cluster of six single-family homes.

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Johnsen Schmaling Architect

Source: American Institute of Architects


The homes were designed on a vacant lot by Johnsen Schmaling Architects.

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Johnsen Schmaling Architect

Source: American Institute of Architects


The south facade of each building is made up of colorful vertical metal louvers.

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Johnsen Schmaling Architect

Source: American Institute of Architects


Pierhouse in Brooklyn, New York sits next to the New York Harbor and Brooklyn Bridge.

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David Sunberg/ESTO

Source: American Institute of Architects


Designed by Marvel Architects, it purposefully reinterprets the traditional Brooklyn Brownstone.

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David Sunberg/ESTO

Source: American Institute of Architects


Public walkways throughout the building lead residents to the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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David Sunberg/ESTO

Source: American Institute of Architects


The San Joaquin Villages house more than 1,000 students at the University of California.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


The building was designed by four architects and firms: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Kevin Daly Architects, and Kieran Timberlake.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


The project consists of a series of neighborhoods that promote architectural diversity and includes plazas, recreational facilities, and courtyard gardens.

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© Bruce Damonte

Source: American Institute of Architects


Skyline Residence Hall is a 164-bedroom, 54,000-square-foot residence hall at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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© Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


It was designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

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© Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


The design redefines the traditional dorm-room layout by bringing the community together in informal gathering spaces and student kitchens.

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© Bruce T. Martin Photography

Source: American Institute of Architects


The Tiny Tower in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is 38 feet tall.

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Sam Oberter

Source: American Institute of Architects


The purpose of the building, which was designed by Interface Studio Architects LLC, is to promote vertical living …

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Sam Oberter

Source: American Institute of Architects


… and reveal how smaller spaces can feel large in design and experience.

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Sam Oberter

Source: American Institute of Architects


The Off-Grid Guesthouse sits on one of California’s last undeveloped coastal areas.

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Erin Feinblatt

Source: American Institute of Architects


The home was designed by Anacapa and Willson Design and is powered by a Photovoltaic energy system.

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Erin Feinblatt

Source: American Institute of Architects


The building also boasts a green roof and sustainable materials like steel, concrete, and glass.

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Erin Feinblatt

Source: American Institute of Architects