ZAI Inc. Wins American Institutes of Architects Award for Small Projects 2009

Jun 1, 2009

Categories include furniture/objects, structures and, accessible residential design.

News Release

May 18, 2009
Contact: Emory R. Baldwin
ZAI Inc.
5228 Kirkwood Place
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206-275-2345

SEATTLE, WA - May 18, 2009 – ZAI Inc. is proud to announce it was selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to receive a 2009 Small Project Award.  The AIA Small Project Awards Program, now in its fifth year, was established to recognize small-project practitioners for the high quality and ingenuity in design resolution of small projects and to promote excellence in small-project design. This award program emphasizes the merit of small-project design, the translation of best disciplinary practices, advancements, and elements into current projects and processes, and strives to raise public awareness of the value that architects bring to any project, regardless of budget, size, or scope.

Award recipients are categorized into three groups; (1) Small Project Objects (furniture, fixture, or fragment; up to $50,000 construction budget), (2) Small Project Structures (up to $500,000 construction budget), and (3) Accessible Residential Designs. The projects were judged on their demonstration of exemplary skill in meeting program intent and requirements, and their achievement of excellence in design.

Photo of exterior of Green Lake Residence Photo of interior of Green Lake Residence

ZAI Inc. submitted their project, Green Lake Residence, for the Small Project Accessible Residential Design category. This three-story "urban infill" home is designed to respond to the various physiological and socioeconomic changes people may experience over the course of their lives, and is intended to demonstrate that universal design need not appear ugly or unusual.  Gently sloping paths connect the main floor to the front sidewalk, and the basement to the rear alley.  All doors are wide (3'-0") for enhanced maneuverability, and the house has many other universally-designed features, including level thresholds at all exterior doors, lever handles, and curb-less showers.

The design awards jury made comments on each of the selected recipients and their notes for this project were full of praise:

Very thoughtful approach to aging in place. Very contextual and very joyful.

This project has a good use of color and was done with a modest budget.

The lighting and openness was a significant asset.

The inclusion of the in-law suite on the lower level was well handled. This is really for aging in style.

The 2009 AIA Small Project Practitioners (SPP) Knowledge Community Advisory group members were Deborah Pierce, AIA, Chair; Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA, Vice-Chair; Laura Montlor, AIA; Kevin Harris, FAIA, 2008 Chair. The AIA Support Staff consisted of Pauline Porter.

Jury members for the AIA Small Project Practitioners Design Awards for 2009 were jury moderator Louis Smith, AIA, Microtecture, PLLC; Kenneth Workman, AIA, RWA Architects, Inc.; Sanford Steinberg, AIA, Steinburg Design Collaborative, LLP; Eric McRoberts, AIA, RLPS; Katherine Austin, AIA; Sherry Ahrentzen, Assoc. AIA, Arizona State University.