The Alice Washburn Awards

Connecticut is rich with architectural traditions that provide cultural continuity. Traditions are defined by a wide variety of underlying styles, including, but not limited to, Colonial, Georgian, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Shingle and Vernacular.  This award is named for the distinguished Connecticut residential architect Alice Washburn, an early 20th century Connecticut designer and builder, largely self-taught, whose work is known for its thoughtful stylistic and programmatic invention. The Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Connecticut) Alice Washburn Award program is to acknowledge excellence in traditional house design.  Winners are honored in three categories: new construction, accessory buildings, and additions/renovations.

2020 Alice Washburn Awards Jury

Eligibility:

  • All photography permissions and releases are the responsibility of the architect whose project has been selected. The required photography release form will be forwarded with submission instructions. One jury will judge all categories.
  • Submitting architect must be the Architect of Record, crediting any other contributing architectural firm, and must be licensed and residing in Connecticut.
  • Projects must have been completed after March 1, 2014

 

2020 AIA Connecticut Alice Washburn Winners

 

New Construction

Classical Revival Residence / Douglas VanderHorn Architects
Photo Credit: James Merrell

A new shingle style home is perched to capture the harbor views despite challenging grading and ecological constraints. Extensive site developments are organized on high ground allowing the landscape to cascade and then fall naturally towards the tidal wetlands of the meandering coastline. Formal symmetry in the plan introduces a dominant façade to the neighborhood, signaling entrance, and front yard while creating a private and a resort- like promenade of lawn, gardens, terraces, pool, spa, cabana, and sport court. Clipped gable ends outstretch at elegant angles, each seemingly identical before assuming a unique variety of bays, porches, balconies, and dormers. A convenient horseshoe driveway and drop off area nestles into the edge of the property.

Jury Comments: Impeccable, beautiful, varied, massing, fantastic relationship to the stone. It is strong and inviting. The interiors are extraordinary and really perfect. Each space has character to it. The whole environment of the house is very sensitive and well done.

 

French Country Residence / Mark P. Finlay Architects
Photo Credit: Warren Jagger

Overlooking the Long Island Sound, this 9,500 sqft French Country residence is the cohesive culmination of the owner’s broad stylistic tastes. Exquisitely detailed interiors were designed to showcase their eclectic collection of antiques and art gathered throughout years of travel, while on the exterior, formal terraced gardens create outdoor rooms that are utilized just as often as their indoor counterparts. Flared slate roofs, arched dormers, and intricate iron railings and balconies evoke the romantic French chateaus of the sixteenth century, while limestone details firmly ground the composition in present day Fairfield County.

Jury Comments: The consistency and cohesive design of the interior is really to be admired. Everything is right in the place that it should be. It is well designed and well detailed. This is a very successful project.

 

Country Home / Huestis Tucker Architects, LLC
Photo Credit: Nancy Elizabeth Hill

The design is a series of interconnected buildings organized around two courtyards. A winding drive brings visitors to the entry courtyard which is fronted by a welcoming porch, and then continues through the arched porte-cochere which connects the barn to the house and acts as the entrance to the inner courtyard.

Jury Comments: The design and detailing are high quality and consistent throughout, and the interior is simple. The entry sequence and porte-cochere are really lovely.

 

Additions/Renovations

Stone Country Residence / Charles Hilton Architects
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography

This 7,127sq.ft. 1940s Greenwich country house’s lackluster wings and dated interior distracted from its classic design and was in dire need of extensive and thoughtful renovation inside and out. Supplementary exterior trim and details, new slate roofing, new energy-efficient reproduction windows and doors, and meticulously matched stonework revived the character of the home and added new life for decades to come. Inside, nearly three-quarters of the interiors were completely redesigned to accommodate the owner’s programmatic changes – replacing the obsolete kitchen and baths, changing nearly all the MEP systems, adding structure, and furring in numerous walls to accommodate modern comforts and new, code-compliant spray foam insulation.

Jury Comments: This house is really well done. The detailing is consistent and at a very high level, and the proportions are done well. The interiors are both varied and imaginative, but they still work in the house. It’s charming.

 

Tudor House Restoration & Renovation /  Saniee Architects, LLC
Photo Credit: David Sundberg/ESTO

The challenge of this project was twofold. First, there was the need to Restore, Renovate, and Add to this vintage Tudor House designed by Henry Pelton in the late 19th Century. The second was to create a private outdoor space where none seemed possible. The house needed significant performance upgrading. The aesthetic of the new work strikes a balance between the present sensibilities and the need to work with the old. The hope of this project is that such restoration convinces new clients to maintain worthy structures and adapt rather than replace them and, by doing so, preserve the treasury of the built environment.

Jury Comments: It’s interesting to see the delicacy and repetition of the Tudor/Gothic elements. It’s a very clever site plan; it’s really disciplined and it opens up where it needs to. The restoration of the woodwork, the selection of the lighting, and the scale of everything that was added or restored is really respectful and really beautiful.

 

Accessory Buildings

Anne Curtis House Garage / Paul B. Bailey Architect
Photo Credit: Richard Cadan, Richard Cadan Photography

A backyard eyesore has been transformed into a unique visual attraction which successfully evokes the spirit and purposes of a “Victorian folly” with whimsy and delight. The “new carriage house” continues to provide its previous garage functions as both shelter for the owner’s cars and for convenient storage of garden tools, trash cans, and off-season furniture.

Jury Comments: This is an incredibly sweet project. It’s charming, the attention to detail is lovely, and it works well with the main house without copying it.

 

Carriage House / Scot Samuelson Architects
Photo Credit: Wendell Weber

Reminiscent of an estate carriage house, this new three bay garage with storage areas and a guest apartment is located behind a Main Street residence, sharing it’s flat irregular 15,000 square foot lot in the center of town. As an accessory structure, it was designed to look stylistically like it belonged with the antique house without being just a smaller and simpler version of it. The complex roof form allowed for 950 square feet of living space under the dormers and gables while creating a lofty high ceiling interior.  The roof flows down over portions of the first floor reducing the perceived height of the building and covering 145 sf of latticed storage areas and the 25 sf entry porch.

Jury Comments: This is a very well done project. It’s bold, it’s big, and it’s very involved visually. The proportions are really inventive and the elevation being broken down into different planes is a nice attention to detail.

 

Washington Pool House / Haver & Skolnick Architects
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography

The new 1,200 square foot pool house, completed in 2019, is set on a scenic 70-acre gentleman’s farm in Washington, CT which serves as a weekend retreat for a Manhattan family.  The building is sited on a hilltop, affording distant mountain views. The Pool House takes it cues from the surrounding historic barns and cottages of the rural property. The design of the building contrasts a traditional vernacular form with a composed classical plan. It features rustic native materials contrasted with crisp contemporary details.

Jury Comments: This project is simple, straightforward, and everything about it is nicely scaled, It’s comfortable, inviting, and quiet on the land. The interiors are beautiful and the style is a good fit.

 

Classic Georgian Pavilion / Douglas VanderHorn Architects
Photo Credit: Gus Cantavero Film & Images

Three load-bearing brick arches define each facade of this open pavilion nestled between the tennis court and swimming pool on a grand estate. Designed as an accessory structure to an elegant Georgian home rich in classical detailing, the pavilion’s style evokes a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

Jury Comments: This project is done beautifully. It works well with the main building and the proportions are nice. The use of the spaces with Pergolas and the seating flows very nicely, and the pavilion and the materials are exquisite. 

 

Pool Pergola on a Country Estate / Charles Hilton Architects
Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography / Nicholas Rotondi Photography

The new Georgian Estate’s Pool Pergola, which defines the southern edge of the pool terrace, is at once a product of the Classical tradition and also an Asian-inspired pavilion. Simple Doric columns and a modified entablature provide the structural framework for the pool-side structure, yet details such as the flared lead-coated copper roof with its embossed decorative edging and the delicate tracery of the trellises give an exotic, Eastern feel. Most notable are the perforated shafts of the in-antis columns. Each bears the traditional Chinese symbol for “good fortune” suspended in a field of tendrils and vines. Cleverly lit from the inside with a series of lights and mirrors, these columns are intended to evoke the feeling of traditional paper lanterns, and when lit at night, they give the appearance that the pergola is floating on the water.

Jury Comments: This is an interesting project. The detailing is amazing. It’s a really fun variation on the proportions of the rest of the complex. It’s hard to do something like this and not crowd the exterior spaces, so the decision to make it very light achieves that. The architect did something different and succeeded.

 

 

PAST ALICE WASHBURN AWARD RECIPIENTS
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

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