The winners of the 2009 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) were held at the 2010 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas earlier this week, where BALA judges discussed six major design trends they identified while reviewing the entries. Trends included:
1. A wide variety of architectural styles, but less regionalism.
Victorian, Craftsman, contemporary and a host of other styles were represented, however, the style wasn’t always intrinsic to the region i.e. an Italian villa in Pittsburgh. The judges also noted that there were more examples of authentic architecture and fewer eclectic designs.
2. Exquisitely detailed custom homes that bring the outdoors in.
From a 1,136-square-foot guest house to a 12,000-square-foot estate, the BALA-winning custom homes exhibit superb craftsmanship and an innovative use of materials, and break down the barriers between indoor and outdoor living space.
3. Creative, contemporary solutions for rental projects.
Rental developments pack a lot of design punch, often aimed at a key demographic group: Generation Y, also known as the Millenials. Examples include the Eitel Building City Apartments in Minneapolis with its chic interior finishes and the Arthouse at Keller Center in Keller, Texas, a mixed-use project with a contemporary flavor. But aesthetics haven’t been ignored in affordable rental communities. Canopy in Gainesville, Fla., sites attractive three-story buildings among mature oak trees, while the Preserve in New Orleans takes its design cues from the neighborhood’s mix of industrial architecture and historic New Orleans homes.
4. Green technology that is more effectively integrated with quality architectural design.
Aesthetics have taken their place alongside sustainability. The awards for Best Green-Built Home went to an Atlanta high-rise; a rustic single-family home in New Hampshire; and a dazzling contemporary home in the Nevada desert. All of them stand on their own as impressive works of architecture.
5. Simplicity of form inside and out.
Historic, geometric shapes and forms were prevalent in many of the award-winning projects. Interiors have fewer add-ons such as trim and wall treatments, placing more emphasis on natural light and views.
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