4 AIA Award Winners
By Elsa Brenner
Some houses stand out from the crowd—not because they’re super-big or super-expensive, but because they represent some of the best architecture recently produced. The Westchester-Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently bestowed four of its prestigious awards to these homes.
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A FLOOD-RESISTANT HOME
When the Mamaroneck River flooded its banks and inundated the surrounding neighborhood during a fierce spring storm three and a half years ago, an elderly woman and her adult daughter lost their small cottage. Now, thanks to Habitat for Humanity and the J. Taylor Design Group in New Rochelle, the two women not only have a home again in New Rochelle, but a prize-winner at that. The new two-family house is built on concrete piers to withstand floods and hurricane-force winds, and, according to Taylor, looks like “something you might find along a beach or perched beside a lake.” Because the construction largely relied on volunteer labor, the cost for the new home was just $250K.
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A Green Condo
Christina Griffin’s energy-efficient renovation of an 100-year-old, three-story former factory in Hastings features thermal panels and has the ability to harvest and recycle rainwater, among other eco-friendly things. Griffin started her own development company and bought the building and land for $1.3 million. The building now contains two three-bedroom, state-of-the-art condos. The asking price for each is $999K and, sadly, they are still on the market after a year.
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A Modern renovation
Twenty-seven years after Bedford architect Carol Kurth built a modernistic home in Pound Ridge, she was commissioned by its current owners to revisit the residence and work her magic again. Kurth calls the latest iteration of the three-bedroom home the Link House, because it links current trends in architecture with its original mid-century modern aesthetic. This time around, Kurth added a guest suite and a large music room. The cost: about $400K.
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Mockler Taylor Architects in Greenwich, Connecticut, took a mid-century modern house in Harrison, which had been converted to a shingle-style house in the 1990s, back to its roots. For about $2.5 million, Sean Taylor and his wife, Lisa Mockler Taylor, added another 4,800 square feet of open, multifunctional space. The Harrison project seems to represent a renewed appreciation for the mid-century modern aesthetic. Think Philip Johnson and his famous Glass House.
Who's Building Now?
Financing is impossible. Forget about mortgages and loans. But that hasn’t stopped SFC – the Yonkers downtown developers (the “C” stands for Cappelli, as in Louis Cappelli, the man responsible for the Ritz and Trump Towers, among others) – for coming out of a recession-induced semi-retirement to work on a small project near Getty Square. Fleet Mill Street, an offshoot of SFC, has a $10.5 million project on the drawing board to reconstruct the former home of the Yonkers Public Library for retail and residential use.
The top two floors will have up to 16 live-work rental lofts, and the street level will contain storefronts.
And in Port Chester, Frank Boccanfuso, the managing partner for FMB Asset Management and Phoenix Capital Partners, has broken ground on two luxury rental projects near the Byram River. While these are rentals, that doesn’t rule out converting them at a later date to ownership units, the developer says.
One project, the Mariner, with 100 rental units and 25 boat slips, will rent units for $1,800 to $2,900 a month. The other site, The Castle, close to the train station, will rent units for $1,600 to $2,600 a month.