America's best new homes: Architects reveal the finest houses built in 2012 (and one even comes with a living room IN a forest)
The American Institute of Architects announced the winners of the 2013 AIA/HUD Secretary Housing Award with the top prize going to a contemporary-styled home in Orca Islands, Washington State.
At the request of the artist owner Marie Gladwish, who also happens to be the mother of architect Gary Gladwish, the home utilizes its natural backdrop and even comes with a living room in the woods.
The two other top contenders also made the most of their natural surroundings in California and Colorado and both have pools that can be used year-round.
Not your typical living room: this one is located in a forest
Architect Gary Gladwish designed the home for his artist mother and preserved the extraordinary views
A sliding panel door separates the outside from the inside
The hilltop location offers incredible views of the Canadian Gulf Islands
The home, which tops at 2,600 square feet, also has a combined kitchen-dining area, a master suite, study and art studio. A garden bisects the house and creates two 'zones' with optimal views of the outside scenery.
The hilly locale means that beyond the forest filled with madrone trees and firs anyone in the home can see all the way to the Canadian Gulf Islands.
The house was constructed with energy-efficiency and conservation in mind. Some of the materials used to build the home actually came from a 100-year-old barn in eastern Washington. Moss and rocks discovered at the construction site were also utilized towards the home.
The voting body of the American Institute of Architects seemed quite impressed with Eagle Ridge.
Said one member of the jury, 'This is such a Zen house — it does so much with so little, and it responds to the client’s wishes.'
LED and compact fluorescent lights are used throughout the home
Careful not to spill anything: like the rest of the home the kitchen is modern and energy efficient
The voting body for the American Institute of Architects appreciated the 'Zen-like' quality of the home
The second-place home known as Halls Ridge Knoll is on a site formerly a cattle ranch and now a prime vacation retreat in the Santa Lucia Preserve.
Stone, timber and glass were all used for home that overlooks the San Clemente Mountains.
Perhaps the most unique feature to the home the sliding doors which open out onto a wood-paneled deck. Because of California's unique weather, the outdoor pool is also a solid year-round feature.
Care for a dip? Though the California climate is enviable this is a heated pool
Much of the wood used for this deck was salvaged from a nearby barn
The home provides astonishing views of the San Clemente Mountains
In third place is a 2,850 square foot home in Colorado that features three bedrooms, a dining room and a kitchen area that overlook the Rocky Mountains.
A solar thermal system operates the pool, spa and outdoor area which has a fireplace and a retractable movie screen.
The smart house with its high array of sensors is over thirty percent more energy efficient than comparable homes nearby.
The unique roofing structure has the home blending in to the scenery
Smart programming sensors keep the home energy efficient
An outdoor fireplace accommodates many of those chilly Rocky Mountain nights
The heated pool has views of the surrounding mountain terrain
Photographing the American Dream: Stunning snaps voted the best construction shots of 2012
The world of engineering may seem an unlikely source of beautiful photography, but here's the proof that it is. These are some of the shots that were voted as the best construction pictures of 2012. Engineering News-Record magazine organized the annual Year in Construction Photo Contest and reviewed 1,564 entries. The winners below include snaps from beaches in California, demolition in Michigan and renewable energy in Alaska. But the commended photos weren't restricted to the U.S. Also featured are workers slumbering in the Philippines, a Turkish welder with 'flame hair' and incredible cityscapes from further afield.
Misty: Martin Chandrawinata snapped this photo at the Bay Bridge, California. He told Engineering News-Record: 'When I reached the office, I noticed how foggy it was, so I went to the field, up to the tower top and shot this worker on a catwalk.'
Damp: Katherine Du Tiel took this photo in at the New Irvington Tunnel in California. 'It's pretty wet down there,' she says
Success: Joe Ebertsch, an assistant project manager for Michels Wind Energy, took this photo at the end of a day where two turbines were erected Eva Creek Wind Farm in Ferry, Alaska
Fireworks: Architectural photographer Henrik Kam captured these flying sparks during construction of the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco
Razed: Stephen SetteDucati climbed onto the ledge of a building overlooking demolition yards in Pontiac, Michigan, to get this shot
Pipe: Katherine Du Tiel got this photo at the San Joaquin Pipeline System in California. She said the pipe that was being replaced was 'lining up against the landscape as far as you could see.'
Color: Freelance photographer, Will Austin, recorded this image of a welder inside 48-in.-dia. pipe
Repair: Stephen SetteDucati snapped this worker mending the six-inch teeth on this concrete pulverizer at a former GM stamping plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan
'Commercial Comeback': Zaheer Karim photographed the cityscape of Dubai's Business Bay and downtown. Karim sees the towers emerging from the fog as a symbol of Dubai's recovery from the 2008-2011 real-estate downturn
Water storage: Robin Scheswohl photographs pump stations and reservoirs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. This cistern was built in 1910, following the 1906 earthquake, as part of a supplemental source of water for the fire department
Perspective: Gilbert Vega, a senior CADD designer, shot this freeway construction in California. 'I wanted the scrapers as both mid- and background elements, Vega told Engineering News-Record.
Rest: Workers take a break despite humid 90-degree heat at an industrial development in Tanauan, Batangas, Philippines
'Welder': Photographer Batuhan Salihoglu said he was captivated by this worker's 'flame hair' at the Boyabat Dam and Powerplant, Sinop Province, Turkey
Difficult: David Lloyd had to time this shot perfectly San Diego Regional Beach Sand Project in California. Lloyd took this aerial shot from a plane and had to get the pilot dip the wing to shoot it
Blue: Nicky Almasy captured Shanghai's three tallest buildings. 'It was very bad rainy weather, and I used the blue after-effect later,' he said
Sunset: David Lloyd says that this picture was one of his favorite photos from a shoot at San Diego Regional Beach Sand Project