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2021 Phius Passive Design Competition

From colorful exteriors to warm, wooden walls, the results for the 2021 Passive Design Competition are inspiring.

The PHIUS design competition recognized the winners at the annual Design Awards ceremony during PhiusCon 2021 in Tarrytown, New York. Now in its seventh year, this juried competition recognizes exemplary passive building projects of all types and climate zones.

This year's volunteer judges were Cynthia Suarez Harris, Tim McDonald, Michelle Tinner, John Woelfing, Michael Ingui, Michelle Apigian, and Katrin Klingenberg. The awards ceremony was hosted by Karan Gupta and Michelle Apigian.

The competition awarded winner and honorable mention designations in the following categories: Single-Family, Multifamily, Affordable, Commercial/Institutional, Retrofit Commercial/Institutional, School, and Source Zero. Winners of Best Overall Project and Best Project by a Young Professional (Under 35) were also recognized.

Competition entries were judged on their strength in the following categories: energy performance, design, craftsmanship, use of healthy materials, level of difficulty for the given climate and site, and cost effectiveness of the affordable projects.

This year's winners are:

Best Overall Project (Tie) & Multifamily Winner: Solis

The design team behind Solis set out to use passive house design principles at scale, on a market-rate development, and with straightforward strategies others could emulate.

The design team paired passive house design strategies with innovative details specific to its mid-rise construction type and regional subcontractor expertise. The results are a highly successful PHIUS-certified building that uses 50% less energy than the US multifamily baseline and scores a perfect Energy Star 100, for a mere 5% construction cost premium.

The sophisticated building design features a screened “jewelbox” entry court that creates a welcoming residential lobby and a striking corner indoor/outdoor restaurant space. A dramatic exterior stairway leads to an extensively landscaped roof deck with panoramic views of downtown Seattle and Mt. Rainier. A powerful mural on the north party wall celebrates the neighborhood’s artistic roots.

CPHC: Dan Luddy

Builder: Cascade Built

Architect: Weber Thompson

QA/QC Rater: Evergreen Certified

Owner: SolTerra

Best Overall Project (Tie) & Multifamily Honorable Mention & Affordable Winner: McQuesten Lofts

In a busy commercial corridor in east Hamilton, Ontario, the McQuesten Lofts had several major goals: to address the city’s rising housing affordability crisis, to be a step toward reconciliation, to contribute to the streetscape, and to provide a new public library branch for the neighborhood.

The garden between the buildings serves as a natural oasis on a busy urban corridor. There was a particular attention to the landscaping of the building. Using native plants and indigenous garden themes, the gardens serve as a sheltered oasis on a busy corridor. Some of these elements include a “trail marker” tree and a central fire. The development is proud to be the largest PHIUS-certified project in Canada.

CPHC: Greg Leskien, Zon Engineering Inc.

Builder: Schilthuis Construction Inc.

Architect: Invizij Architects Inc.

QA/QC Rater: Stephen Magneron, Homesol Building Solutions

Owner: Indwell

Best Project by a Young Professional (35 or under): Olive Passive House

CPHC: Owen O’Connor

Builder: Threshold Builders

Architect: DEMO Architects

QA/QC Rater: Troy Hodas

Owner: Alessandro Ronfini

Single-Family Winner: Gallatin Passive House

CPHC: Stephanie Bassler and John Loercher

Builder: North River Design Build LLC

Architect: North River Architecture & Planning, PC

QA/QC Rater: Tony Lisanti

Single-Family Honorable Mention: Ames Hill Passive

CPHC: Chris Miksic of Montpelier Construction

Builder: Mathes Hulme Builders

Architect: Andrew Webster of studio WEBSTER

QA/QC Rater: Karen Bushey, AIA, CPHC of Efficiency Vermont

Owner: Elisa DiFeo & David Eichelberger

Affordable Honorable Mention: 2126 Mapes Avenue

CPHC: Thomas Moore

Builder: C&S Construction & Consulting Group

Architect: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

QA/QC Rater: Michael O’Donnel

Owner: Bronx Pro

Commercial/Institutional Winner: Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery

CPHC: James Hartford, Karl Hansen, Adriana Rombaldi

Builder: Baxter

Architect: River Architects, PLLC

QA/QC Rater: Tony Lisanti

Owner: Douglas Doetsch and Susan Manning

Commercial/Institutional Honorable Mention: Techny Prairie Activity Center

CPHC: Zhongdi Chen/Wight & Company

Builder: Corporate Construction Services, LLC

Architect: Wight & Company

QA/QC Rater: Lindsey Elton/ECO Achievers

Owner: Northbrook Park District

Source Zero Winner: Fortin Residence

CPHC: James Mustillo

Builder: GO Logic LLC

Architect: GO Logic LLC

QA/QC Rater: Bob Tortorici

Owner: Matt and Jenn Fortin

Carroll Center Renovation and Addition

CPHC: Tom Bassett-Dilley, CPHC, AIA, NCARB

Builder: TBDA Construction Manager with Park District of Oak Park

Architect: Tom Bassett-Dilley, CPHC, AIA, NCARB

QA/QC Rater: EcoAchievers

Owner: Park District of Oak Park

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