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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Lightbox Honored with 2017 AIA Small Project Award

Lightbox Residence, designed by BCJ, is one of seven projects recently honored by the American Institute of Architects with a Small Project Award.

The annual awards program, now in its 14th year, was established to recognize small-project practitioners for the high quality of their work and to promote excellence in small-project design.

Award recipients are recognized in two categories:
1) small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000 in construction cost, and 2)small project construction up to $1,500,000 in construction cost. The program strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to projects, no matter the limits of size and scope.

Lightbox, recognized in the awards program’s second category, is designed as a home and studio for a photographer and his young family. It is located on a densely-forested site on a peninsula that extends south from British Columbia across the border to Point Roberts, Washington. A south facing two-story glassy cage, which functions as the family’s living space, captures the sun and celebrates the interplay of light and shadow in the surrounding forest. To the north, stairs are contained in a thin, black-stained wooden box with narrow apertures.

The home was made decidedly modest, in size and means, with a building skin utilizing simple materials in a straightforward, yet innovative configuration. The result is a structure crafted from common, affordable materials, such as exposed wood two-bys, that form the home’s structural frame and directly support a prefabricated aluminum window system of standard glazing units uniformly sized to reduce complexity and overall cost.

‘It’s been a lifelong interest to generate modernism on a budget,’ says Robert Miller, design principal from BCJ’s Seattle office. ‘The house is a careful balance of elegant proportions and scale. The luxury, if you call it that, is not in layers of marble but in being immersed in the forest.’

The jury for the 2017 AIA Small Project Awards includes: Jean Dufresne, AIA (Chair), Space Architects + Planners; Richard Fernau, FAIA, Fernau + Hartman; Joyce Hwang, AIA, Ants of the Prairie; Jack Travis, FAIA, Jack Travis FAIA Architect; Kulapat Yantrasastw, HY Los Angeles. Visit to learn more about this year’s Small Project Award winners.