March 28, 2013 02:47 PM

Now in their 9th year, IND Monthly's INDesign Awards continue to recognize excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation/restoration throughout Acadiana.

This year our judges bestowed the highest honor, INDesign Gold, on only two projects. For the first time, we separated the residential and commercial awards between our two monthly publications. The commercial awards will appear in the April-May issue of ABiz. The awards are presented each spring at the annual Smart Growth Lecture. This year's lecture, featuring keynote speaker Nathan Norris, the Downtown Development Authority's new executive director, will be held Friday, April 19 at the Petroleum Club in connection with INNOV8 Lafayette 2013. A group of licensed faculty members from UL's School of Architecture and Design, represented by Associate Professor of Architecture Corey Saft and instructor Ashlie Latiolais, judged this year's entries. 

Green homes take the 2013 INDesign gold and silver awards
By Patrick Flanagan

Photos by Robin May

First came BeauSoleil in 2008, the award-winning solar-powered home designed by grad students in UL's architecture program. Now comes Event House, a Gold winner in residential architecture for our 9th annual INDesign Awards, and Next House, this year's INDesign silver recipient for architecture.

The BeauSoleil project has since evolved, resulting in construction of two similar homes, and a third in the making, says UL architecture professor Geoff Gjertson, a co-director for the university's Building Institute.

Event House and Next House are a result of BeauSoleil's success, which led to the forging of a partnership between the university and the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority.

"We talked to John Arceneaux of LPTFA, and came up with the idea to build a house every year," Gjertson tells IND Monthly. "They agreed to finance and provide a no-interest loan every year, then my grad students would design and build a house in the community, and we'd sell that house to repay the loan."

Event House is a 1,350-square-foot green home on the corner of Madison and Olivier streets in downtown, representing the first newly built single-family home in the area in about 20 years. The home, which was completed in the spring of 2012 and is now owned by Kirk Warner, generates an average monthly energy bill of about $65.

Gjertson says it didn't take long to find a buyer for the 1,300-square-foot Next House, becoming the home of Katherine Landers following its completion last fall.

Gjertson adds that, in addition to revitalizing Lafayette's older neighborhoods, the program has also been effective as a tool for educating the community on green living.

"We're providing good examples of affordable and sustainable housing to the community, and not only are these homes attractive looking, but they are greener than the average home," says Gjertson. "We do work

with local contractors, so our students aren't doing everything but are working alongside

 Geoff Gjertson

contractors in the field, from electricians to framers, so it also helps educate the local industry as well, [those] who aren't as experienced in green building."

Next up for the program, says Gjertson, is Cour House, a 1,493-square-foot home also located on Jackson Street, which is expected to be completed in the fall.

"We're still looking for property, too," adds Gjertson. "We don't have a preference on any one neighborhood but would love it to be in any area near the university or downtown since it encourages people to walk and live more sustainably."

INDesign INNOV8ation Award: Beausoleil House

This year, as IND Monthly's INDesign Awards join forces with INNOV8 Lafayette, we are bestowing a special honor upon Beausoleil House. Called The INDesign INNOV8tion Award, it was created to both commemorate our new collaboration with the Greater Lafayette Chamber's initiative and to encourage local architects and interior designers to explore such possibilities in future projects. Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, Beausoleil House certainly embodies the spirit of the award in a bold way. There may not be entries in this category every year, and they may not all be as groundbreaking as our inaugural winner, but we hope for a prolific response from the local design community beginning next year.