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8 Gold and Platinum multifamily projects from the NAHB's BALA Awards

Multifamily Housing

8 Gold and Platinum multifamily projects from the NAHB's BALA Awards

The NAHB's 2022 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) highlights projects from around the country, and these multifamily developments were deemed the best of the best.

By Quinn Purcell, Managing Editor | February 11, 2023
The Q Topanga "Jewel Box" corner view from the street
This mixed-use project is built on a previously underperforming commercial site and provides the area with a mix of market-rate units in addition to short-term “hotel” units, creative office, and restaurant/café spaces. Pictured: The Q Topanga. Photo credit: Juan Tallo Photography

The National Association of Home Builders' 2022 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) highlights projects from around the country in both mutifamily and single-family markets. This year's top multifamily winners showcase leading design trends, judged by eight industry professionals—including builders, architects, designers, and land planners.

Below are eight of the highest awarded projects in the multifamily market (receiving either a Gold or Platinum ranking).

Tustin Legacy Terra

Tustin, Calif.

3 story multifamily development Tustin Legacy Terra
Tustin Legacy Terra street scene. Photo credit Christopher Mayer

Situated in a neighborhood in Tustin, Calif., Terra’s modern collection of elevator-served flats and townhomes at The Landing at Tustin Legacy introduces a harmonious blend of contemporary style and open-concept spaces. Seven function-forward floor plan designs offer 1,062 – 2,275 sf, up to three bedrooms and two baths with interior personalization opportunities, gourmet kitchens, spacious bedrooms, office areas, and decks that connect to the outdoor scene.

By working closely with the city of Tustin throughout the design process, the team focused on emphasizing the new wave of modern architecture within the community. Defined by a neutral color palette, common architectural details and massing create a “village” atmosphere that will be timeless and complementary as it ages.

The dark tone on the base of each building performs as a grounding element to anchor the elevation to the lively street. Pops of texture and a variety of materials create diversity that are complemented by metal elements, varied window patterns and glass railings.

Category: Development up to Three Stories, Built for Sale
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Robert Hidey Architects, Irvine, Calif.
Architect/Designer: Robert Hidey Architects
Builder/Developer: Brookfield Residential
Landscape Architect/Designer: C2 Collaborative
Photographer: Christopher Mayer

Multifamily kitchen and patio modern


1288 Howard

San Francisco, Calif.

1288 Howard development exterior bridge
1288 Howard Street bridges. Photo credit Bernard Andre Photography

1288 Howard Street is a new, mixed-use residential, office, and retail development in the booming Mid-Market area of San Francisco. The focal point of the building is a landscaped, pedestrian alley lined with residences that connects Howard and Natoma Streets.

Located on an acre site, 1288 Howard provides 129 luxury condominium units, 17 onsite inclusionary affordable housing units and 14,000 sf of commercial space. At five stories, the residential units comprise loft/studios, junior studios, conventional one- and two-bedroom flats, and two-bedroom townhouses.

The project includes the construction of two pedestrian bridges that will connect the two buildings at the second floor as well as a pedestrian alley connecting Howard Street to Natoma Alley. The unit types reflect their site location, with townhouses on the alley and loft/studios in the more public Natoma Alley. The façades along Howard and 9th Street reflect the warehouse character of the neighborhood with simple fenestration, minimal residential articulation and a tall first story.

Category: Development Four to Seven Stories, Built for Sale
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Levy Design Partners, San Francisco, Calif.
Architect/Designer: LDP Architecture
Builder: Achill Beg Construction
Developer: Worldco Company
Landscape Architect/Designer: Cliff Lowe Associates
Photographer: Bernard Andre Photography

1288 Howard Street multifamily interior and exterior



Bozeman, Mont.

Penrose Bozeman, Montana three-story complex exterior
Penrose street view. Photo credits Whitney Kamman Photography and Zakara Photography

Nestled in the Gallatin Valley and surrounded by the Bridger, Gallatin and Spanish Peak mountains is Penrose, Montana’s newest modern living experience that seamlessly blends contemporary design and outdoor adventure.

Located in Bozeman’s sought-after southside, Penrose offers views and lifestyle that are inherent to what draws people to live in Bozeman. This location offers convenient access to the area’s best hiking, biking and outdoor amenities, along with being within walking distance to Montana State University.

The 60-unit, three-story development drew on regional inspiration for its design. It took influences from contemporary mountain architecture by using elements such as stone and timber, but also incorporated corrugated galvanized steel as a nod to the area’s agricultural roots.

Residents can enjoy an array of curated amenities, including a luxury lounge with a big-screen TV, co-working spaces and private booths, an outdoor patio with a firepit, lounge seating and bar with grilling stations. Units feature one- and two-bedroom apartment homes in five open floor plan concepts, each outfitted with high-end finishes including Italian cabinetry with quartz countertops, built-in waterfall kitchen islands with bar seating, floating bathroom vanities, walk-in closets, in-unit washer and dryer, and oversized windows that open to private balconies and capture remarkable mountain views.

Category: Development up to Three Stories, For Rent
Award Level: Gold
Entrant: Humphreys & Partners Architects, Dallas, Texas
Architect/Designer: Humphreys & Partners Architects
Builder: Langlas & Associates
Developer: Bridger Builders
Interior Designer: Bridger Land Group
Land Planner: Humphreys & Partners Architects
Landscape Architect/Designer: Cashman Nursery & Landscaping
Marketing Firm: Uncomn Projects
Photographer: Whitney Kamman Photography and Zakara Photography

Penrose, Bozeman, Montana interior design



Seattle, Wash.

People around a modern fireplace in multifamily development
Kirin exterior with view of the Puget Sound. Photo credit Rafael Soldi Photography

This 95-unit mixed-use residential project in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood is designed to celebrate this burgeoning Arts & Cultural District surrounding Lower Queen Anne and Seattle Center. Three vertically clad wooden boxes cantilever dramatically over a brick backdrop, anchoring the building to the site. The pedestrian experience is reinforced by lush landscaping and a glass storefront, with street-level retail spaces designed to house restaurants and cafes.

Kirin includes a sweeping rooftop garden with water and city views, and includes seating for small and larger groups, as well as a fire pit and green roof. A top-floor community amenity space features a full kitchen and living room with a large screen TV, perfect for neighbors to gather and watch the big game. A workout room, mail room and secure bike storage are included on the first floor.

To make the transition from public exterior spaces to private interior spaces more profound while promoting wellbeing, an art installation was designed and integrated into the building lobby. A responsive, contoured lighting element hovers below the ceiling and is visible to passersby. Composed of thousands of translucent fabric panels, it’s lit from above by a fully controllable LED grid.

Category: Development Four to Seven Stories, For Rent
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Johnston Architects, Seattle, Wash.
Architect/Designer: Johnston Architects
Builder: R. Miller Inc
Developer: Hycroft Investment
Green Verifier/Rater Company: Evergreen Certified LLC
Interior Designer/Merchandiser: Robin Chell Design
Land Planner: LPD Engineering, PLLC
Landscape Architect/Designer: Karen Kiest Landscape Architecture
Marketing Firm: Blanton Turner
Photographer: Rafael Soldi Photography

Kirin multifamily development exterior and interior design


The Place at Fifth + Broadway

Nashville, Tenn.

Aerial view of the amenity deck at Fifth + Broadway development
The Place at Fifth + Broadway aerial view of the amenity deck. Photo credit Zack Benson Photography

The Place at Fifth + Broadway is a 34-story residential building at the west end of the Fifth + Broadway development in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The rehabilitated city block replaces the city’s former convention center with state-of-the-art facilities that invigorates downtown Nashville and spotlights the city’s vibrant culture renowned for live music, honky-tonks and nightlife.

The Fifth + Broadway master plan—which includes the residential tower, an office building, retail, restaurants and entertainment components—are organized along an L-shaped internal path that weaves through the city block. Alleys tucked away from the main streets that provide intimate retail and dining experiences are a part of Nashville’s unique streetscape. Fifth + Broadway’s retail corridor recreates this pedestrian-friendly experiences of the city’s narrow alleyways and serves as a key element in the design of the apartment building and a defining theme throughout the development.

The building’s podium is stylishly articulated to complement its historic urban context; its brick-clad exterior conveys a sense of permanence and age. In contrast, the apartment tower’s modern, gray glass volume is designed to stand out as a recognizable feature in the city’s skyline.

Category: Development Eight Stories and Over, For Rent
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Pappageorge Haymes Partners, Chicago, Ill.
Architect/Designer: Pappageorge Haymes Partners / Gresham Smith (Architect of Record)
Builder: Skanska
Developer: Brookfield Properties / Oliver McMillan / Spectrum-Emery
Interior Designer: Jules Wilson Design Studio
Landscape Architect/Designer: Hoerr Schaudt
Photographer: Zack Benson Photography

The Place at Fifth + Broadway 34-story development photos



Atlanta, Ga.

Inspire exterior with downtown Atlanta skyline
Inspire exterior with downtown Atlanta skyline. Photo credit Chad Baumer Photography

Close to the Georgia Tech campus and across from Bobby Dodd stadium, Inspire is a stylish, off-campus housing development filled with all the comforts and conveniences students need for an engaging educational and community experience. The two-building, 239-unit complex offers 750 beds and a four-story podium parking deck with 280 spaces.

Outside of fully furnished apartments, residents have access to a series of layered amenities that follow the natural grade of the site and carry a cascading theme throughout the entire building, culminating with an entire rooftop level of indoor and outdoor amenities with 360-degree views of Atlanta. The imaginative façade features a pattern of glass and masonry that’s distinctive yet in keeping with nearby architecture, which includes the North Ave Apartments (aka Olympic Village) that was designed for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Completed in August 2021, Inspire Atlanta has been wildly popular and offers all the luxurious accommodations and stunning views a student could want. Being able to provide a project at an advantageous location to campus, coupled with the common areas on the ground floor, rooftop and all levels in between truly makes Inspire an amenity-rich community that fosters a setting for students to create their own lasting memories.

Category: Student Housing
Award Level: Gold
Entrant: Niles Bolton Associates, Atlanta, Ga.
Architect/Designer/Interior: Niles Bolton Associates
Builder: Hoar Construction
Developer: Capstone Collegiate Communities
Land Planner: Niles Bolton Associates
Landscape Architect/Designer: Lorberbaum McNair & Associates
Photographer: Chad Baumer Photography and Luker Photography

Inspire Atlanta resident amenities, pool and game room


9th Avenue North (The Chorus)

Nashville, Tenn.

9th Avenue North front elevation view
9th Avenue North front elevation concept view. Render courtesy Walter Hughes, Chief Innovation Officer, Humphreys & Partners

Situated on .54 acres in the lively town of Nashville will be 9th Avenue North—a three-story micro-unit studio community featuring 57 short-term rental apartments with surface parking. Conveniently located off interstate Highway 65, residents will have direct access to major roadways providing a short commute to some of Nashville’s major employers.

Located in the southern sector of the Buena Vista district, residents are within walking distance to grocery stores, award-winning dining options, parks, music venues, entertainment centers, and downtown Nashville’s lively nightlife. Serving young professionals and executives seeking short-term leases, this unique property offers residents ultra-efficient living spaces with five studio floor plans ranging from 378 – 433 sf.

Paying tribute to the industrial aesthetic of the historic Buena Vista district, the building is outfitted with brick and steel architecture providing an ultra-urban feel with sleek interior finishes and open living concepts. Each unit includes a private exterior balcony, an in-unit washer and dryer, and stainless steel appliances. The wood-framed E-stack community includes more than 1,000 sf of amenity space including a multifunctional clubhouse, bike storage, and leasing office.

Category: On-the-Boards Multifamily Project
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Humphreys & Partners Architects, Dallas, Texas
Architect/Designer: Humphreys & Partners Architects
Builder: ZMX, Inc.
Developer: M Cubed Developments
Interior Designer: HPA Design Group
Land Planner: Humphreys & Partners Architects
Landscape Architect/Designer: Thomas & Hutton
Renderings: Walter Hughes, Maria Ines Morato, and Gabriel Cabrera

Interior apartment unit featuring efficient kitchen and living room space


The Q Topanga

Woodland Hills, Calif.

The Q Topanga mixed-use community street view
The Q Topanga mixed-use community street view. Photo credit Juan Tallo Photography

This 347-unit luxury, mixed-use hospitality-oriented development was designed to fulfill the spirit of the Warner Center Specific Plan. It fronts Topanga Canyon Boulevard, directly across from Village at Westfield Topanga shopping mall, with approximately 19,924 sf of restaurants and office spaces.

Residents enjoy a full complement of amenities, including resort-style pool, courtyards, rooftop deck, and outdoor movie theater with lawn seating. Other amenities include 2,673 sf of indoor-outdoor club/lounge areas, game room, gourmet teaching kitchen, and a 7,500-sf fitness/yoga studio. The project is built on a previously underperforming commercial site and provides the area with a mix of market-rate units in addition to short-term “hotel” units, creative office, and restaurant/café spaces to complement the surrounding community.

The development’s primary challenge was the site soils quality, limiting the building height and therefore the potential for maximizing the residential unit count. This challenge was overcome by the implementation of a hybrid podium construction typology, which allowed for an additional level to be constructed above the otherwise maximum building code specified height. This allowed for the residential component to be maximized, meet the project program and satisfy the commercial requirements at the ground level, adjacent to the public streets.

Category: Mixed-Use Community, Multifamily
Award Level: Platinum
Entrant: Newman Garrison & Partners, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Architect/Designer: Newman Garrison + Partners
Builder/Developer: California Home Builders
Interior Designer: CDC Designs
Land Planner: Newman Garrison + Partners
Landscape Architect/Designer: EPT Designs
Photographer: Juan Tallo Photography

Mixed-use community amenities


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