The eyes have it: These new Vermont buildings snagged top architectural honors in 2021 – Burlington Free Press

Ten newly completed buildings in Vermont — ranging from a tiny home to a sprawling, former oven factory — were honored this month for excellence by the American Institute of Architects.

All of the 2021 winners displayed an “extraordinary level of competence,” according to an announcement from the institute’s Vermont chapter.

Judged by an Oregon-based panel of architects, this year’s contest recognized eye-catching designs, as well as how structures relate to natural and municipal landscapes.

The more conspicuous winners:

Burlington — The Hula project in the city’s South End transformed the old Blodgett Ovens factory into a tech and co-working campus along Lake Champlain. Heated and cooled with a geothermal system, the large buildings have been transformed, inside and out. Architect: SAS Architects. Builder: HP Cummings.

Montpelier — The institute’s top honors went to a new building that houses 30 low-income apartments, as well as a bus transit center (and possibly a future rail station). Designed by gbA Architecture and built by DEW Construction.

South BurlingtonSoBu’s new City Hall and public library, which includes an auditorium, senior center and gallery space. Architect: Wiemann Lamphere. Builder: Engelberth Construction.

Other buildings honored for excellence by the institute this year:

Barre — A very small, single-family home designed for a person emerging from homelessness. Architect: Norwich School of Architecture. Builder: Norwich University Design + Build Collaborative.

Burlington — Four-bedroom residence at South Willard and Cliff streets in the city’s Hill Section. Modern and cantilevered, the project includes a sound studio. Designer: James Turrell. Architect/Builder: Birdseye

Fayston — A new home (“The Elemental House”) built on a slope, at the edge of a woodland. Liz Herrmann Architecture and Design. Builder: Red House Building.

Middlebury — Meeting house for a Unitarian congregation; designed to be inspiring, but not in a traditional “religious” way. Architect: gbA Architecture. Builder: Mill Bridge Construction.

North Bennington: Historic preservation and renovation of an 1850s writer’s house on Prospect Street. Spiffed up with a new addition and up-to-date heating and cooling. Architects: Centerline Architects + Planners. Builder: Bennington Builders.

North Ferrisburgh — “Stoneledge Shed,” a getaway and remote workspace. Designed to be easily transported. Architect: Joan Heaton Architects. Builder: Silver Maple Construction.

Putney —  Built for an aging-in-place client, the “Sugar Bush House” was designed to be low-maintenance. Architect: Robert Swinburne. Builder: Mindel & Morse Builders.

More information about the buildings can be found at the American Institute of Architects’ Vermont website:


Reporter Joel Banner Baird can be reached at