Masters at their Craft

For more than 44 years, the Gold Nuggets Awards have honored the best and brightest in the building industry for their achievements in architectural design and land-use planning.

Over the years, CBIA members have proven their prowess among those in the industry, consistently taking top honors. This year is no exception.

During an awards ceremony on May 31 in San Francisco, no fewer than 79 CBIA members were honored with a grand, merit, or community spirit award. Following are the Grand Award-winning entries designed, built, or developed by CBIA members.


Best Single-Family Detached Home –
under 1,700 sq. ft. (compact lot)

Esperanza at Spanish Walk (Residence 1)
Palm Desert
Builder/Developer: Taylor Woodrow Homes

In the Judges’ Words: This 1,641 square-foot, Spanish-inspired, compact lot home lives large and takes advantage of outdoor spaces with a side courtyard that maximizes the living area. It was clear to the judges that the home’s planners had left nothing out. Of particular appeal was the carport parking included for the granny flat above the garage. Well done!

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
under 2,300 sq. ft. (small lot)

Arabella (Plan 2)
San Diego
Builder/Developer: Pardee Homes
Architect: JZMK Partners

In the Judges’ Words: With references to historic California architecture, the warm colors and natural stone materials are at home in this coastal ranch land setting. The rear placement of the garage allows the living space to borrow from the adjacent drive and expands the feel of this floor plan. The large open living space maximizes the usable space in this 2,056 square-foot plan.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
2,300 sq. ft. and over (small lot)

Acacia (Plan 2)
Mountain House
Builder/Developer: Centex Homes
Architect: Dahlin Group Architecture Planning

In the Judges’ Words: This tidy, alley-loaded 2,866 square-foot plan gets exceptional mileage out of a small lot, using well-glazed volume spaces and a side courtyard to bring natural light inside. Further value is achieved with a detached flat above the garage that provides private space for a boomerang child, active-adult parent, or studio. All that, and it’s charming. With its quaint roof dormers and welcoming porch, this house respects the vocabulary and scale of what’s nearby, and fits right in.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
under 2,600 sq. ft.
Club Village (San Donato Plan)
Superstition Mountain, AZ
Architect : BBG Architects

In the Judges’ Words: A fresh approach to grouped or clustered housing, this 2,480 square-foot plan “breaks the box” creating a stronger relationship to the site and context. By separating the guest casita, the judges felt the courtyard and covered loggia offered elegant outdoor living environment unique to smaller homes. In addition, the plan designs a great room that receives more light and golf view opportunities. Strong detailing and craftsmanship on the interiors support the conclusion that this home deserves its recognition.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
2,601 to 3,000 sq. ft.

La Cantera (Residence 4)
La Quinta
Architect: South Coast Architects

In the Judges’ Words: The judges felt this 2,931 square-foot home’s simple, bold forms and refined level of detail were especially evocative of California’s Andalusian fantasy past. The informal yet gracious plan is eminently livable for a family, but suggests wonderful weekends with visitors and guests. Perfectly suited to its desert location, all living spaces are open to views and a variety of sheltered outdoor spaces. Among these, the skydeck – a second-story patio above the casita, replete with an outdoor fireplace, bar, and adjacent game room – struck the judges as an ideal location for cocktails under the stars.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
3,001 to 3,300 sq. ft.

The Enclave at Sunrise (Plan 4)
Palm Springs
Developer: Bayshore Development
Company, LLC
Architect: McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners

In the Judges’ Words: This 3,076 square-foot, single-story home sets a fine example for the different varieties of desert lifestyle. The home is modest and straightforward in plan, yet surprisingly sophisticated in exterior design. The judges applauded the use of the front yard as private outdoor space, as well as how all rooms relate to the outdoors. A welcome restraint on the exteriors shows how massing and proportion can achieve success without the over-indulgence of applied decoration.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
3,601 to 4,000 sq. ft.

The Province (Residence 4)
Indian Wells
Builder/Developer: Standard Pacific
of Orange County
Architect: Bassenian/Lagoni Architects

In the Judges’ Words: The strength of this 3,585 square-foot Spanish-style home is its masterful composition of scale, proportion, and restraint. The use of a courtyard and logia allow all rooms to connect with the outdoors. Arches within the public areas of the house allow the definition of specific areas without enclosing them. The judges recognize the outstanding execution of the Spanish style that enhances a well-crafted plan. Less is more in this jewel of the desert.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
4,001 to 4,500 sq. ft.

Atrium at EastLake Vistas (Residence 3)
Chula Vista
Builder/Developer: Davidson Communities

In the Judges’ Words: The judges admired how this straight-forward 4,258 square-foot floor plan still captures one’s imagination. This simple U-shaped home comes to life with the addition of a second floor “bridge” connecting the upper two floor wings. In addition, the bridge helped create the front entry for the home as well as forming a wonderful exterior courtyard. All the elements are here for a solid family home without forcing the issue. Strong craftsmanship at a reasonable price makes the home a winner.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
4,501 to 5,000 sq. ft.

Roubion (Residence 1)
San Ramon
Builder/Developer: John Laing Homes
Architect: Hunt Hale Jones Architects

In the Judges’ Words: This is an excellent example of home and site as one. The exterior features of the home provide for terrific opportunities entertaining in the front courtyard and rear yard while enjoying the scenic surrounding bay area rolling hillside. The 4,267 square-foot floor plan is expansive with gracious functionality for a more casual living, growing, and entertaining experience.

Best Single-Family Detached Home –
over 5,000 sq. ft.

SeaCrest (White Residence)
Newport Beach
Builder/Developer: Laing Luxury Homes
Architect of Record: Ritner Group

In the Judges’ Words: Luxury ideals have changed, as evidenced in this relaxed 5,835 square-foot home that trades showy volume spaces for a more human-scaled form of luxury. An organic palette of natural materials (stone, brick, and wood) is used consistently inside and out, creating a lovely dialogue between the plan’s interior spaces and its ample loggias, patios, and courtyards. The pacing of the architecture is inspired, and the craftsmanship is exquisite.


Attached Suburban Residential Project of the Year
Sky Terrace
Denver, CO
Architect: Woodley Architectural Group

In the Judges’ Words: A far cry from your run-of-the-mill brick row homes (skinny and dim, with no outdoor spaces to speak of) these contemporary townhomes are filled with light, offering dramatic volume spaces and private outdoor retreats seldom seen in attached dwellings. Even non-end units include multiple private outdoor retreats, thanks to shortened party walls that make way for interior courtyards, and a staggered building plan that creates niches for front patios. Each residence also enjoys a rooftop terrace, and an alley-loaded, two-car garage. This is infill at its finest, and a prototype for making density more livable.

Best Attached Housing Project –
18 to 40 du/acre

Park Town Place
Builder/Developer: Regis Homes
of Northern California

In the Judges’ Words: The judges were all in agreement in their decision to give top honors to this project, as it exemplifies a building solution for a complex and compact site while respecting and embracing a significant historical reference. Numerous design elements reflect an architectural charm of the neighboring brick warehousing. With unique walk-up entries to each unit, virtually all the residences have excellent natural daylight and ventilation, with views of either silhouetted hills or the quaint village town of Campbell.


Best Public/Private Special Use Facility
Fireside at Norterra
Phoenix, AZ
Developer: Pulte Homes

In the Judges’ Words: Community buildings should energize and become focal points for their surroundings, and this project succeeds in doing just that. The buildings and site amenities work together to create a variety of choices for all residents. Expert craftsmanship reinforces the project by using a variety of natural materials such as steel, concrete, wood, and stone. All sides and elevations of the project reach out into the desert landscape and help this community gathering compound integrate into its surroundings.

Best Office/Professional Building
CI Design
Architect: LPA

In the Judges’ Words: This project represents a textbook example of good design. Careful consideration was given to the client’s needs, as well as site and building type issues. The solution elegantly responded to all three with purposeful design and well-crafted details. This project offers proof that even the simplest of building forms can achieve design excellence if thoughtfully executed.

Best Mixed-Use Project
Mission Creek Community
San Francisco
Developer: Mercy Housing California

In the Judges’ Words: A stunning example of mixed-use development in an evolving section of San Francisco. On the site of a former rail yard, the project provides dignified housing for extremely low-income seniors, the civic functions of a branch public library and public meeting spaces, street-level retail, and rooftop gardens. Between the project’s exterior color palette, its elegant massing, commitment to sustainability, and humane civic-mindedness, the judges felt this was truly an extraordinary contribution to the quality of urban life in San Francisco.

Best Live/Work Project
Santiago Street Lofts
Santa Ana
Builder/Developer: Lennar Communities
Architect/Planner: William
Hezmalhalch Architects

In the Judges’ Words: This innovative live/work neighborhood put a front door business look to the perimeter of the site and kept a residential feel to the interior. The adjacent Santa Ana Train Station, park, retail, and cultural amenities support this land-use type. The judges also felt the center plaza and decorative hardscape in the residential auto courts added greatly in revitalizing this emerging area of the city. The bold use of materials, colors, and building fenestration were to be commended.

Best Custom Home – under 5,000 sq. ft.
Chestnut Residence
Newport Beach
Architect/Planner: LPA

In the Judges’ Words: The most fully realized custom home in its category, this house balances innovative energy systems, daylighting, and material selections with a refined and comfortable sense of home. The technology, including a 5.3-kilowatt photovoltaic system that provides virtually all of the home’s energy needs, never intrudes on the home’s aesthetics. With a wonderful relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, the judges felt the home was a showcase for seamless integration of sustainability and luxurious livability.

Best Custom Home – over 10,000 sq. ft.
Gretzky Residence
Los Angeles
Builder: Sherwood Development

In the Judges’ Words: Epitomizing grand style, this Georgian estate stands proud with its custom brickwork, elegant columns, and manicured gardens. Interiors are equally faithful to a traditional vernacular with the home’s ornate molding and dramatic archways. Classical in both detailing and proportion, the home and its grounds are organized along two perpendicular axes. From this nexis flows an ordered hierarchy that is both disciplined and graceful. Thomas Jefferson would no doubt approve.

Best Affordable Project – under 30 du/acre
College Vista
San Mateo
Architect/Planner: KTGY Group

In the Judges’ Words: Providing affordable housing for a workforce is never easy, and looking after the needs of faculty is another important task of this category of development. By nestling these homes into a gradual hillside, this attractive project crafted a successful community of homes that could attract teachers. Also, offering faculty the opportunity to eventually purchase these units gives them greater incentive to stay. This is another idea that could be repeated in other markets.

Best Low-Rise Apartment Project –
up to 3 stories

Woodbury Place
Developer: The Irvine Company

In the Judges’ Words: A superb example of pocket density that feels great. Undulating rooflines and picturesque walkways give this intimate apartment enclave a village sensibility. Spanish Colonial details – deep-set windows, decorative vents, and cast stone entry surrounds – are executed with a light touch and are apropos to the area’s history and climate. Wrought-iron gates and balconies overlooking common areas facilitate a gentle progression from public to private realms. The bonus? Two-car garages offer direct access to each unit.

Best Neighborhood Site Plan –
up to 20 acres

Celadon at Riverpark
Builder/Developer: Standard Pacific Homes
Architect/Planner: William Hezmalhalch Architects

In the Judges’ Words: Alley-loaded, five- and six-unit clusters of interlocking lots successfully form a great neighborhood environment characterized by an active streetscape, secure yards and private courts, varying setbacks, and great architectural variety. Even the alley exhibits a high degree of refinement and building articulation. A range of architectural options – ground-floor shops, storage, social spaces, and second story living spaces above garages – appeal to shared ownership and multi-generational families. No other submission in this category exhibited the same degree of creative possibility.

Best Community Site Plan
Seabridge Marina
Builder/Developer: D.R. Horton
Architect/Planner: McLarand Vasquez
Emsiek & Partners

In the Judges’ Words: The design of this mixed-use community was a clear winner with the judges. The waterfront could have become a barrio dividing the community, but became a unifying element with bridges, waterfront pathways, extensive parks and beaches, and a 247 slip marina. The commercial waterfront included live/work units, retail commercial, a neighborhood market, public amphitheatre, restaurants, townhomes, flats, and 274 single-family homes with almost half having a private dock. This is a very walkable community to most of the daily needs, with a California coastal lifestyle.

Best on the Boards Site Plan
Orchard Hills
Developer/Planner: The Irvine Company

In the Judges’ Words: This plan respects the historical agricultural history of Irvine by saving the operating avocado groves, wind rows, natural hillside topography, and riparian riverian drainage ways. The high school and elementary schools form a strong base for a family community in which children can walk or ride a bike to school. The extensive open space trail system is complemented by recreational amenities that are surrounded by natural open spaces in each neighborhood. The use of neighborhood parks surrounded by roads was also recognized by the judges as a time-tested design that builds great social interaction. Finally, the community commercial shopping center is connected via walking trails to neighborhoods.