Introducing higher density to an established Houston neighborhood of single-family homes was a gutsy move. But this 144-unit upscale loft project was an instant hit with professional singles and couples craving the option to lock-and-leave. The four-story building adds a contemporary vibe to an otherwise classic block and does it diplomatically with handsome exterior detailing and a respectful, four-story scale.

Blending a new housing type into old-growth territory wasn't the only hurdle for Looney Ricks Kiss Architects and Gables Construction. The infill site backed up to two other properties, meaning views were restricted in two directions. The solution: All units are oriented toward two internal courtyards and/or the building's two frontal streets, with open floor plans and ample glazing to flood interiors with natural light.

See all 2007 Builder's Choice Award Winners

Category: Apartments, rental;

Entrant/Architect/Land planner: Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, Memphis, Tenn.;

Builder: Gables Construction, Houston;

Developer: Gables Residential, Houston;

Interior designer: Carnegis & Co., Houston;

Landscape architect: Kudela & Weinheimer, Houston

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Houston, TX.