Military housing, for a variety of reasons, tends toward design that offers few redeeming qualities other than providing a roof overhead for residents. But Fort Irwin Family Housing by Torti Gallas and Partners proves that the housing type can look every bit as welcoming as market-rate homes.

Located in the Mohave Desert, Fort Irwin consists of 915 for-rent duplex homes and yet-to-come “bachelor” one-bedroom units. The architects sited the homes to minimize heat gain and used Bermuda-style shading to further mitigate exposure. Linked greens connect the neighborhoods in the project, and an alley-loaded plan cuts down on traffic.

The Southwest-style homes are designed for their climate with such features as 2x6 exterior wall framing, high-performance windows, 30-inch roof overhangs, radiant roof sheathing, solar attic fans, and R-38 roof insulation to promote energy efficiency Xeriscaping techniques help conserve water, while an evaporative cooling tower helps lower the temperature in the sunken courtyard by 3 degrees.

CATEGORY: Attached/Townhouse community
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT: Torti Gallas and Partners, Silver Spring, Md.
BUILDER: Clark Realty Builders, Herndon, Va.
DEVELOPER: California Military Communities, Fort Irwin, Calif.