For some buyers, the choice between buying an existing or newly built home is a tough one. They would like to live in an established neighborhood with mature landscaping, but few older homes meet rigorous sustainable and energy-efficiency standards. The ideal scenario is to have it both ways, which, happily, the Hyde Park Double offers.

The duplex is set among a variety of architectural styles, so the new homes had to complement others in the neighborhood, but did not have to be strictly traditional. Decidedly modern, the homes have front porches—common in the neighborhood—but in a twist, they are located on the second floor. And, instead of creating a matched set as is usual with duplexes, the architects used common materials and similar forms to relate the homes, but reversed their plans so they connect to their environment in different ways. One home features private spaces on the ground floor and public and entertainment spaces on the second floor, while the other home flips the arrangement.

Merit Award

Category Production or semi-custom home, more than 3,000 square feet
Entrant/Architect Collaborative Designworks, Houston
Builder Grosvenor Custom Homes, Houston
Developer Urban Trees Developers, Houston

Light filters into both homes’ open interiors via large windows, sliding doors, and polycarbonate garage doors. The result is a light-filled project that is nonetheless certifiably sustainable: Both houses received LEED certification in July.

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