TALK ABOUT RESTRICTIONS—THIS project had enough to stop the bravest of developers. First, the site: a brownfield adjacent to a state beach that is also the winter home to the protected monarch butterfly. Additional considerations included such disparate elements as ocean views, riparian habitat, a lagoon, railroad tracks, and community gardens. Finally, the project needed to maintain a 40 percent affordable ratio and high density.

The architects took the butterfly connection and ran with it, incorporating both butterfly roof forms and the colors of the monarch into their plan. Their simple yet varied designs for the buildings helped mitigate what could have been an institutional, low-income look. Throw in the fact that residents have an after-school program in the commons building and free use of electric bicycles, and you've got more than just an apartment complex. Pacific Shores is a full-fledged vibrant community.

Award: Best apartment project—one to three stories; Builder: Bogard Construction, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Developer: Pacific Union Apartments, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.; Architect/Land planner: The Steinberg Group, Architects, San Jose, Calif.

Eric Figge