Project of the Year and Grand

The Mercado - Rosemary Beach, Fla.

Making the most of its prime quarter-acre site, the 44,000-square-foot Mercado neatly stacks nine office suites over four retail spaces, and then tops things off with eight light-filled condo units—each with its own, unique floor plan.

The residential units, which occupy the third and fourth floors (some units are two-stories) are carved into the roof structure to maximize every square inch up to the vertical limit. But with their crisp mill-work, vaulted ceilings, deep dormer windows, and open balconies, there isn't even a whiff of claustrophobia in these upper-story abodes.

The Mercado (a word that means “market” in Spanish) also includes a community entertainment room, secured entry, and covered parking for residents, at the rear. It becomes, in essence, a village within a single structure. “Of all the buildings we've done as a firm, this one feels the most successfully European,” architect Darrell Russell says. “Our thought was that it should have the timeless feel of a European marketplace.”

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