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LIHTC Design Competition

In conjunction with the competitive low income housing tax credit round, MFA conducts an independently juried design competition.  Projects selected by the design competition jury are awarded additional Project Selection Criteria points in accordance with the years Qualified Allocation Plan.  While recognizing that good design cannot be boiled-down to checkbox selection criteria, the design competition jury considers each project’s site plan, building design, context and special design, floor plan design, and construction characteristics in their deliberations. In the end, the jury selects for recognition the projects that they believe demonstrate excellence in each of these areas. The projects listed below were recognized as the most outstanding project designs submitted. 


2015 Design Competition Winners

First Place Winner - 2015

Name: Parkside Terrace

Location: Hobbs

Developer: Chelsea Investment Corporation & Lea County Housing, Inc.

Architect: jv DeSousa LLC

No. of Units: 65 – New Construction

Unit Mix: 22 one-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom, & 15 three-bedroom units

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 40% AMI, 50% AMI, & 60% AMI

Target Population(s): Special Needs (20%)

Committee Comments:

  • Site: Very strong organization – overall rotation of the units works well on the site. The rotated geometry allows for opening up the courtyards, creating spatial variation that includes the one-way system of parking. Slightly angling the buildings also enhances the pedestrian experience of the courtyards and paths.
  • Building:  Clever resolution of grade change across the site - classy, interesting, human scale, massing and varying materials modulates and enhances the overall character of the complex.
  • Plans: Nicely organized, good entries, and the balconies are an especially nice amenity.

Link to Plans


Second Place Winner - 2015

Name: Casa Feliz

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

Architect: The Design Group

No. of Units: 85 - New Construction

Unit Mix: 12 studios, 12 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom, & 14 three-bedroom units

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and 60% AMI

Target Population(s): Special Needs (20%)

Committee Comments:

  • Site: Strong urban response keeping the fronts of the units to the street to enhance pedestrian interaction.
  • Building: Good architectural character for the area.
  • Plans: Larger unit plans are typical townhouse types and work fine.

Link to Plans


Third Place Winner - 2015

Name: Playa Escondida Phase II

Location: Hobbs

Developer: Tierra Realty Trust / Golden Spread Rural Frontier Coalition.

Architect: RMKM Architecture

No. of Units: 60 - New Construction

Unit Mix: 6 one-bedroom, 6 two-bedroom, & 48 three-bedroom units

Income Mix: 40% AMI, 50% AMI, & 60% AMI

Target Population(s): Families (25%)

Committee Comments:

  • Site: Strong handling of parking, location of garden and community spaces and section of building tall row to lower row to capture more sun. The building and site amenities take primacy over parking. Very strong, convincing project.
  • Building: Architectural character is solid, clean modern, good use of materials.
  • Plans: Pretty good overall.

Link to Plans


2014 Design Competition Winners

First Place Winner - 2014

Name: Playa Escondida

Location: Hobbs

Developer: Tierra Realty Trust / Golden Spread Rural Frontier Coalition.

Architect: RMKM Architecture

No. of Units: 60

Unit Mix:  (6) 1-Bedroom, (48) 2-Bedroom, (6) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 40% AMI, 50% AMI, and 60% AMI

Target Population(s):  Families (25%) and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: New Construction, 120 units (two phases).  Location of community building and daycare is convincing for a project that is being phased.  Good job on parking using lots of trees and plants to create more of a garden like environment than a mere parking lot.  Landscaping modulates and improves the sense of arrival to the site.  Very strong overall organization of common space.

Link to Plans


Second Place Winner - 2014

Name: Cuatro

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

Architect: Integrated Design

No. of Units: 56

Unit Mix: (13) Studio, (23) 1-Bedroom, (20) 2-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and 60% AMI

Target Population(s): Seniors (100%) and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: New Construction, 56 units senior housing – downtown location. Their stated goal is to create a high density transit oriented development that supports seniors in the area desiring to “stay put” and those looking for the ease of walking, biking and taking advantage of public transit. The design of the project achieves these goals quiet well starting with a pleasant sense of entry, good dispersal of amenities including use of the rooftop and a pedestrian friendly environment at street level.

Link to Plans


Third Place Winner - 2014

Name: The Imperial Building

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: YES Housing, Inc. / Geltmore, LLC

Architect: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

No. of Units: 74

Unit Mix: (9) Studio, (54) 1-Bedroom, (11) 2-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 40% AMI, 50% AMI, and Market Rate

Target Population(s):  Special Needs (20%)

Committee Comments: New Construction, 74 units, 4 story bldg. Their goal: To integrate a pedestrian friendly development that includes a residential and retail mixed-use building with an anchor grocery store into Downtown’s urban core.  Contributes to the urban context by offering pedestrian friendly environment at street level, placing access to underground parking on alley side, modulating the massing of the building to de-emphasize scale of a 4 story structure, employs the use of architectural characteristics familiar to the area.  Offers a good range of unit types: efficiency, one bedroom and two bedroom.  Amenities: a community lounge, exercise room, bike storage, laundry rooms, grocery, roof top terrace.    Attention is given to sound attenuation between floors and in demising walls.

Link to Plans


2013 Design Competition Winners

First Place Winner - 2013

Name: Andalusia

Location: Clovis

Developer: Tierra Realty Trust / Golden Spread Rural Frontier Coalition.

Architect: WAMO Studios

No. of Units: 60

Unit Mix: (1) Studio, (10) 1-Bedroom, (43) 2-Bedroom, (6) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 40% AMI, 50% AMI, and 60% AMI

Target Population(s): Families and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: The plans are intelligent, responsive to site, and quite functional. Landscaping features are appropriate and plentiful. Tree plantings are used to create a natural buffer between the housing, the street, and parking areas. The layout of the buildings on the site creates a nice balance between an orientation to the street and private courtyard spaces. The site plan makes good use of street parking and disburses parking throughout the site. The variety of building elevations and selection of materials are architecturally interesting while the integration of new with existing buildings reflects sensitivity to the urban nature of the site. The layout of the units offers functionality and comfort with the use of natural lighting and ventilation.

Link to Plans


Second Place Winner - 2013

Name: Crosstown Station

Location: Las Cruces

Developer: Thomas Development Group (General Partners: Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation)

Architect: Workshop8

No. of Units:72

Unit Mix: (4) Studio, (30) 1-Bedroom, (28) 2-Bedroom, (10) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, 60% AMI, and Market Rate

Target Population(s): Special Needs (25%)

Committee Comments: The Crosstown Station concept presents a very welcome "urban" addition to a growing city in need of alternative living units. The project takes a former industrial area and helps transform it into a livable community with an eye toward the future. The material selection and linear design enhance the project’s architectural interest and mixes well with the industrial context of the site. The use of shading devises and recessed windows to reduce solar gain is both interesting and functional. The modulation of recessed entries increases unit privacy. The perimeter block strategy is a sound model for creating semi-private spaces within a higher density development. The landscaped central courtyard and surrounding perimeters is very appropriate for a hot, arid climate.

Link to Plans


Third Place Winner - 2013

Name: Village in the Bosque

Location: Bernalillo

Developer: Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority

Architect: Autotroph

No. of Units:98

Unit Mix: (18) 1-Bedroom, (50) 2-Bedroom, (22) 3-Bedroom, (8) 4-Bedroom

Income Mix: 50% AMI, 60% AMI, and Market Rate

Target Population(s):Families and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: The design team for Village in the Bosque made the most of the existing site with their proposed enhancements both in terms of landscaping, outdoor amenities, connectivity to the surrounding areas and thoughtful addition of new buildings. The architectural enhancements blend well with the context. The addition of privacy walls, portals and a few stucco colors creates a good variety of form and light and shadow. The design team took full advantage of the unrealized walkability and access to internal and external open spaces at the existing site with greatly enhanced landscaping and the addition of many pedestrian pathways. The project has the potential to evolve into a delightful environment.

Link to Plans


2012 Design Competition Winners

First Place Winner - 2012

Name: Casitas de Colores

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: Romero Rose, LLC / YES Housing, Inc.

Architect: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

No. of Units: 71

Unit Mix:  (4) Studio, (15) 1-Bedroom, (32) 2-Bedroom, (20) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 40% AMI, 50% AMI, and Market Rate

Target Population(s):  Families and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: The site plan for Casitas de Colores is very well throughout and takes into account the demands of redeveloping an in-fill site in the urban core.  The enclosed courtyards are well scaled and offer a very nice community space where children can play and be seen from the units. A thoughtful landscape design and vegetation enhance the attractiveness of the courtyard and the site.  The tuck-under parking allows greater density, adds to the architectural variety by breaking-up the massing of the buildings and minimizes the “apartments circled by cars” while increasing the convenience for the residents.  The stepping of the facades also assists in breaking up the massing of the buildings and enhances the privacy of the units. The units are very functional and lend to openness, cross-ventilation, and natural lighting. Overall, the design of Casitas de Colores provides an excellent example of an in-fill project that fits its urban context and will increase the appeal of the area.

Link to Plans


Second Place Winner - 2012

Name: Sundowner

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: NewLife Homes, Inc.

Architect: Garrett Smith, Ltd.

No. of Units: 71

Unit Mix: (44) 0-Bedroom, (15) 1-Bedroom, (11) 2-Bedroom, (1) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and Market Rate

Target Population(s): Special Needs (25%)

Committee Comments: The adaptive reuse of the classic American roadside motel for housing is a challenge that the design team for the Sundowner have managed very nicely. The exterior architecture was effectively transformed to create a much more interesting and attractive façade. The main façade has a good relation to the fronting urban street which promotes pedestrian access. The commercial space and outdoor market area promise to enhance vitality and create a connection to the surrounding community. The transformation of the interior parking area to include more community area and green space with less asphalt was very well done. The additional vegetation and gabion walls proposed for the courtyard will minimize headlights disturbing the residential units.  The sliding gate to the interior courtyard parking is appropriate for the location and compliments the “eyes on the street” approach taken by the design team.

Link to Plans


Third Place Winner - 2012

Name: Peachtree Canyon

Location: Las Cruces

Developer: Thomas Development Group (General Partners: Mesilla Valley Public Housing Authority / New Mexico Housing Corporation)

Architect: Workshop8

No. of Units: 60

Unit Mix: (20) 2-Bedroom, (40) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 50% AMI

Target Population(s):  Special Needs (20%)

Committee Comments: The site plan for Peachtree Canyon is very imaginative in unflattening the site by developing a strong concept of a natural canyon and arroyo. The placement of the buildings creates a variety of outdoor spaces and views. The variation in building height enhances the buildings’ architectural interest while humanizing their scale. The movable sunscreens, other shading devices, and material choices make the building elevations attractive while adding function.  The incorporation of perimeter elevated walkways, patios and decks, as well as the ample interior space for each function and high ceilings make these units exceptional.  Peachtree Canyon is a rare example of a project that offers density on the urban fringe while maintaining sensitivity to the natural landscape. 

Link to Plans


2011 Design Competition Winners

First Place Winner - 2011

Name: Playa Escondida

Location: Hobbs

Developer: Tierra Realty Trust, LLC / Golden Spread Rural Frontier Coalition

Architect: Lake / Flato Architects, Inc.

No. of Units: 71

Unit Mix: (32) 1-Bedroom, (39) 2-Bedroom

Income Mix: 50% AMI, 60% AMI, and Market

Target Population(s):  Senior and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: Playa Escondida offers a design solution that is highly sensitive to the place in which it is to be constructed and to the people for which it will become home.  The design reflects a genuine understanding on the part of the architects of how important it is to integrate climate responsive architecture with the social needs of a specific user group.  The individual units are organized to reinforce physical and social activity while at the same time addressing issues of privacy both within the unit plans and the overall site planning strategy.  The massing of the buildings, their disposition on the site and environmentally appropriate landscape design makes for a friendly human scaled livable environment.

Link to Plans


Second Place Winner - 2011

Name: Stage Coach Apartments

Location: Santa Fe

Developer: Santa Fe Community Housing Trust

Architect: Integrated Design & Architecture

No. of Units: 60

Unit Mix: (15) 0-Bedroom, (11) 1-Bedroom, (28) 2-Bedroom, (8) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and 60% AMI

Target Population(s):  Families (25%) and Special Needs (5%)

Committee Comments: The design of Stage Coach Apartments truly captures the history and spirit of the place, and celebrated its motor court roots. Existing Pueblo Revival buildings are sensitively handled, with new building taking off with a clean, more contemporary design. The site is enlivened by the new design and a lively color and material palette. The site and landscaping plan includes a great variety of livable outdoor spaces, including well-landscaped courtyards and connections to walking trails and amenities. Rainwater harvesting and excellent solar orientation and shading are strong points to an environmentally sensitive design. The shotgun style apartment units have good cross ventilation and feature private outdoor space at both the front and back. All in all, an excellent presentation.

Link to Plans


Third Place Winner - 2011

Name: Sundowner - Uhuru

Location: Albuquerque

Developer: NewLife Homes, Inc.

Architect: Garrett Smith, Ltd.

No. of Units: 71

Unit Mix: (44) 0-Bedroom, (15) 1-Bedroom, (11) 2-Bedroom, (1) 3-Bedroom

Income Mix: 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and Market

Target Population(s):  Special Needs (25%)

Committee Comments: The Sundowner is an example of a well-designed adaptive reuse project that makes the most of a very challenging site and set of existing buildings. The addition of a commercially oriented space on Central Avenue will contribute to the vitality of the street.  The redevelopment of the interior courtyard and parking area, which are defined by the apartment units, is done in such a way as to address security by encouraging user surveillance not only from the individual units, but also from the amenities contained within the courtyard.  The vast reduction in asphalt paving and its replacement with permeable landscaping and pathways is commendable.  Overall, the design fits well within its built and social context and should become a positive contributor to the revitalization of this part of Albuquerque.

Link to Plans

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