2014 Affordable Housing Design Award: Clare Midtown

In 2012 the American Institute of Architects began a search to find and recognize the best in Affordable Housing and to promote the best attributes of these projects to the rest of the architectural and development communities throughout the United States and to encourage more projects that instill these values.

I've been fortunate to be selected to produce films for the awards given for 2012, 2013, & 2014 project. Each time we approached the recognition film in a different way. For more information about the award, click here.

Project Details

Title: Clare Midtown: 2014 Affordable Housing Design Award
Commissioned by: AIA Minnesota and The McKnight Foundation
Filming: Summer-Fall
Release: Nov/Dec 2014

Recipient: Clare Midtown 
Architect of Record: Cermak Rhoades Architects
Lead Architect: Todd Rhoades, AIA
Developer: Clare Housing 
Builder: Frerichs Construction
Additional Photography by: Brandon Stengel and Winick Photography

Interviews with Gary Schiff, Lee Lewis, Phillip Koski, AIA, Eric Gustafson, Michelle Baltus Pribyl, AIA, Todd Rhoades. AIA, 
Music: "Until the Day" by Dexter Britain

Special Thanks to The staff and residents of Clare Midtown, the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization and the residents of Corcoran, and the Midtown Farmers' Market 

Project Description from Client:

This 45-unit mixed use building offers permanent supportive housing for residents with diagnosed HIV/AIDS and also includes a therapy suite, social worker offices and a large resident lounge adjacent to the patio and garden. Durable materials such as brick, glazed concrete block and solid wood cabinets give the residents and staff a stable home, and the introduction of rich colors and pattern to inexpensive materials such as paint and vinyl tile brings personality to the structure within a tight budget. The building is sited at the edge of a residential neighborhood along a major circulation spine within the city, and its bay windows mark both approaches to the building as well as the entrance to the neighborhood. 


The purpose of this video is to help inspire others to produce quality affordable housing for communities across the Twin Cities and the world at large. The Larger goal of this short film series, is to explore the unique components that help to facilitate quality affordable housing and it's goals for creating better lives for individuals and communities, while strengthening society as a whole.


Editing Choices

Having completed films for the past two years for the Affordable Housing Design Award, the challenge has been to identify a unique characteristic that makes this project in affordable housing unique from other stories. In this case, it was the overwhelming support it received from the neighborhood and civic leaders who endorsed the project from the very beginning.

In some instances, I wanted to "recreate" the feeling from our previous films, while instantly setting it apart from them. The unique location of this project lead to the idea of telling the story of how it's related to Transit Oriented Development, without going deep into the topic later

Preparing for Success

Incorporating the neighborhood landmarks, as well as the people of Corcoran was first and foremost in my mind when thinking of locations for the interviews to take place. That isn't to say there weren't challenges to that decision. For one, I could have picked a better time to film Phillip Koski outside of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization's office on 32nd. We literally had every loud vehicle you can imagine interrupting the interview. However Phillip was incredibly patient and it provided opportunities for even better takes of what he had to say. With those challenges in mind, I still scouted the neighborhood 3 or 4 times and I kept my eye on the weather to get out for sporadic filming around the neighborhood to film various parts of the neighborhood at the best times of day. 

Additionally, while scouting Clare Midtown it self, I was fortunate to pay attention to an upcoming social event to potential film the residents at. If it wasn't for good communication with the staff and residents ahead of time, that wouldn't have been an opportunity.