Real Estate

Gerdel of Nishikawa Architects Earns Design Honors

June 1, 2015, 12:18 PM HST
* Updated June 1, 12:20 PM
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Morgan Gerdel’s custom designed-built cottage in Kula. Courtesy photo.

Morgan Gerdel’s custom designed-built cottage in Kula. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

Morgan Gerdel, AIA of Nishikawa Architects Inc. in Wailuku, was recently named one of the winners of the Future of Architecture Residential Design Contest and Showcase by the American Institute of Architects and Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

The contest attracted entries from architecture students and new architects from across the country.

Gerdel captured the category for “Small Spaces” for his “Maui Cottage” project in Kula. A modern take on the historic plantation cottage, this compact cottage was also built with sustainability in mind, and is a Silver LEED-certified space. The home has three bedrooms, one bath and an open kitchen and living area in less than 1,000 square feet.

Morgan Gerdel, AIA of Nishikawa Architects receives his award during the AIA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia held this month.

Morgan Gerdel, AIA of Nishikawa Architects receives his award during the AIA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia held this month.

The competition, held during the AIA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, highlighted high-impact residential design ideas.


Houzz promoted the showcase of all entries to the 30 million people who use Houzz every month, providing Future of Architecture participants with high visibility for their work, and helping to educate the public about the value of good architecture and design.


The winners of the competition were determined by the Houzz community of homeowners and design professionals from around the globe.

Other winners were:

  • Student Project: Jie Zhang, “The Thirsty House”
    MIT architecture student Jie Zhang designed the “Thirsty House” as an environmentally-sensitive and “frugal way of living in relationship to water,” inspired by underground caves. The home is designed with space for collecting and purifying rainwater and groundwater.
  • Social Impact: Michael Perry, Associate AIA, “Cliff Swallow Apartments”
    To address the growing need for affordable housing solutions in New York City, Michael Perry envisioned a “temporary micro-unit” that can be affixed to the sides of existing buildings, without requiring new construction. The units are modeled after the gourd-shaped nests of cliff swallows.
  • Universal Design: Ziga Design Build, Felix Ziga, AIA, “Tierra de Dios (God’s Land)”
    How can design facilitate aging in place and community involvement throughout the golden years? Ziga Design Build was tapped to design the dream communal retirement home of three Baby Boomer women, just outside of San Antonio. The project looks to balance communal living and privacy, and adapt to future mobility constraints.
  • Innovation: The Ranch Mine, Cavin Costello, “Link”
    “Link” is a new construction spec house built on the last empty lot of an historic neighborhood in Uptown Phoenix. The home was built for just $138 a square foot, using typical builder materials in new and innovative ways, in an attempt to break the mold from the typical “Tuscan” builder homes that are typical of the area’s suburban sprawl.

“We are excited to work with the AIA on programs that help emerging architects showcase their ideas to millions of prospective employers, colleagues and design enthusiasts around the world. This is something that is difficult for new practitioners to attain,” said Adi Tatarko, co-founder and CEO of Houzz. “Providing architects with the tools and technology they need to succeed today is a priority for both Houzz and the AIA, and is a critical component of the Future of Architecture program.”


“Good design can have a positive effect on our lives and communities—right where people live,” said AIA EVP/CEO, Robert Ivy, FAIA. “The AIA and Houzz are both committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of design by the public, as well as engaging architects,” he said. “As the latest initiative of our ongoing strategic partnership with Houzz, the Future of Architecture competition provides us with a unique opportunity to reach architects at the early stages of their careers, and provide them with support and visibility right from the start.”

Additional details on the competition can be found online.

For more about The American Institute of Architects, go online.

For more about Houzz, go online.

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