CAPE MAY -- The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has awarded Philadelphia, Pa.-based design firm Always by Design with a Merit Award in the Built Residential category for its sustainable design of the Prospect House, a stunning 2,100-square-foot vacation home in Cape May, N.J.

“Always by Design exhibited a commitment not only to visual elegance but also to sustainable functionality in the Prospect House,” said Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “From the shelves in the kitchens to the precise angling of the windows in the living room, the firm has displayed thoughtfulness and respect for the property.”

Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood of Cape May Point, the Prospect House is designed to sleep eight as a vacation home, and will ultimately be used as the owner’s year-round retirement residence. The house, which is designed to LEED Silver standards, also received Energy Star certification.

Always by Design implemented a number of sustainable features at the site, including a vegetative roof, rainwater harvesting for habitat garden drip irrigation system, pervious “stepping stone” driveway and retention of mature existing trees. The house’s distinctive projecting roofs shield the windows from high summer sun angles. The belvedere tower provides a 360-degree view of the property and serves as a passive cooling “chimney.”

“As my first ever project in New Jersey, I’m thrilled to have received this prestigious honor from the AIA,” said Ed Barnhart, AIA, principal at Always by Design. “This is an example of how, through understanding and expressing the unique specifics of place, time and cultural context, your work will resonate as an authentic experience.”

The AIA-NJ Annual Design Awards program recognizes architectural projects that exhibit design excellence in one of four categories: Open (meant for any building type), Residential, Historic Preservation and Interior Architecture. Projects are further designated as either Built or Un-built. To be eligible, projects must be either located in New Jersey or designed by an AIA-NJ architect. Submitted projects are evaluated during the organization’s annual Design Conference by a group of distinguished architects from throughout the country.

About AIA and AIA New Jersey:

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and allied professionals. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architecture profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has 2,000 members in six local sections. For more information, please visit