2018 AIBD Award Winners

We’re filled with energy and excitement after coming back from the American Institute of Building Design’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia last week! Not only are the AIBD conferences a wonderful time to connect with colleagues and gain fresh inspiration, but two of our founding members of Rocky Mountain Plan Company also received awards for their work.

Bernie Kern Wins the 2018 Designer of the Year Award

Bernie Kern of BBKern DESIGNS won the prestigious Designer of the Year Award, an honor presented by AIBD to the member who has made the most outstanding contribution to the Institute in the past year. Bernie has been a leader in design and forward thinking for many years now, and he launched the AIBD High-Performance Homes Team in 2012, a committee that focuses on providing resources and education about building energy efficient, comfortable, and environmentally safe homes to designers, builders, and consumers. This work led him to take on a prominent role at the 2017 and 2018 International Builder Show.

In the High-Performance Building Zone at the Builder Show, Bernie and his team designed and created a Tiny House Lab, emphasizing innovation in energy efficient materials and high-performing wall and roof framing configurations. Bernie also made himself available to college students during the 2018 Design and Build Day conferences at Weber State University and the University of Central Missouri, resulting in unprecedented national recognition for AIBD to thousands of professionals and students. 

You can read more about Bernie's work with the High-Performance Homes Team as well as find out about other AIBD Conferences and ARDA winners in the latest AIBD Magazine.

LGA Studios Wins for Best Conceptual Design

The American Residential Design Awards (ARDA) is the AIBD’s premier award program exhibiting design excellence in the residential building industry. It spotlights the most creative and innovative residential designers, builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation and recognizes exceptional design.

LGA Studios won an ARDA for Best Conceptual Design for their work on a Modern Prairie style home, shown below. 

This home was designed for a close-knit active family. Between morning hockey practices, dance lessons, and gymnastics, these clients are always on the move, and they needed a home that fits their lifestyle and allowed them to make the most of their time together.

The site is located above an exclusive golf community, and this home backs up to the course. It’s one of only a handful of sites where the existing mature pine trees act as a privacy shield, enhancing the surroundings of this home by providing lovely forest views. The natural setting nestled amongst the trees really allows the outdoor living spaces to shine—which was important to our clients—and this home features several courtyards and an expansive deck, providing space both for entertaining as well as play.

Entering through a nestled and naturally landscaped courtyard allows guests their first glimpse into the uniqueness of this home, and an open floor plan invites family and friends to gather in the gourmet kitchen or relax by the fire in the great room.

A modern and open staircase helps to connect yet buffer the family spaces from the living areas while providing a view of the golf course greenscape beyond. This space also provides a display area for the owners’ art collection. The sprawling master suite and three additional bedrooms plus a study loft are ideal for the family to have privacy and retreat space, and the lower level provides plenty of space for a media center and fun and games.

This home has room to spread out and relax, using Prairie and Modern architectural touches to provide the perfect landing pad for this active family, and an ideal blend of indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Congratulations Bernie Kern and LGA Studios!

Design with a Purpose: Our Primrose Plan Expanded

Rocky Mountain Plan Company members competed in the 2014 NAHB International Builders Show Live competition to design an accessible home for a very special client. Utilizing our passion for the charrette process to brainstorm ideas, pool our talents, and be creative, we collaborated on a home to fit the needs of a wounded veteran. 

At the 2014 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, the NAHB Design Committee partnered with the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) and Building Homes for Heroes to put on a LIVE design competition on the IBS exhibit floor, focused on designing a home for one of America’s wounded veterans returning from war. Working within set parameters, design teams had nine hours to complete their designs.

Members of the Rocky Mountain Plan Company—under the team name of the Collaborative Design Group—were one of just four teams selected from the NAHB to participate in the live design competition. The parameters of the project were revealed the morning the design competition began. 

Rocky Mountain Plan Company BALA elevation


The client was a war veteran in his mid-twenties who is missing both legs and half of his pelvis and requires the use of a wheelchair 100% of the time. He had also been diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury that periodically affected his hearing. 

He enjoys sky-diving and had done it once already. He would like to pursue a career with either the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Because of his injuries, family members often visited him to help out and they would need a place to stay for a day or two at his home. 


The project scope included the following: each team was required to design a single-family detached home between 2000-2500 square feet, with three bedrooms, a study, and a minimum of two bathrooms. The home was to be built in Northern Virginia, on a lot that would accommodate a home no wider than 50 feet and would include space for a two-car garage, with one of the vehicles being a custom van with a ramp. 

The home needed to include universal design features that would be wrapped into the plan and would not necessarily be obvious to the owner or houseguests, but would make daily life easier. In addition to the client stipulations, the design needed to take into consideration life-cycle costs and should be energy efficient and low maintenance. Surrounding neighborhoods of the chosen lot featured many different architectural styles, including Colonial, Shingle, Nantucket, Modern, and Craftsman homes. 

Rocky Mountain Plan Company BALA floor plan

The team members of the Rocky Mountain Plan Company came up with a design that impressed many of the participants at the IBS convention. Our design features an easy, accessible, walk-through floor plan, with an open kitchen and a great room with an astounding view out the rear of the home, and includes an accessible covered patio with an outdoor fireplace.

The open entry and driveway provide easy turnaround space for maneuvering a wheelchair, and the plan provides unobstructed access from the garage into the home as well as an area to drop off bags and personal belongings. 

The attention grabber of the home is the massive great room with large windows from the front that draw the eye through to the back of the home, giving an uplifting, positive energy to the space and filtering natural light throughout. The master bedroom and adjoining three bedrooms provide easy access from one room to another.

The final design our team came up with and refined from this design competition became our Primrose plan, a fully accessible one-level home with plenty of Arts and Crafts architectural charm. We’re proud of the design story behind this great plan, and we believe that the power of thoughtful design truly can empower you and should serve to make your day to day life easier. Check out Primrose below:



  • 2450 Square Feet
  • Ranch Plan
  • Foot Print: 50’ x 94’
  • Main Level: 2450 Square Feet
  • 3 bedrooms · 2 bathrooms


Please note that the square footage for a ranch plan reflects the main level only. Square footage for a two story plan reflects the main and upper levels only. Lower level square footage is considered optional.