Small condominium cluster is good urban solution

The house: A set of four Queen Anne neighborhood condominiums called the Aerie Townhomes. Set in two buildings sited around a cobblestone courtyard, each has a ground-floor garage for two cars, topped with three levels of living space. The top-floor master suites offer soaring ceilings, a sitting area, master bath with soaking tub and some view of Puget Sound.

Tudor ambience is carried out via an exterior brick and board-and-batten facade. Inside, cherry hardwoods, crown moldings and hexagonal tiles pay homage to the neighborhood's stately older homes. High-tech heating systems, similar to those used on yachts, provide a modern touch.

The architect: Brian Runberg and the Runberg Architecture Group. The site, which sits behind a refurbished one-story brick office building, was formerly occupied by a warehouse. It could have been redeveloped into a 20-unit apartment building. Instead, Runberg viewed it as an opportunity to help meet Seattle's "need for unique and alternative infill housing. Urban infill can be nice and quaint. You can incorporate character and scale to it."

The owners: Palo Verde LLC.

The contractor: Brace Development.

Judges' comments: "Tough infill site, nicely handled. Great interior scale. Interiors looked pretty average. Perfect fit for the neighborhood."

The size: Each unit is three bedrooms, 2½ baths, up to 2,095 square feet (including garage).

Construction cost: $1.1 million total; unit-sales prices are $499,000 to $559,000.

Tour hours: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today (Sunday) only.

Address: 1823 10th Ave. W., Seattle.

Driving directions: From I-5 north or south take the Mercer Street exit (167). At the first light, turn right on Fairview Avenue North, left at the next intersection onto Valley Street. It will angle slightly left, becoming Broad Street. Turn right on Fifth Avenue North, left on Roy Street, right on Queen Anne Avenue North. Take an angled left onto West Queen Anne Drive Way and another left onto West Olympic Place. It will wind to the right, becoming 10th Avenue West. The property is half a block south of the intersection of 10th and West Howe Street.

The Seattle Times/AIA Open House program began in 1954. All licensed architects are encouraged to submit their residential work for consideration. Nominees are reviewed by the Seattle Chapter, AIA Open House committee. Call 206-448-4938.