House Designed by Professor Ursula Emery McClure Named 2017 Best in Custom Homes

ursula emery mcclure

emerymcclure architecture’s BSL-2 house won an ARDA in the Custom Home Category.

The American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) named emerymcclure architecture as one of its top designers in the 10th annual American Residential Design Awards (ARDA) at the Academy of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. During a banquet dinner held in conjunction with the AIBD Summer Conference, emerymcclure architecture was awarded the Grand ARDA trophy in the Custom Home category. The winning entry, BSL2, was chosen from 140 finished and proposed projects submitted by 35 design firms from 17 states.

The BSL2 house is a Gulf-side second home in the historically designated area of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. It is not only the client’s second home; it is the second design and second site for the house. The simple goals for the home are to create a small interior three-bedroom, two-bath house, efficient in space and low on maintenance while maximizing exterior spaces. The more complicated goals include designing a house that can be open when occupied and closed when not as it is 300 feet from the Gulf of Mexico and must be secure from storms. For anyone who lives in hurricane-prone areas, “boarding up the house” is an important part of storm preparation as it not only protects the home but also the neighbors’ homes. The clients live just far enough away and along the major evacuation routes to make “boarding up” even more difficult than it already is. They requested that boarding up the house be part of the design. They did not want the off-the-shelf hurricane shutters; they wanted large pieces of glass, and they wanted the house to look inviting even when closed for a storm or when the owners are away. Couple these goals with the historic district requirements, and the design challenge was set.

Emerymcclure architecture principals Michael A. McClure, AIA, FAAR, and Ursula Emery McClure, AIA, FAAR, LEED AP BD+C, are architects and educators. Ursula Emery McClure is a professor at the LSU School of Architecture. The firm’s work and writing has been published in books, journals, and popular magazines including Places, 306090-05, Architecture Record Online, JAE, Dwell magazine, and Southern Living. The work of the firm has won numerous awards including being recognized by the 2006 and 2010 Venice Beinnale, Architectural Record, and the AIA and was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture in 2008 for their project Terra Viscus: Hybrid Tectonic Precedent. Most recently, emerymcclure architecture won the Sukkah City STL competition and the 2013 Unbuilt Visions competition. Both principals lecture on their work at numerous conferences and universities and often find themselves between the global petro-chemical infrastructure and an alligator.

ARDA is a progression of the AIBD Annual Design Competition, which has been in existence for more than 65 years. This year’s jury included Stephanie Henley, principal and co-owner of Beasley and Henley Interior Design, Orlando, Florida; Sean Sullivan, owner of Living Stone Design+Build, Asheville, North Carolina; Lyle Breeze, owner of Breeze and Associates, Tarpon Springs, Florida; and the ARDA Committee Chair Karen Kassik-Michelsohn of Michelsohn & Daughter Construction Inc.

The program is sponsored by, an online home plan resource developed for builders by designers. Through their network of resellers, they offer thousands of high-quality home plans in an easy-to-use web portal that provides customers access to conceptual plans and home plans with full construction documents.

The American Institute of Building Design is a nationally recognized organization dedicated to supporting and promoting residential design professionals. Its members have specialized knowledge and expertise in residential design and are held to a high level of professionalism and ethics in their business practices.

View all winning ARDA entries at

Visit for more information about emerymcclure architecture’s winning project.