Foundation Work

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The foundation work has been underway this week and will be done by the end of the week. Block work started on Monday, insulation work was yesterday, and, weather permitting, they should be wrapping up the remainder of the work by the end of this work. Guess what this means?? Yep! The house will be delivered and set next week. We are quickly going to go from nothing to a two story structure in a matter of days. Ah…the beauty of prefab.

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As you can see, we opted for a crawl space on this house. This was partially driven by economics and also by the prefab process. When working with prefab homes, you have to go with either a crawl space or a basement, as a slab-on-grade simply won’t work. This is because of the way prefab homes are manufactured. In order to build walls (both interior and exterior), you need a floor structure on which to build them in the factory. This necessitates building the floor structure in the factory. As a result, a slab-on-grade simply would not work.

We will wait to do any concrete pours (the garage, garage apron, front porch, sidewalk) until after the house gets set. By the end of next week, the site is going to look dramatically different. Keep your eyes open and look for the crane mid week next week!

 

 

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Architects’ Home Tour

All, I am chairing the 2014 AIA Architects’ Home Tour. The event is a bi-annual tour which showcases architect designed homes in Indianapolis.

One 10 Studio

One 10 Studio – Chatham Arch

This year’s tour is a bit unique, in that it focuses on homes in the city and homes in distinct Indianapolis neighborhoods. You’ll find homes in Fountain Square, Chatham Arch, Cottage Home, Herron Morton, Glendale, Broad Ripple, and Butler Tarkington.

To me, the tour is a great opportunity for the general public to see what an architect designed home looks like and to better understand the value that architects bring to the residential world. The tour showcases the ability of architects to bring creative, unique solutions to the house.

If you enjoy this blog and enjoy the work happening here, you most certainly will enjoy the tour. Please check out our website for more info, a sneak peak of all the homes, and to purchase tickets.

Architects’ Home Tour

Also, we are planning a film screening the Friday night before the tour. Keep your eyes and ears open regarding this!

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Demerly Architects – Broad Ripple

 

 

Full Steam Ahead

In case you haven’t heard, full steam ahead with prefab and All-American Homes! We submitted the deposit at the beginning of last week and are eagerly awaiting their drawings for review. After we received these and talk with them, I’ll update you on where things stand.

All-American Homes Factory...Impressive!

All-American Homes Factory…Impressive!

Keep your eyes and ears peeled as progress continues forward…more and more posts will happen as we near the start of construction! Get excited!

Factory Meeting

House Update

You may be wondering the status of the house as of late. We had to sort of take a short break and take the time to proceed through the variance process…which we were finally APPROVED for on Tuesday…after being continued for an extra month from September to October (due to requests from neighbors). This is quite exciting and really was a major hurdle we had to leap to take one step closer to construction!

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For those of you who may not be familiar with the variance process, a variance is essentially asking the city to make an exception to the zoning code. In the case of 955 Hosbrook, a number of variances were essentially required in order to develop the property.

The current zoning code for the city was last updated in the 1960s, a time when society was in the midst of suburbanization and the automobile dominated culture. As a result, much of the zoning ordinances reflect this ideology. This means that the code is written with much more of a suburban mindset, often making it difficult to develop on small, urban infill lots…which is a really unfortunate side-effect of the zoning code.

The city, however, is very aware of this situation and is the process of re-writing much of the zoning code, in an effort know as Indy Rezone. This is definitely reassuring and I hope to see many of these issues addressed when the results of this effort are revealed.

As mentioned, the size of 955 Hosbrook essentially necessitated variances in order to be developed. Here is a quick breakdown of the variances that were required:

    • Square Footage:  The code specifies a specific first floor square footage minimum and this house does not meet that requirement. The house is 625 sf on the first floor and the requirement is 660 sf (not far off though).
    • Parking:  The code requires 2 parking spaces per single-family residence. This becomes extremely difficult on a 20′ lot, and the proposed design calls for a single car garage.
    • Open Space:  A minimum of 55% open space is required. The proposed design has a net area of 43% open space.
    •  Setbacks: The code has specific requirements for setbacks from the property lines, with the sides being a minimum of 4′ (10′ aggregate), rear being 15′ for the primary structure, and the front setback being 25′ or dictated by average setback along the surrounding block. This proved to be the most contentious variance request with the surrounding neighbors. However, the house design simply took cues from the surrounding neighborhood, with many homes exhibiting the proposed setbacks the house design was seeking. In fact, the scale of the house will fit in better with the neighborhood with the variances than it would have without these, making it an argument of context. As a result, the staff gave full support to all of the requested variances.

So, now that we’ve cleared this hurdle, we can focus on the completion of documents, pricing, and starting construction. We hope to begin construction before winter really sets in. Stay tuned…we are getting closer and closer!

House Elevations

Here are the promised exterior elevations/views of the house (for the most part). Check them out and let me know your thoughts.

The overall design of the house is very much driven by simplicity, taking a simple geometric form and manipulating it through a set of moves. As a result, the exterior design strategy reflects this same language and responds to this same strategy.

As mentioned in the previous post, the design of the house inherently becomes very linear in nature, due to the narrowness of the lot. As a result, the exterior material strategy responds to this condition, reacting to the linear nature while also reinforcing it in certain ways.

The material palette is limited, reflecting the minimal nature of the house. The materials currently being explored include: metal, fiber cement, wood, and perforated metal.

Northwest View

The primary exterior cladding is a vertical metal panel. The vertical nature of the panel responds to the linear condition of the house, not necessarily in opposition to it, but does serve to soften the length of the home and also provides a sense of verticality and scale to the house.

The secondary material is fiber cement lap siding and panel siding, a material very common in residential architecture. The horizontal nature of the lap siding serves as a strong contrast to the verticality of the metal, while still being subtle in nature, due to its dark color. The introduction of this material also serves as an opportunity to break down the exterior, providing moments of relieve from the primary cladding material and creating a sense of patterning on the facade. The panels give the sensation of the windows pushing down from above, up from below, or wrapping around the corner. This provides a sense of movement, activating the exterior.

The third material is wood. The introduction of wood at the recessed/carved out portions of the house serves to provide a sense of texture at the human scale. The wood is introduced at the recessed front entry and at the courtyard carved out between the garage and main house. These spaces are moments where the human scale is important, as they are moments of constant interaction and the wood provides that sense of warmth at these key moments where the user continuously interacts with the house.

The final material is a perforated metal. This metal serves as a sort of screen wall at the front entry. This entry is defined by the carving out of space, revealing the wood material, and the metal screen wall occupies the western edge of this entry porch. The perforations in the metal allow for a transparency through the space and a lightness to the space but still serve to define the front entry visually. Further, the perforations allow for the opportunity to use the material as a climbing surface, allowing vegetation to interact with the wall surface and also to soften this front entry.

North Elevation

East Elevation WestElevation

House Plan

I’ve been hard at work on the right plan for 955 Hosbrook. When you are dealing with any lot, you immediately look to the context and site constraints for influence. This lot is no different. The first thing you will notice is the size and scale of the plan. When dealing with a lot with a total width of 21′-6″, this absolutely becomes a driver for the design of the house.

Instead of approaching this width as a hindrance, the design for 955 embraces the concept of the narrow house, borrowing ideas from the shotgun house typology, a typology already in existence in Fountain Square. For those of you unfamiliar with the shotgun house, these are houses built primarily in the South following the Civil War and are characterized by their narrow width and minimal street frontage. They were designed for the working class, and are very small and modest in nature. Much of the reason for their narrow width is a result of taxation rules of the time, which were determined by amount of street frontage. Therefore, the narrower the house, the cheaper the taxes.

First Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

The name “shotgun house” is often thought to be derived from the notion that one could open all of the interior doors in the house and a shotgun could be fired from the front door through these doors and straight out the back door of the house. This concept is the initial driver for the design of 955, the concept of continuity from front to back. As a result, the dominate design feature in the house is focused around the creation of a continuous line of casework along the western interior wall of the house, on both the first and second floors. The continuity of this feature reinforces the idea of continuity from the front door through the house to the back door, creating a pathway cutting through the house, a visual continuity along this line.

Further, this casework acts as a sort of buffer between the house and the close proximity of the freeway to the west. The casework acts as an almost thickened wall, in a sense creating a sort of buffer zone, while still being punctured in moments to allow for daylight and views of the downtown skyline. This line of casework contains much of the functional components of the house. Key functions include:

First Floor:

Coat Closet: Adjacent to the front entry is a full height coat closet, addressing the entry sequence and need for storage.

Kitchen: Just beyond the coat closet and entry is the kitchen. In a small house where space is at a premium, it makes most sense in this scheme to combine the circulation pathways needed within a kitchen space with the circulation pathway needed to move through the house. The kitchen component contains all of the necessary cooking components, including a full height pantry cabinet. The refrigerator is located on the opposite wall under the stair to allow for this casework component to be streamlined, with minimal interruptions to its continuity.

TV/Entertainment: As you move toward the living space, the casework transitions into the casework serving the adjacent living space. This casework serves as the location for the entertainment components of the living space, including television, music, and associated storage.

Work Space: Beyond the living space at the emergence of the outdoor courtyard, the casework transitions into a work space, containing desktop space providing adequate work space for computers and associated necessary storage.

Mud: At the point where the casework terminates into the garage, drop off “mud” space exists to allow for coat and shoe storage as one enters from the garage.

Second Floor:

Wardrobe Closet: The main bedroom on the second level contains a continuous run of wardrobe closet, providing adequate storage space for clothing, while still allowing for additional storage space or the option to incorporate a space for a television.

Laundry: A stackable washer/dryer element exists directly at the top of the stairs, providing direct access from the upstairs bedroom.

Books and Window Seat(s): In the corridor connection to the roof deck, the caswork becomes a sort of library space, with space for book storage and additional shelving space while also providing related window seats to sit up, read a book, and enjoy great views of downtown.

As this continuous line of casework is the conceptual framework for the house, the remainder of spaces connect from this circulation pathway, keeping interior spatial organizations simple and connected. You will notice the house occupies the majority of the site, from front to back and outdoor space is at a premium. As a result, the desire to still connect to the outdoors is one of much importance. The main living space directly flanks the outdoor courtyard, providing for an intimate green space and lots of natural light into the space. Additionally, the use of the single story garage allows to make up for the minimal ground floor outdoor space, providing a large second floor roof deck.

So, what do you guys think? As I’ve often stressed, the scale of house here is very important to me. This house is small, but serves the concept of living quite well. Let me know your thoughts. Elevations (exterior and interior) to come very soon…