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!

AIA_ArchTour_072014_A0082

Demerly Architects – Broad Ripple

 

 

Building Blocks

It seems to be a good time to update everyone on what has been going on behind the scenes for my new home in Fountain Square.

As many of you know, the process of designing and building a new home is a challenging one, especially when dealing with many of the constraints of 955 Hosbrook, primarily being the lot size and budget constraints. But, as you know, I am a firm believer in designing compact, contemporary designs that don’t break the bank. As a result, I have been hard at work behind the scenes weighing options, tweaking design elements, exploring construction techniques, etc, etc.

One method of construction that has quickly moved to the forefront of options and is almost finalized in becoming the chosen method of construction for this house is prefab/modular construction. I have met with All-American Homes (factory in Decatur, IN), toured their factory, and been in numerous talks with them regarding my house. It just so happens, by the way, that the dimensions of my house lend themselves almost perfectly to their construction techniques.

While much of their work is more traditional in its aesthetics, they have certainly not ignored the contemporary housing market and have been involved in a few really interesting projects:

Michelle Kaufmann‘s Smart Home at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago:

smart home

 

Tryon Farm by Edward Noonan & Associates in Michigan City, IN:

tryon farm

As you can see, these projects lend themselves to a very similar aesthetic. We hope to be able to determine if this is our best direction in the very near future so we can then move forward and proceed with the start of construction.

Stay tuned! These are exciting times!

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…

Continue Planting the Seeds

Landscape work continues. As you will note in the plan, the landscaping on this project is quite extensive…and…extensive means labor. It has been quite a process planting the various grass, shrubs, and trees, but the vision is slowly becoming more apparent and will most certainly be worth it in the end.

Shoveling Mulch

701 Shelby...sunset

You can start to the number of plugs that have already gone into the ground. We have planted much of the prairie dropseed, purple love grass, serviceberries, and redbuds, just to name a few. As previously mentioned, the intention was to maintain a native plant palette, as this is quite important in connecting with our local environment and utilizing plants already adapted to this region. It’s honestly a really great way to feel a stronger connection to your locale and to the environment in which we live. It actually serves as a reminder to the beauty that exists within our own landscape.

Planting Plugs

Much of the Shelby Street side is now planted. Next will come the Fletcher side and the backyard. This will include construction the raised beds for vegetables and hopefully we will see the construction of the deck and fence extension in the near future. Look for more updated pictures in the next few days.

Plantings along Shelby

Work the Land

This weekend we began the landscaping process. We started by tilling the entire lot. This is never an easy thing to do on an urban lot on which a structure previously sat. We encountered a lot of this:

Buried Treasure

However, we got the hang of the tiller pretty quickly and things progressed relatively smoothly, minus losing control of the tiller and having it crash into the house…not really…but it could have happened, right?

Tilling the Land - Shelby Street

Although it is still just a dirt patch, it feels just a little closer to the real deal. After seeing the site as little more than a dried up dirt and gravel patch for such a long time, it’s rewarding to see us actually begin the landscaping process. We should have more news on plants, deck, and fencing this week. Stay tuned.

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Tilled Yard

Hello…I’m back.

As you can tell…I’ve really been slacking on this whole blogging thing for quite some time. However, it seems like a good time to get back into the rhythm. Spring has made a few appearances, which means things should be picking up for both me, 701 Shelby, and various developments and happenings throughout the city. Spring is always a great reminder of the beauty and value in a place and a pleasant reminder why I am in Indy and all of the great things happening in the city.

Because it’s spring, it’s time for landscaping to happen at 701 Shelby. We have gone through various landscape iterations, with help from a few different people. A friend of mine, James Poisel, happens to be a landscape architect and has graciously lent his help on the project. Below is the current plan, minus a few very minor modifications (click on the link for a better quality image of the plan):

701 Shelby_Landscape Plan_040313

701 Shelby Landscape Plan

As you can see from the plan, there is a strong emphasis on native plantings and minimizing the use of turf. We all know the problems and issues that grass lawns create, and this house has always been about living the right way, living responsibly. The landscape is a direct reflection of this mantra, with a series of low maintenance, local trees, grasses, flowering plants, and plenty of space for raised vegetable garden beds.

Keep a watch on the blog for updated photos as the work begins. The landscape will really tie everything together and demonstrate the home’s strong intention to marry interior with exterior, house and landscape.

Also, there will be some updates in the near future on some changes in plans with the lot in Fountain Square…as some issues were encountered…though I still plan on building in the neighborhood…no doubt about that.

Thanks for following the blog and look for some more regularity being brought back to it!

2013…

photo(6)d

Well…it’s the start of a new year.  Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog throughout 2012 and been a part of the crazy ride that is 701 Shelby.  It has definitely seen it’s share of ups and downs but it has most definitely all been worth it.

I apologize for the lack of posts for some time now…this will be remedied in 2013.  Here are a few quick updates on 701 Shelby:

  • Most work at 701 has been completed.  At this point, it is primarily furnishing and minor interior work to be done.  This has included the installation of the wardrobe closet, bathroom storage, sliding barn doors, window coverings, furniture, etc…A recap of the the house in general is due and will presented in the near future.
  • My brother, Patrick, has now moved into the house and has been living there for about a month.
  • In regards to interior furnishings…I will be featuring a few posts detailing a few of the furniture pieces in the house, as a couple of the pieces were done by myself and also the work of a few friends.
  • Interior Pictures will be posted as they become available…this has been somewhat delayed simply by the moving-in process and waiting for things to get to a more finished state.
  • Landscape work will not begin until spring breaks, but there will be much discussion on this as well…as it is a very important aspect of the home.  There has always been a strong intent to merge interior and exterior, nature and house.

As a result of the house being occupied, this blog will also slowly begin to evolve into more than just a blog about 701 Shelby.  It will delve into other design related topics, including the discussion and featuring of all things design related, with a focus on the local Indianapolis and Midwest community.

If you have suggestions on what you would like to see this blog bring in 2013, feel free to leave some comments.  This is a great opportunity to help shape the future of urbanhomeINDY and it’s direction and would be very valuable.  As the blog is titled, urbanhomeINDY, it seems fairly obvious that the blog should have a focus on things urban related, things home related, and things Indy related. This is what you will begin to see more of. Here are a few potentials for what might appear on urbanhomeINDY in 2013:

  • Design discussion/reviews of new architectural works in Indianapolis and the Midwest.
  • Discussion on residential design, inspiration, key projects worth seeing, etc.
  • Periodic featuring of local designers and their work
  • Discussion/calendar of design related events
  • Periodic analysis/discussion on existing urban conditions in Indianapolis and the Midwest and opportunities for unique interventions from both the architecture and design communities

Any thoughts or wishes???