Developing high-density housing on small urban infill sites while maintaining plentiful light, air, and open space can be a challenge. This 20-unit townhouse project begins by drawing inspiration from both Dutch rowhouses and British garden mews.
The tall, narrow townhomes face each other across semi-private patios and landscaped courtyards. Garden paths lead past front landings to a shared grove courtyard lined with benches and public art—a series of kinetic steel birdhouse sculptures made by a local artist.
The simple arrangement of the four buildings on a long, narrow half-acre site results in a density of 44 units per acre. Each row of attached homes is flanked by a shared courtyard shaded with native, drought-tolerant plantings on one side, and a permeable-paved auto court on the other.
Each individual house has a unique facade and fenestration, adding individuality to the concept of community living, as well as personal outdoor space complemented by the shared gardens. The project maximizes a small urban infill site yet maintains more than one-fourth of the property as green open space. These infill homes make use of existing parks, public transit, and walkable and bikeable streets, strengthening a sense of community and ownership while promoting alternate forms of transit.
This project is the first multi-family attached housing development in the state certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's pilot LEED for Homes program, which sets the standard for green building. The decision to use sustainable elements throughout—including bamboo flooring, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, fly-ash concrete, and drought-tolerant landscaping—added only $1,500 per each market-rate ownership townhouse to the overall project.
The modern townhouses—all LEED for Homes-certified—range in size from 1,300 to 1,700 square feet, with living spaces creatively stacked in three and four levels on a modest footprint with economy and elegance. The homes, consciously smaller than the national average, feature multi-use spaces that combine luxury with practical flexibility. Full advantage is taken of the height of each unit, with private steam rooms tucked under stairways and upholstered “chill pods” nested in the mezzanines that bisect the double-height living rooms.