Within the city, opportunities to build a new home face challenges that are often different than building in a suburban area. The primary challenge is that vacant land is not readily available. More often than not, a property already has a house on it that requires demolition in order to build a new home. Sometimes a buildable lot becomes available when it was originally part of a larger property and has been sub-divided from that property. Other times, a house has been removed previously or has been destroyed by fire, which creates a vacant property.
In the case of the home I designed in Southeast Minneapolis that was featured in the Homes By Architects Tour, the original home had been removed well before my clients purchased the property. This corner lot was a jewel in a well-established neighborhood. This neighborhood, as well as other established neighborhoods, has a sense of rhythm, scale and proportion. A major goal of the project was to respect these attributes and be a “good neighbor”.
This goal was achieved by respecting the scale and proportion of the homes along the street. We did not need or want to design and build a home as big as the zoning codes would allow. Rather, the design program was established that would allow for a well designed home that fit my clients lifestyle and budget, as well as the existing rhythm, scale and proportion of the neighborhood. The fact that my clients expressed an affinity for craftsman bungalows, a recognized design style in these established neighborhoods, helped to make this home a good neighbor. However, a home designed with a more modern aesthetic could also have achieved a welcoming sense of place by respecting the same design tenets of rhythm, scale and proportion.
During the successful two days of the Homes By Architects Tour, people visiting this house had many common responses to the home. Many thought it was a remodel. The vast majority were pleased at how well the home fit the neighborhood. Because of its design, people got the feeling that the home is actually much bigger than the true size. The interior views, the placement of windows, and the free flow of interior space all contribute to this reaction. And one of the most gratifying comments spoke to the value of the home. It was expected that the cost of the home was greater than it was. This is a tribute to the team effort put forth between the owners, architect, and builder.
The Homes By Architects Tour is a great way for the public to view and visit the work of local architects whose practice includes residential architecture. We have a rich pool of talent in our area of architects who understand the complexities of residential architecture. More importantly, we have clients who value this design skill and recognize that their largest investment, their home, will be more rewarding and enjoyable to live in when they work closely with a great team.
There was a solid attendance and great reviews for the Homes by Architects Tour last weekend. Thanks to all who could attend! To see some of the news coverage from the tour, here is a clip of Paul speaking about his project on our local CBS morning show. If you'd like to see more projects by Paul Hannan, you can visit his profile page here. If you'd like to pin some images of SALA projects from the tour last weekend, visit the SALA Architects 2013 Homes by Architects board here!