Fenix

Designed by David O’Brien Wagner

When the Owners bought their home overlooking Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis they knew they had found the Modern home they had always wanted. What appealed to them was a midcentury masterpiece hidden beneath a half-century of neglect. The house was designed by James Stageberg, an influential architect and professor whose work embraced clean forms and open spaces.

The home’s cedar siding was rotted and missing in places, while the original garage was leaking and near collapse. The owners approached the design team with a desire to replace the home’s siding and build a new garage that would accommodate both of their cars [while finally allowing them to open their car trunks]. In addition they asked the garage be naturally daylit and to fit with the legacy of Stageberg’s design.

City zoning requirements led to a similar location and volume of the new garage relative to the existing. Maintaining the view from the street to the home was a paramount concern to our design team. A slight plan shift to the west allowed for a modest 1’ increase in the garage width without changing the eastern wall edge, and therefore visual access to the home. A height increase of one foot allowed for needed structural depth and also an increase of interior height to 8’-4”.

The new garage exterior retains a familiar form to the home, while allowing the front and back elevations to bring increased daylight to the garage interior. Inside, white-painted walls allow for maximum reflection of daylight from the garage door and clerestory window, while the baltic-birch plywood ceiling adds warmth to complement the cedar siding. Off-the-shelf light fixtures were combined with a custom steel armature to align with reveal joints at the birch panels, while frosted glass above the clerestory windows conceals a linear LED light source.

Photographs by Troy Thies
Awards:
AIA Minnesota/MplsStPaul Magazine RAVE Award, 2014
Publications:
MplsStPaul Magazine, July 2014