Graham Black, gProjects, LLC
Brad Stohl, b9 architects
3/6/9 10:15-11:00 am
There are loose notes from the Built Green Conference in Seattle, the morning session I went to. I will clean this up later – but it is good to get it up now for all my readers!
Omitting square footage and creating a framework for people to have shared experiences makes for a better life and gives them a sense of confidence and community and enable them to engage at another level elsewhere.
Their two key points are: Providing space for spontaneous interaction. Putting car at edge of project and creating space at the center of the community for pedestrian movement opportunity is created.
Project at 19th and Pine. 7 home project. 5 star BG, clustered around reclaimed brick courtyard. Deconstructed 3 homes that were there. They reused materials from the 80-90 year old homes in places where they encourage new homeowners to linger, creating a direct connection back to the homes that used to be there. Site planning is important to creating this sense of community. They allowed the brick path to run and fall with the ground contours – they did not resculpt the land. It gives the project a feeling of depth or a sense of having been there for a long time.
Half of the homes are set into the slope 4.5-5 feet. So your kitchen window, when looking across the "canyon", is looking at the wall across, not a window – and you are experiencing texture. So your neighbors does not have a view into your private space.
Some of the siding is from the barracks at Ft Lewis. Also wind fallen timber. Found mid-project and incorporated into e construction. The barracks siding is fir, which is unusual for building exteriors. Each home home has a different width so there is variety in texture in the canyon.
They really do not want to provide space for cars. They did not build garages. Some of the covered parking is a deck for one of the homes. One of the carports has a green roof. They discouraged use of cars to the extent of shrinking the driveway width to 8 feet from 10, and there is a tree there that must be navigated around. The thought process was when you wanted to go to the store, getting the car out was such a hassle that you would decide to walk or use your bike instead. They have a community agenda and look actively to discourage its use.
They have a community garden (about 700 sq ft) and the mailboxes are in the center to encourage accidental interaction. Another example, the deck was off one of the bedrooms and far from the kitchen, encouraging the owner instead to put the grill out in front of the house, which was much closer to the kitchen, and would allow interaction with neighbors and perhaps "picking up a new spice rub",
Site specific approach needs to be for more than just the architecture, but in relation to the building code. Do you have to do just what the code says?
Front doors are required to face the street. The homes that are only in the canyon have their front doors in the canyon so they also face the street. The decks of the homes are also in the canyon, to encourage interaction and connectivity with people there, no matter what space they are in (on a deck, or on the ground). Private outdoor spaces are also provided, on the outside of the homes, that are screened with landscaping materials and low fences.
They included public art in the project. Timber in the arbor is from the homes that used to be there. The mailboxes are standard mail boxes that have each been painted. He recommends pushing back at the USPS, it really wants you ot use those big square hulking things.
There are PVC on the roof of the shed. During the day they put energy into the grid, and in the evening the power goes to the community.
The project is set up as an LLC.