The Pocket House

After completing the master plan for a new pocket neighborhood in upper Lafayette for Habitat for Humanity, I was charged with designing a small 3 bedroom home one one of the two irregularly shaped lots flanking the new neighborhood entrance.  The triangular shaped Lot tapered from 70 feet to less than 22 feet in width along the length of the lot and much of the lot was unusable due to drainage easements and setbacks, leaving approximately 3,000 sq ft of actual buildable area on the lot.

The site design strategy, in order to properly maximize the street frontage, favorable views, and sun angles, consists of orienting the structure along the East-West axis with deep porches facing both street fronts. Thicker walls and strategic plantings to the North-West will address traffic noise originating from East Pinhook rd. and being amplified by the short perpendicular section of Gauthier Street, and will help to reduce the heat loss in the winter from the cooler Northern originating winds. Properly sized overhangs, and windows on the South face will provide ample light into the structure without adding excessive heat gain.

The theoretic design strategy was to express the overall master planning strategy, diagrammatically in the new house.  The pocket neighborhood master plan consist of inserting a new neighborhood into an old, existing neighborhood. Thusly the layout strategy of the home consist of inserting a new design element in between two traditional (craftsman bungalow) architectural elements. The pocket neighborhood master plan turns to address East Pinhook Road and Gauthier Street., and consequently my design also addresses both frontage streets, Gauthier Street and the new alleyway. The layout and design of the homes in the master plan provides porches on both sides of the structure, the public East Pinhook Road porch and the more private internal alleyway porch. In staying true to this scheme, my design will reflect this same relationship of the public outfacing porches and the more private internal porches.  The homes in the existing old neighborhood have very little to no response to the local site and environmental constraints and opportunities, but the new pocket neighborhood homes have much more of a response tot he local site and environmental conditions. Consequently, in my design the more traditional portions of the home has little response to the local site and environmental conditions, while the new contemporary portion of the home is hypersensitive to the local site and environmental constraints and opportunities.  Overall, the pocket house design expresses the overall planning strategy of the master plan and diagrams the interaction and design strategies happening at the neighborhood scale.


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