Arbor Walk – A Pocket Neighborhood
Arbor Walk – A Pocket Neighborhood
I remember getting a call from the developer inquiring about residential design services for a piece of property he was wanting to develop. It was a nice sized lot next to his condominiums, which is another fantastic project he had developed several years back. But, He wanted me come up with some conceptual layouts for site planning and building placement for the property. We looked at what type of buildings, single family, duplex style a mix of both & number of units we could place on the property.
With it been one piece of property with several dwellings, for inspiration I looked back to the Bungalow Courts that were built in Pasadena California in the early 1900’s. They were a form of multi-family housing that involved groupings of small individual houses or duplexes oriented around a common landscaped courtyard, usually on one property that where very popular from the inception in 1909 to around 1942. Some were developed for seasonal use but eventually evolved to permanent residences. In the mid 1990’s architect Ross Chaplin revived this type of building and coined the term “pocket neighborhood”. The common areas and the front porch are import parts of the pocket neighborhood. Living in a pocket neighborhood allows you to sit on the front porch chat with a neighbor and get to know them on a daily basis. Pocket Neighborhoods encourages informal interaction among neighbors that building caring and lasting relationships. They are a perfect fit for any walk of life from Singles to young couples starting families to Empty-Nesters, Really anyone who wants to live in a tight-knit community.
After presenting several conceptual layouts to the developer , He decided to move forward with an 8 unit single family pocket neighborhood layout. We then sat down and discuss the size, style of the homes, amenities and over all feel of the neighborhood, these face to face meetings help me determine a good direction when I sit down to design the floor plans and their exterior look. We wanted a traditional look with a modern flare and wanted to add some amenities like attached two car garages, basements, and a gated entry that are not typical in most pocket neighborhoods, but these elements add so much to the development when implemented and designed correctly. To do this we designed alley ways behind the dwellings so the cars and traffic do not invade the shared pedestrian space, but allows the home owners the luxury of an attached oversized two car garage. We have placed each dwelling on top of a full basement, which gives the home owners plenty of room for storage or it also allows them to expand their finished square footage space if need be without adding on or expanding the building footprint. With the addition of gated car and pedestrian entries, it allows the home owners to feel secure but also allow them connect with neighbors in the pocket community. We have also tried to balance the common and private spaces, by careful placement of doors and windows and side deck areas to ensure privacy for each dwelling, but also allow active areas like front porches that face the common area where you can interact with your neighbor and visit.
After developing several floor plans with multiple exterior elevations. The developer and I sat down once again and went through each plan tweaking them to bring them to homes that we see here today. I am proud of how the final project turn out. Working with developer was a joy. Seeing my designs come to life in the development and seeing the developer add his own unique sense of detailing to the finished materials of each home makes them each a one of a kind work of art. From the exterior frog shaped door bell, interior and exterior lighting choices, Kitchen and Bath finish materials. The final touches make each homes interior & exterior pop.
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