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Transform + Transcend; Competition Submission

view from the "alley"

view from the “alley”

Last week I wrapped up a submittal for the Cape Cod Add-on competition. I had been formulating the design for at least a month or two, but of course pushed it off until the last week. Lauren Schmidt (my wife) teamed with me on the project. She was able to offer assistance in interpreting some of the site constraints as well as putting together the text for the boards. I completed the building design and the graphics on my own, though Lauren obviously offered a helpful critique now and then.

Take a look at the boards below, but here’s a quick synopsis of what the project was and what the concepts were. Similarly to one of the more recent competitions I participated in, 30k, this competition is looking to add residential density in an unconventional way. The town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts is struggling to remain a viable community with the development restrictions placed upon it, there is a very thorough account of their dilemas on the competition website. They are seeking design proposals for residences to be built in the back yards of existing homes. (like I mentioned, very similar to what Brian Burtch and I proposed for 30k, really, check it out)

The concept was relatively simple, just wanted to create an efficient floor plan on a compact footprint without becoming too intrusive in the natural landscape of someone’s backyard. I’ve quoted the full board text below, along with the boards themselves.

Transform + Transcend      A rapidly buildable, sustainable home that will quickly transform Wellfleet, MA into a more diverse and livable community

This design will allow for a rapid yet aesthetically successful transformation of the existing community and its demographics. It transcends typical development infill through use of regional materials, passive sustainability features and its compact footprint.The structure’s contextual materials draw a clear connection to the Cape Cod modernist architectural movement. Sitting on only 500 square feet, its small footprint and simple construction consists of structurally insulated panels and a pier foundation. The design can be quickly implemented, creating an income property with minimal time and expense. In addition, the compact, 2-level layout and private roof deck allows for the module to be densely developed, while maintaining adequate open space and resident privacy. For this to be as successful as possible, the size of the units could become more compact. Passive design features create a harmonious relationship with the natural setting, and, if desired, could easily qualify the structure for LEED Certification.

Benjamin McGhee
With extensive experience in the residential realm as a Graduate Architect, he has worked on a wide variety of projects, from micro apartments to single-family mansions. In 2012, he received an Honorable Mention in the HOME competition, by Building Trust International, for the design of a single occupancy home to be constructed for under $30,000. The concept proposes a model of development along the alleys of abandoned lots and houses as a way to densify existing neighborhoods. Currently a LEED Green Associate and pursuing his LEED Accredited Professional Homes, he possesses extensive knowledge in the design of passive homes that respond to their context and climate.

His active commitment to design and revitalization within existing communities makes the opportunity to further develop Wellfleet, Massachusetts an ideal match.

Lauren Schmidt
As a practicing Graduate Landscape Architect, who lives and works in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, she has a true appreciation for design of all shapes and sizes. A recent graduate from Ball State University, her final thesis focused on daylighting Pogue’s Run as a catalyst for neighborhood redevelopment in the Near South of Indianapolis. The project won the 2012 INASLA Student Award of Excellence. In addition, she was a Finalist in the Monument Circle Idea Competition, which was conducted to generate bold ideas and creativity in how Indianapolis can maximize the future of the Circle. With a passion for environmental-conscious design, she has been involved in the design and installation of several community projects near downtown Indianapolis, all of which implement native, low-maintenance plantings.

Any successful community depends upon the landscape that holds it together. Within the fragile Cape Cod ecosystem, her involvement would enable Wellfleet to create a system that fully integrates the built and natural environments.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about any of it. There’s plenty that I haven’t said here and that didn’t make it on the boards. The competition is two phases, so if all were to go awesomely, Lauren and I would be able to spend a week in one of these fantastic homes as we further developed the design for the competition’s second phase. Fingers crossed until March 31st!

About bjmcghee

Architect in training.


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