university of arkansas community design center, fayetteville, ark.
Parks—not pipes. That was the rallying call behind Porchscapes, where a series of water treatment parks is the connective tissue for an entire low-income community. The low-impact development, which received EPA funding, is organized into five smaller neighborhoods, each clustered around a plaza or a landscape system that replaces the conventional retention pond.
The plan borrows from the Dutch idea of a “living street,” which combines walkways, auto courts, and natural-looking bioretention systems with traffic throughways. Facing onto each common area are one-story houses with porches that can be screened or enclosed with storage units. “The porches extend the living area inexpensively and connect these public spaces and the house,” explains project architect Katie Breshears, AIA, LEED AP. The arrangement “creates a better sense of community and starts to develop that ‘I’ll watch your kids if you watch mine’ mentality.”
The judges praised the elegance of the house forms and the innovative site plan. As one succinctly put it, “The strength of the project is that it’s outside in, not inside out.”
principal in charge / project architect: Katie Breshears, AIA, LEED AP, University of Arkansas Community Design Center, uacdc.uark.edu
land planner: Stephen Luoni, Assoc. AIA, University of Arkansas Community Design Center
developer: Wendi Y. Jones, Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, Fayetteville, Ark.
landscape architect: Chris Suneson, RLA, McClelland Consulting Engineers, Fayetteville
project size: 1,150 square feet to 1,250 square feet per unit
site size: 8.8 acres
construction cost: Projected $60 per square foot (not including labor)
sales price: $69,000 to $75,000 per unit
units in project: 43
renderings: Courtesy University of Arkansas Community Design Center
exterior siding: James Hardie Building Products www.jameshardie.com; paints/stains/wall finishes: The Sherwin-Williams Co. www.sherwin-williams.com; permeable pavers: Pavestone Co. www.pavestone.com; roofing: TAMKO Building Products www.tamko.com