donald powers architects, providence, r.i.

Our judges gave this project an award both for what it is--a modest production house model that exemplifies quality over quantity--and for what it isn't. "It's not McMansiony," said one judge. "In the world of traditionally styled production housing, this really stands out."

This was precisely the point, says architect Donald Powers. The client, Warwick Grove Co., he explains, is committed to redefining the suburban model. For this traditional neighborhood design community, Warwick sought a series of homes that encourage interaction with neighbors while also embracing unique design and quality materials. Because the homes target older adults, Powers located main living areas on the first floor and relegated guest rooms and secondary spaces to the upper level. A combination of defined but overlapping spaces and open areas makes the compact houses feel spacious.

The community plan calls for 150 homes sited close together on small lots, so the homes needed to have better than average exterior detailing, says Powers. "We couldn't get away with vinyl when the house is close to the street," he says. Instead, Western red cedar, fiber cement, and cedar doors greet the street. "The restraint of detail--the trim, molding, the use of color--is masterful," one judge said.

principal in charge: Donald Powers, Donald Powers Architects, Providence, R.I., in collaboration with Jeff Degraw, Degraw & Dehaan, Middletown, N.Y.
land planner: Michael Watkins, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., Gaithersburg, Md.
developer: Warwick Grove Co., Tuxedo, N.Y.
general contractor: Warwick Grove Co., Tuxedo
landscape architect: Karen Arent, Karen Arent Landscape Architect, Goshen, N.Y.
interior designer: Patricia Stadel, Patricia Stadel Interior Design, East Petersburg, Pa.
project size: 2,400 square feet
site size: 38 acres
construction cost: $100 per square foot
sales price: $475,000
photographer: Jeff Herbert