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Examples of Well-Executed Infill Projects in Urban and Suburban Neighborhoods

Examples of Well-Executed Infill Projects in Urban and Suburban Neighborhoods

  • The B House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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    The B House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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    Dean Kaufman

    2012 rada
    Custom / 3,000 Square Feet or Less, Merit
    B+W House, Minneapolis 


    architect
    : Julie Snow, FAIA, Julie Snow Architects; general contractor: Mike Wallein, Daiku Corp., Oakdale, Minn.; landscape architects: Matt Olson and Mike Brady, ROLU, rosenlof/lucas, Minneapolis
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    Dean Kaufman

  • A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

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    A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

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    Dean Kaufman

    A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

  • The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

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    The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

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    Dean Kaufman

    The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

  • The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

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    The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

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    Dean Kaufman

    The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

  • Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

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    Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

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    Dean Kaufman

    Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

  • Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

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    Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

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    Dean Kaufman

    Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

  • The home's site plan.

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    The home's site plan.

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    Julie Snow Architects

    The home's site plan.

  • The home's first and second floor plans.

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    The home's first and second floor plans.

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    Julie Snow Architects

    The home's first and second floor plans.

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    Adam Sokol

    Design Studio April 2012
    Home Study: Light Plan


     Architect / Builder: Adam Sokol

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    kc kratt

    The almost solid rear elevation blocks undesirable views of nearby houses. The patio is cut out from the building's form to provide protection. "The cutouts also de-emphasize the volume," Sokol says. That volume is clad in EcoStar shingles that are manufactured using recycled tires Sokol adds.

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    courtesy asap pllc

    The site plan shows how many houses abut the narrow lot in this dense neighborhood.

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    courtesy asap pllc

    This drawing shows Sokol's simple starting point and the moves he made in response to the site and program that resulted in the final form.

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    kc kratt

    The western wall cants away from the adjacent house at a 6-degree angle to allow natural light into the neighbor's living spaces.

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    Adam Sokol

    A small terrace on the third floor can't be seen from the street and is sheltered by a large oak tree. "It's very hidden," Sokoal says, "and people are often surprised when they discover it."

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    kc kratt

    The combined kitchen and dining space gains sunlight from three directions--the oversized patio door, the windows at the top of an open stair, and a glass wall in the living room.

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    The second-floor guest bedroom has built-in bookshelves and a cozy alcove that can be used for multiple purposes.

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    kc kratt

    Sokol opened the three-story stairwell and aligned it with large windows and skylights. To save on cost and to integrate the stair with the interior spaces, Sokol designed a "distorted spiral drywall railing that winds down the entire stair."

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    kc kratt

    The angled wall in the top-floor master suite is clad in natural birch for a pale reflective surface that amplifies natural light throughout the room.

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    Adam Sokol

    Detail showing the birch wall panels and sunlight being reflected.

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    kc kratt

    The master bath shower is also tucked beneath the offset ridgeline and brightened with an operable skylight.

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    Adam Sokol

    An evening streetscape shows the close proximity of neighboring houses.

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    Adam Sokol

    The distant tower vista as seen from inside the house.

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    Floor plans

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    Section drawings

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    Sharon Risedorph

    residential architect September-October 2009
    internal logic


    project
    : Mullen Street House; architect: Steely Architecture, San Francisco; general contractor: Structura General Contractors, San Francisco; landscape architect: Bernard Trainor + Associates, Pacific Grove, Calif.
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    Sharon Risedorph

    Cutouts weave outdoor spaces into the volume of the building.

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    Sharon Risedorph

     

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    Sharon Risedorph

    Bath cabinets are faced in a zebrawood veneer.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    Two floors below, a sheltered outdoor space tunnels through the building, joining its private and public sides.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    The top-floor master bedroom opens onto a rooftop deck.

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    The landscaped side yard climbs in a series of terraces that relate to interior floor elevations. Exterior materials that wrap into the building reinforce the inside-outside connection.

  • The owner requested a compact building footprint to maximize the outdoor space.

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    The owner requested a compact building footprint to maximize the outdoor space.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    2011 rada
    Custom / 3,000 Square Feet or Less, Merit
    Hampden Lane House, Bethesda, Md. 


    architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect; project designer: Brian Tuskey, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect; general contractor: John Thompson, Freedom First Homes, Bethesda, Md.; engineer: D. Anthony Beale, D. Anthony Beale LLC, Springfield, Va.
  • Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

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    Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

  • An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

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    An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

  • Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

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    Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

  • A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

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    A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

  • A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

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    A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

  • Ribbonlike windows edit out unwanted views.

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    Ribbonlike windows edit out unwanted views.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Ribbonlike windows edit out unwanted views.

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    John McCauley

    2008 RADA single-family production / detached, merit
    urban infill 02, milwaukee


    principals in charge / project architects / interior designers: Brian Johnsen, AIA, and Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, Johnsen Schmaling Architects; developer / general contractor: Marty Radocha, T.R. Martin Builders, Milwaukee
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    John McCauley

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    John McCauley

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    600

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    Benny Chan

    Design Studio August 2012
    Urban Arts Compound


    Architect: Studio 0.10, Los Angeles
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    Benny Chan

    Studio 0.10 architects conceived of the MuSh Residence as two volumes, with the art studio, the garage, and apartment located with ease of access from the street.

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    Benny Chan

    The main house is located toward the rear of the lot, creating a courtyard between the two volumes and offering views of the nearby nursery.

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    Benny Chan

    From the nursery, the two- and three-story volumes rise above the single-level homes in the neighborhood.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The corner of the home shows a detail of the custom-patterned zinc rain screen, which creates a breathable air space that prevents heat transfer from the outside to the inside.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The architects designed a circulation/art display form that is framed in ipe.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    High-performance glass largely eliminates the penetration of harmful UV light to protect artwork.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The apartment in the front volume features a long narrow plan and polished concrete floors.

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    Undine Prohl

    In addition to the circulation/art display form, a Santa Barbara, Calif., craftsman fabricated all the windows and doors from solid ipe hardwood.

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    Undine Prohl

    The dining room and kitchen overlook the courtyard. Folding ipe doors bring in lots of light.

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    Undine Prohl

    Juxtaposed against the exteriors, the interiors are light and bright with ipe wood floors and white-painted gypsum walls.

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    Undine Prohl

    Folding doors allow views of the backyard and allow cross ventilation.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The floor plans of the two volumes.

  • MuSh_ID.indd

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The exploded axo shows the various design elements of the home.

  • The Linden Hills Cottage's carefully planned proportions help give it the feeling of an older house, to better fit into its Minneapolis neighborhood.

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    The Linden Hills Cottage's carefully planned proportions help give it the feeling of an older house, to better fit into its Minneapolis neighborhood.

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    Ken Gutmaker

    CHDA 2012
    Custom Home / 3,000 to 5,000 Square Feet, Merit
    Linden Hills Cottage, Minneapolis


    Entrant/Architect: Rehkamp Larson Architects, Minneapolis; Builder: JS Johnson & Associates, Hopkins, Minn.; Landscape designer: Field Outdoor Spaces, Minneapolis; Interior designer: Alecia Stevens, Minneapolis
  • "The scale of the pieces and parts is so important," says architect Jean Rehkamp Larson. Case in point: the home's well-detailed entry foyer.

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    "The scale of the pieces and parts is so important," says architect Jean Rehkamp Larson. Case in point: the home's well-detailed entry foyer.

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    Ken Gutmaker

    "The scale of the pieces and parts is so important," says architect Jean Rehkamp Larson. Case in point: the home's well-detailed entry foyer.

  • The Custom Home Design Awards judges especially admired the project's light-filled kitchen.

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    The Custom Home Design Awards judges especially admired the project's light-filled kitchen.

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    Ken Gutmaker

    The Custom Home Design Awards judges especially admired the project's light-filled kitchen.

  • Throughout the house, ceiling beams and trim define spaces within spaces.

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    Throughout the house, ceiling beams and trim define spaces within spaces.

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    Ken Gutmaker

    Throughout the house, ceiling beams and trim define spaces within spaces.

  • Larson tucked one of the home's four bedrooms under the eaves on the second level.

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    Larson tucked one of the home's four bedrooms under the eaves on the second level.

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    Ken Gutmaker

    Larson tucked one of the home's four bedrooms under the eaves on the second level.

  • The home's main level floor plan.

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    The home's main level floor plan.

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    Rehkamp Larson Architects

    The home's main level floor plan.

  • The home's upper level floor plan.

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    The home's upper level floor plan.

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    Rehkamp Larson Architects

    The home's upper level floor plan.

  • The home's lower level floor plan.

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    The home's lower level floor plan.

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    Rehkamp Larson Architects

    The home's lower level floor plan.

  • The home's site plan.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpE916%2Etmp_tcm48-1250488.jpg

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    The home's site plan.

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    Rehkamp Larson Architects

    The home's site plan.

  • Elevation drawings for the Linden Hills Cottage.

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    Elevation drawings for the Linden Hills Cottage.

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    Rehkamp Larson Architects

    Elevation drawings for the Linden Hills Cottage.

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    Custom Home March 2006
    On Site: Courtyard Compound


    Builder: Shramek Building Co., Huntington Beach, Calif.; Architect: Steven Ehrlich Architects, Culver City, Calif.; Landscape designer: Jay Griffith, Venice, Calif.
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    By separating the project into a main house (left) and garage/guest house (this page, rear) Ehrlich created an outdoor room that acts as an extension of both spaces.

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    Existing trees, new landscaping, and a perimeter wall all enhance this urban home’s sense of privacy.

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  • Split_Level_House

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    Split_Level_House

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    Todd Mason

    Custom Home January/February 2012
    On Site: Internal Logic


    Builder: McCoubrey/Overholser, Philadelphia; Architect: Qb3 Design, Philadelphia; Living space: 3,000 square feet; Site: 0.02 acres; Construction cost: $400 per square foot; Photographer: Todd Mason/Halkin Photography
  • Brick walls, mahogany windows, sapele siding, and the sandblasted concrete entry platform are a twist on traditional neighborhood materials.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpD2F%2Etmp_tcm48-1028598.jpg

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    Brick walls, mahogany windows, sapele siding, and the sandblasted concrete entry platform are a twist on traditional neighborhood materials.

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    Todd Mason

    Brick walls, mahogany windows, sapele siding, and the sandblasted concrete entry platform are a twist on traditional neighborhood materials.

  • The bullnose facade references other corner buildings on the street.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpD30%2Etmp_tcm48-1028602.jpg

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    The bullnose facade references other corner buildings on the street.

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    Todd Mason

    The bullnose facade references other corner buildings on the street.

  • Split_Level_House

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    Split_Level_House

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    Todd Mason

    The home’s framing system, a hybrid of steel and engineered wood, helped trim costs.

  • Split_Level_House

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    Split_Level_House

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    Todd Mason

    Blackened oak storage consoles double as room dividers throughout the house.

  • The exterior brick wall continues into the foyer.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpD33%2Etmp_tcm48-1028615.jpg

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    The exterior brick wall continues into the foyer.

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    Todd Mason

    The exterior brick wall continues into the foyer.

  • Split_Level_House

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    Split_Level_House

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    Todd Mason

    A blackened steel stair frame stitches the levels together, as do the oiled steel handrails and pickled white oak flooring.

  • Clad in anthracite zinc, the master suite is 4 feet lower than the roof terrace.

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    Clad in anthracite zinc, the master suite is 4 feet lower than the roof terrace.

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    Todd Mason

    Clad in anthracite zinc, the master suite is 4 feet lower than the roof terrace.

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    Paul Dyer

    CUSTOM HOME November-December 2012
    On Site: Altitude Adjustment


    Builder: Thompson Suskind, San Francisco; Architect: John Maniscalco Architecture, San Francisco; Landscape architect: Shades of Green Landscape Architecture, Sausalito, Calif.; Living space: 6,608 square feet; Site: 0.066 acre; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Paul Dyer
  • Image

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    Paul Dyer

    An open kitchen/family room with a breakfast bay and a counter for casual dining stretches the width of the house. A full story above grade at the rear of the building, the room enjoys elevated city views.

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    Paul Dyer

    A two-story entry hall lends a sense of verticality to the living and dining areas at the front of the house.

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    Paul Dyer

    A folded street-front façade allows this guest room window to wrap a corner.

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    Paul Dyer

    The main stair channels light through the core of the building.

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    Paul Dyer

    An etched glass privacy fence expands the lower-level family room to take in the compact backyard. A gas-fueled firepit provides an off-center focal point.

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    Custom Home March 2006
    On Site: Sensitive Scale

     
    Builder: Block Builders, Bethesda, Md.; Architect: GTM Architects, Bethesda; Landscape designer: DCA Landscape Architects, Washington, D.C.
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    Period-style detailing like a coffered ceiling and built-in bookcases ensures compatibility between the home’s exterior and interior.

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Infill lots in established neighborhoods offer prospective homeowners a ready-made community as well as close proximity to work, shopping, schools, and entertainment venues. They also contain a distinct charm that comes from being set among various housing types designed and renovated over decades with different styles. Not to mention the character added by old-growth trees or quaint corner shops. 

Builders working on infill projects face multiple challenges including tight sites; design, zoning, and building regulations; and keeping neighbors happy through timely construction. Architects or designers are responsible for the size and look of the new or renovated house fitting into surrounding context. The design team also has to figure out ways to create privacy for the homeowners, but also allow occupants to enjoy natural light, views, and appealing outdoor spaces. The houses collected in the accompanying slideshow all demonstrate that extra thoughtfulness in their design and construction that comes from overcoming the constraints of an infill lot.