Affordable Housing / Merit
The jury praised the innovative nature of this four-unit affordable housing project, part of a larger development in Topeka, Kan. “It’s a really creative architectural approach,” said a judge. Principal-in-charge Josh Shelton, AIA, of el dorado credits the Topeka Housing Authority for its willingness to take risks. “They gave us the freedom to rethink what a duplex is,” he says.
El dorado staggered the units so the walls could gain exposure to cross-ventilation and natural light. A central courtyard gives the residents a semi-private place to gather, and upper-level balconies provide another outdoor option. The variegated coloring of the project’s fiber-cement board rainscreen siding allows its pieces to be easily switched out in the future. “We were thinking ahead about maintenance strategies,” Shelton says. He also notes builder Kelley Construction’s attention to detail. “They put in such a meticulous level of craftsmanship.”