So, you want to build housing in an already developed urban area while keeping it affordable and avoid mass demolition and relocation. Cool. In that case, you can adaptive reuse, and/or build in the interstitial spaces, those little lots and underused and awkward side yards and alleyways. In the case of Starter Home* 1 (the * is part of the name, not a footnote…), that’s exactly what OJT did. Squeezed into a narrow lot in New Orleans, the home is pretty much what it says on the tin, a nice house for those just starting out.
Befitting the nature of the project, the constraints and surroundings of the site informed the design. And while there are a few choices I’m not fond of, it is a nicely done solution. The front face of the house starts low, to maintain the scale with its neighbors, before rising towards the rear, up to the maximum height allowed by code. In addition, the front gutter and first of the sawtooth roof ridges closely align with the roofline of one of the ones next door, a subtle but harmonizing move that further ties the home to the community.
Inside, we have a two and a half level home, sporting an airy loft near the back. I especially like the interval between the house and the cleaned muscular brick of its neighbor, as the space between acts both a lightwell and, with its gapless wood deck kissing the wall, a nice textured backdrop. The open plan and plethora of windows keeps the house feeling big and grand, ready to accommodate multitudes. And if you want to curl up in a cozy spot, that loft’s got you covered.
It’s always great when a research project gets built to really test things out. This one came out quite fine.