Modern urban life can all too often mean not knowing where your food comes from, how a product is made, or what your neighbors do for a living. The urban Canyon project seeks to enhance a sense of community by creating connections: between people and a place, between a neighborhood’s past and present, between ground and sky, and, most importantly, between people and each other.
urban Canyon is a sustainably-focused seven-home community designed around a pedestrian canyon at the project’s center. Community is prioritized throughout: all front doors directly connect to the south-facing canyon, a common p-patch garden sits at the south end of the canyon, and mailboxes (designed by a local artist) are centrally located. Parking defers to the pedestrian canyon and is located at the site’s edge. Pedestrian focused site planning and attention to detail lay the groundwork for establishing community between the homeowners through multiple places for people to gather and circulate. The seven clustered homes are more than the sum of their parts. The combination of roof shape, materials, texture, and void create spaces that feel distinctly rural, yet unmistakably current. The pea patch connects the owners with the soil and each other. Pass between the solar powered shed and pea patch to access a grasscrete driveway and pervious parking at the project’s edge. Achieving nearly a woven texture, seventy year-old reclaimed fir siding wraps its way around the structures, defining the volumes. The scale and rhythm of cladding encourages lingering by its repetition, shadows, and profile. Interior spaces typically receive natural light and air from at least three sides in all homes. The material pallette is simple and restrained, relying heavily on local products and sources. All homes utilize the sun to preheat hot water for both domestic and heating purposes. A shared shed and half of the homes utilize photovoltaic panels for electricity. Achieving the highest green standard, we utilized multiple sustainable technologies and sourced materials thoughtfully, from multiple pervious surfaces to local reclaimed wood. The seven affordably built and unique units provide the homeowners multiple places to gather and circulate.