w/ Robert Brown + Xinyi Xie
A competition entry for Big Ideas for Small Lots.
While affordable housing and in-fill designs have largely been driven by a spartan prioritization of functionality, TROJAN HOUSE aspires to those poetics of space that fosters continuous occupancy.
Adopting the facade of its neighbors, TROJAN HOUSE presents 8 efficient apartments on a 17 foot lot. The units are modular and set back from the formal facade. They face out—to the facade and backyard—with sliding glass doors and railings, opening up the entire apartment into a porch-ed unit. The circulation is covered, but open air. The interior stair-core allows a semi-private exterior space for laundry and other domestic activities. On both sides of TROJAN HOUSE, neighbours’ pre-existing brick walls are also utilized, minimizing material and spatial waste.
TROJAN HOUSE negotiates sensory spatial richness for the individual, functionally reproduced as a communal whole. The zigzagging of staircases, and cinematic qualities of private long hallways lend a romance and ownership to otherwise modest accommodations. The variation and flexibility of front and back units in combination with one another anticipates housing needs of future intergenerational, familial, or communal living, as well as changing live-work patterns of life. Furthermore, its assimilated front facades, generous light shafts to both sides, and permeable plein-air back facades attempt a softer engagement with its neighbors. Modestly dressed, TROJAN HOUSE seeks to quietly revive and reinvigorate: to sow seeds in diverse scales of occupancy and daily activity so vital to a healthy urban fabric.
If empirically economic in floor-area, TROJAN HOUSE frames space and internal movement magnanimously. Offset-tessellation of facing units create a sense that occupants have their “own floor.” Long corridors open to a light shaft in the stair-core, offering occupants valuable light and circulation. Hallways and staircases become a private atrium away from the street. At the same time, it facilitates the spatial efficiency and multifunctionality of the square, mixed-use rooms.