Dual House

with Katherine Blackman, Jackson Lindsay, Matthew Liu, Jewel Pei, David Schaengold & Arghavan Taheri

For the 51st Jim Vlock Building Project and second collaboration with homelessness advocacy organization Columbus House, our team proposed a design that would offer each resident a sense of individuality as well as privacy, with light-filled spaces that celebrate the rituals and routines of domestic life.

Our scheme drew upon the vernacular of the Hill neighbourhood in New Haven, an amalgam of expressive porches and ro of lines, while our siting strategy followed the staccato rhythm of a street composed of narrow, non-conforming lots.

Neighbourhood plan with demolition and addition of structures over time

The use of recycled cross-laminated timber, which was donated by the NFPA for this year’s building project, distinguishes the two households by enclosing the two-story family unit, a monolithic volume set against the lightness of the stick-frame individual unit. The result is a pair of unique dwellings, an adjacency that is implied along the party wall.

The independence of each unit is echoed in the site. The family unit expands into the backyard, while the south wall of the individual unit opens onto a raised lawn. These separate outdoor spaces are bounded by shared parking and a rain garden that together imply a mediating diagonal.

Axonometric view of building sequenceAxonometric view of building sequence

South elevation

Interior spaces are arranged in a play of volume and line. Internal bands organize zones for services and circulation, while volumes cut across the grain to enclose private spaces. The difference in living styles between the two units and the autonomy of their respective occupants are celebrated and emphasized in the design.

Interior views of double-height family unit and south-facing individual unit

Exterior view of house and backyard

Detail sections of party wall and CLT wall with window insert

Model depicting spatial and structural difference between the two units