Panhandle Hybrids

Objective: To design a community of over thirty residences and one civic space in a small town twenty miles north of Florida's 30A corridor.

Response: With the intention of providing affordable accommodations for the resort coast's work force, this project explores an architecture of affordability.  In an effort to create both economic feasibility and cultural meaning, two traditional southern housing types were hybridized to create new types that improve upon the original cost effectiveness and quality of space.  The two resulting types are the Courtyard Shotgun House and the Single House Flat.

The overarching site strategy begins with a pre-existing masterplan that saw the greater context divided into three segments.  A secondary street grid was introduced to create a more urban and pedestrian-friendly block size.  Three mid-block laneway loops were added for parking and 'back-of-house' activity.  Each of the  original segments also received dedicated civic space for small scale public programming.  The parcel located at the terminus of the main entry road has been reserved for a larger scale civic structure.  This project focuses on the western block in the middle of the northern most segment.



The shotgun house is a historical architectural type made famous as an urban building block in cities such as New Orleans.  The shotgun sees all domestic programs aligned in a single row with no corridor space (one walks through one area to get to the other).  This makes for a cost effective and climatically responsive building type with each room having cross ventilation.  The private outdoor space that a traditional shotgun offers, however, is less desirable.  The options are to either occupy the side yards between buildings or to extend the parcel backwards and make use of the backyard.  Both options decrease the potential density of a block.  The proposed Courtyard Shotgun House deconstructs the traditional shotgun by shifting and rotating the programs.  The resulting module can than be proliferated side-to-side and, more importantly, back-to-back.  The resulting structure is a dense, single level community.  The topographical roof shape is a derivation of the rotated units, a canted ridge line, and an inverted gable that produces a low center (where the private quarters are) and high street wall.

Each unit is approximately 900 sq ft and houses two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen area, living room, and dining area.  Four outdoor areas are provided -- three courtyards and one front porch.  The courtyards, given their size and location, each have a different character.  The original circulation diagram of the traditional shotgun house is retained.



The Charleston Single House is arguably the United States most successful architectural type with respect to prioritizing the quality of both the public and private realms.  The single room width allows for bright, cross ventilated spaces while the co-ordinated orientation of the transverse porches creates a rich and dynamic urban fabric.  The Single House Flats seek to retain these qualities while increasing the density and affordability of the units within.  In this scheme, the opaque garden wall that often connects the buildings is conceptually extruded backwards while the two level single house is lifted one level.  The result is two units on the same parcel, and with the same profile; An accessible flat on the ground level and a two level single house accessed via a private outdoor stair.  The faceted roof directs rainfall away from the sides (where the main outdoor space is located) towards an incorporated downspout in the forward-most column.

The ground level flat is a one bedroom, fully accessible unit.  The garage serves the two bedroom single house that sits on top.  The center-stair plan of the single house creates a desirable collection of spaces whose program could conceivably be quite fluid.  The front rain garden in which the aforementioned drainage column lands, directs the rain water runoff into a central management system,



The on-site public programming offered in this development is yet another hybrid; a laundromat/cafe.  Tthe sharing of a basic utility like laundry fosters a sentiment that is consistent with that of the rest of the development.  By combining it with a cafe, or the 'third space', and placing it in the most prominent and public location of the masterplan, it becomes a social activity.  The building itself is a carefully located 'lift' in the civic square.  One corner in raised 30' in the air, supported by five main structural members (all of which are straight) and clad in the same paving material that covers the rest of the public surface.  The plan features an implicit divide by way of the second entrance's axis, where one half houses the cafe and the other is occupied by the laundry facilities.

Completed: April 2017

Course: Advanced Studio II at the Yale School of Architecture

Critics: Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and George Knight