North Bethel Green
Affordable Carbon Neutral Housing
Location: Baltimore, MD
Client: APA American Plywood Association
Type: Competiton/Honorable Mention
Comment from the judges: Outstanding architectural design breaks the pattern of the traditional Baltimore row house with an intelligent, elegant, and well proportioned design that challenges the relationship between entry and public right-of-way.
A design competition challenging architects to rethink their perceptions of construction materials by designing and constructing homes with lower carbon footprints. RM Sovich Architecture utilized cutting edge life-cycle assessment tools to help make intelligent, environmentally-conscious and sustainable choices.
The eight dwellings are oriented on a mews or court that is shared space for the residents of the block. The residents may collectively determine the use of the shared space: lawn, community garden, et cetera and the use of the common area may change as the occupants of the houses change over time.
The mews is a reflection of the formal development of Baltimore: a microcosm of the greenways on streets such as neighboring North Broadway. The macrocosm of the urban structure of Baltimore can be understood in the microcosm of the block. Like the block, each house has a ‘public’ open space within. The individual houses reflect the theme of the block and the principles of purposiveness, logic of construction, and the proper handling of materials. This proposed dwelling is a 24’ by 24’ by 25’6” foot cubical volume, a compact and economical shape. The design is intended to be open and loft-like. The solution provides an open flexible area for living, dining, and entertaining. The ceiling height is intentionally kept low, 7’6”, in the entry, kitchen, and bedrooms, and high, 15’-6”, in the living area; this creates both efficiency and drama.