Sustainable Housing at Sheridan Street

Interface Studio Architects (ISA) sets out to change the face of affordable housing. Sleek sustainable designs replace cookie cutter traditional, suburban semi-detached houses, and reign supreme over the 1950s high-rises that preceded them.

The 13 homes on the 1800 block Sheridan Street in North Philadelphia were built for the Associacion
 Puertorriqueños en Marcha in response to the Community Design Collaborative's 2005 Affordable infill Housing Design Challenge.  Infill Philadelphia is a design initiative by the Collaborative to revitalize neighborhoods by re-envisioning vacant buildings and spaces.

The Sheridan homes, slated for LEED Gold certification, have solar hot water, pervious pavement that allows rainwater to seep through, and green roofs, among other sustainable features.  The homes' designs are what set them apart, from materials to layout and aesthetics.  The contemporary feel will certainly increase the property values of the community and hopefully encourage developers to invest in future affordable housing.

"The defining characteristics of the project was its ridiculous dimensional constraint," says Brian Phillips, Interface Studio Principal and Collaborative board member.  The block is 450 feet long and 39 feet deep,  a very this proportion which made it challenging to design houses that would conform to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's (PHFA) 1,300 square-feet, three bedroom, 1.5 bathroom standard requirements.  In planning the house with a low budget, ISA first looked at the performance requirements of the houses.  They then designed them to meet those requirements within the budget.  The result is six L-shaped couplets of homes that all feel like they open to the street even though some don't.  ISA is also responsible for the designs of Postgreen, a development firm with properties in Fishtown and Kensington.

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