In this project we have considered the dwellings themselves as well as the spaces between them.
We have attempted to make houses which, when taken together, re-establish an idea of streets and spaces without sacrificing the kinds of amenities which are associated with life in the suburbs. The houses are designed so as to fulfill a dual role. They each contribute to the realm of the street and public spaces while at the same time they are each assured a convenient relationship to the automobile, maximum southern exposure, and privacy within the house and a portion of the garden.
a) The site is developed so as to encourage both internal and external relationships: some houses face onto surrounding roads, the high school and adjacent park, larger houses face onto two internal green spaces located in the heart of each half of the site. Every effort has been made to avoid an inward-looking enclave, with its own eccentric pattern of roads and relationships.
b) An identifiable and straightforward pattern is established so that houses can be easily located by both occupants and visitors.
c) The pattern of houses adjusts to a variety of conditions: the collector road, the internal parks, and the hillside to the north of the site.
d) Coniferous trees are planted along the collector roads to provide protection from prevailing winds.
a) There are twin green spaces in each half of the site which are inspired by the twin squares in downtown Saint John. These areas have some identifiable similarities, yet unlike the squares in downtown Saint John their shape and size respond to different site characteristics in each location.
b) These spaces provide a generous lawn as well as paved area for a variety of activities and gatherings. They would be ideal for small children, somewhat supervised by surrounding houses, and accessible without crossing a collector street. Their dimensions are in sharp contrast to the prevailing scale of small streets and houses.
c) The two squares have a reciprocal relationship to the houses around them. They are arranged so that their largest dimension faces onto the park. One-bedroom dwellings have large porches with a southern exposure to the park. (This suggests an agreeable setting for elderly occupants.) The large four-bedroom dwellings face north to the park which can be viewed from their stairways. In this way these houses which are intended for seven occupants, borrow a sense of spaciousness from the park.
a) The streets are made so as to provide a focus for various activities. Sidewalks are adjacent to the roads so that pedestrians are not isolated in what are often windblown and insecure pedestrian precincts. Windows in the houses survey the street so that certain aspects of domestic life can contribute to the life of the street.
b) There is space for parallel parking on one side of the street, again to concentrate activities in the realm of the street and prevent the road from becoming a specialized, streamlined vehicular route.
c) Although the houses define the street they do not make a continuous wall, thus the view as one walks along is varied according to the modifications which are made in the side of each house.
a) Houses are arranged so as to profit from their proximity to each other: e.g., garden walls and wind protection.
b) Each house has a relationship to the street yet it is always assured the option of privacy within its own domain of house and garden.
c) Houses have inside frontages (10 metres) so that the scale of the automobile does not overwhelm that of the house.
d) At the same time the automobile is recognized as an important aspect of suburban life. Thus it is given a direct and convenient relationship to the house and garden.
e) The domain of the house (including garden, garage and house) is entered as one entity. Thus, although the house itself is small, all aspects of its territory are related so as to provide a sense of variety and spaciousness.
f) The sideyard is framed by certain elements; columns, lattice and beam which suggests multiple interpretations by the occupant: trellis, garage, sundeck, wall, greenhouse and so forth.
g) In larger houses, extra space is created by adding attic rooms these add only a marginal amount of exterior surface yet they add a unique sky and view-related place to the house.
h) The houses are compact and simple in form, yet they maintain a variety of spaces and relationships with outdoor areas as well as within the house.
1. Mechanical System
We would suggest that a project of this scale could make use of unrecoverable heat from nearby thermal plants, however this would depend on factors outside the realm of the proposal. Alternatively we are proposing that the houses have oil-fired furnaces and a forced-air system. This would insure good distribution of solar-heat gained on the southern exposure. A heat-storage system could be provided in the crawl space, connected to the air-distribution system. The furnace should be low capacity (8790 watts) as over-sized furnaces in well-insulated houses cause in-frequent short cycle operation, reducing overall efficiency. Oil tanks should be located outdoors to conserve space.
2. Minimizing Heat Loss
a) Exterior surface to volume ratio is minimal.
b) There is minimal glazing on north walls.
c) Air leakage can be kept to a minimum with well-sealed joints around doors and windows as well as taped joints in the vapour barrier.
d) Adequate insulation would consist of the following:
perimeter foundation 2.1 m2 °C/W, walls
3.5 m2 °C/W, roofs 5.28 m2 °C/W.
e) Vestibules are provided at main entry doors which can be opened to the kitchens for summer ventilation.
f) An air-to-air heat exchanger would provide controlled ventilation during winter.
g) Crawl spaces could be ventilated by the forced-air system so that ventilation to the exterior is not required.
h) Range hoods should be ductless with charcoal
i) Roll blinds would help to prevent heat loss on
3. Maximizing Use of Passive Solar Energy
a) All houses have maximum southern exposures with large glazed areas on the south wall.
b) Glass to floor area ratios are maintained at approximately 10 to 15 per cent. There is minimal glazing on north walls.
4. Ventilation and Shading in Summer
a) Every room has one or more opening window.
b) Large areas of glass have deep overhangs to protect south-facing windows from high summer sun.
c) Attic spaces are ventilated. Attic rooms have cross ventilation.
d) There are opportunities for occupants to build various shading devices such as trellises. Deciduous trees could be planted to provide shade in summer to the south and west of the houses.
e) Reflective roll shades would aid in controlling heat during the summer days.
5. Future Energy Production
a) Roof slopes could be adapted for future solar-heating panels.
Submission 10 impressed the jury across a broad range of issues, stretching from the desirability of freehold tenure, right through to energy-conserving orientation, and the ability of the building form to be personalized by the occupant.
Concerning site planning, a majority of the jurors decided, after considerable discussion, that the traditional some jurors even thought banal site plan offered advantages which were undeniable:
the possibility of freehold tenure
direct vehicular access to every unit
clear relationship of public to private space
ease of servicing.
In addition, the jury noted that the apparent conventionality of the site plan had not prevented the competitor from subtly organizing the units so as to maximize southern orientation and passive solar gain, for a majority of units across the site plan as a whole. Then too, the jury admired both the compactness of the units, as well as their "thoughtful charm" and invitation to growth and change, both inside and out.
The grouping of some of the smaller units into multiple buildings was also admired for its subtle insertion into the fabric of the neighbourhood.
On a larger scale, both the size and location of park areas was thought to be appropriate, even though the linear extent of the one long street disturbed one juror acutely. Another one felt that the concept did not need to depend quite so consistently on grid planning and would have preferred some greater variety of street form.
Finally, there was the matter of architectural expression. After extensive discussion on this point, a majority of the jury concluded that the somewhat traditional appearance of the houses and of the enclave as a whole was a positive feature. One juror compared it favourably with the well-known Hydro-stone neighbourhood in Halifax, designed to accommodate the victims of the 1917 Halifax explosion. A minority of the jury, however, objected to what it saw as an unduly "historicist" image.
(Excerpt from the jury's comments)
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- Site Plan