High-end, low income, sustainable housing

Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects

Chattanooga, TN

Affordable housing doesn’t have to look cheap, and LEED Platinum doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune.

Social housing is tough to do well, with tight budgets and high standards for accessibility and durability. Here’s an interesting project in Chattanooga, Tennessee: the Fairmont Avenue Townhomes by  Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects- it’s 18 units, affordable and LEED Platinum to boot. Enterprise Community Partners, a national non-profit, says ” that green, affordable homes in vibrant communities can be a springboard to a good life, and the Chattanooga project met that criteria.”

© Harlan Hambright

The units look a lot bigger than than they are:

The 18 unit development consists of 9 three bedroom units at 1383 sq.ft. and 9 two bedroom units at 1103 sq.ft. All units with the exception of the FHA accessible unit are two story and are typically organized in buildings made up of four units. Three all-weather pathways are provided to better connect the project to the surrounding pedestrian circulation system and adjacent amenities. The topography of the project location, in North Chattanooga, enabled the buildings to both make use of sunlight and provide shade where needed, even as they’re situated on a steep curving hilltop.

© Hefferlin + Kronenberg

Storm water is collected from the metal roof and stored in a cistern that feeds the sprinkler system, though the landscape shouldn’t need much, it’s “native landscaping – plants that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions.”

© Harlan Hambright

Many of the Green strategies are passive ones. The form naturally provides attic insulation, and the design maximizes access to the natural light. An array of 189 photovoltaic panels attached to the roof provide roughly 10% of the townhomes’ total electrical needs. The houses were oriented to maximize daylight and passive solar heating to further reduce the load on the grid.

Affordable housing doesn’t have to look cheap, and LEED Platinum doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune. Townhouses are a good way to get reasonable densities without having to go vertical. Nicely done.