UR06 Vanguard Way

Bob Borson —  October 7, 2010 — 9 Comments

Today I am going to focus on our project located in Urban Reserve, one of two well publicized modern developments here in Dallas.

Taken from Urban Reserve’s Website:

Urban Reserve is Dallas’s first low-impact development. We are committed to sustainable architecture, which uses less of our natural resources and causes little or no harm to the world around it and to those within it.

  • Development retained the existing topography
  • Design guidelines require houses to be at least 20% more energy efficient than current code requirements.
  • Front yards and common areas are planted with native and adaptive, low-water-use plants.
  • Irrigation is accomplished with rainwater runoff stored on site in ponds.
  • Rain gardens filter runoff from streets.
  • 22-foot-wide street minimizes impervious pavement.
  • Close access to DART line and White Rock Trail facilitates alternative use of transportation.

In keeping with the spirit and intentions of Urban Reserve’s low-impact philosophy, this modern residence is efficiently planned and lives much larger than the raw numbers would suggest. At 2,301 square feet, there is enough room to provide flexibility in how the spaces are used while being compact enough to allow the home to have a small footprint on the site. Locating all the programming to one side of the lot allowed for a single outdoor space large enough to include plans for a future pool and still have space for a great backyard party.

On the inside of the project, the division of internal spaces, both literal and implied, visually alters your perception of the living spaces as you first enter the home. These views help define the space, but as you take a few steps forward, your line of sight is extended through the room, providing glimpses of what’s beyond. Installed at key locations were large expanses of low-E glazing that were placed to visually open up and extend the inside into the side yard, a gesture which connected the rooms to the something beyond the perimeter of buildings footprint. With super-insulated walls, zoned air-conditioning, tank-less water heaters, recycled flooring and Energy Star appliances, this project exceeds the requirement for energy efficiency that Urban Reserve requires of all homes in the development while a house that doesn’t look like it was designed from leftover parts.

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This is the main living area – material finishes include polished and sealed concrete floors, king sized brick masonry units, dark bronze storefront glazing system and painted gypsum board.

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The stairs to the upper level project into the lower living space to provide an implied separation between the main living space and the kitchen/dining space. It is at this transition that we lowered the ceiling to help the scale of the rooms.

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This is a good view of the kitchen island but you can also see how the ceiling further drops over the cooking area to help define each zone (main living, dining, and kitchen) while maintaining visual connection with the surrounding spaces. This technique not only helps to define each space, but you visually share some of the space from adjacent areas which in turn makes each zone feel more spacious than it actually is.

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We recently shot the front of the home – we were waiting for the exterior landscaping to recover from the winter damage. When they come in, I come back and update this post to include an image or two.

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Site Plan

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Vicinity Map for Urban Reserve

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All photos ©2010 CDS. Reproduction without permission strictly prohibited

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  • JeffElliott

    This is an amazing idea. Next time we visit my significant other’s family in Plano, we’re visiting this along the way.

  • Adrienne

    Lovesit. And a built in coffee system … it’s like you built it just for me! When can I move in?
    :)

  • http://www.bradswaggerty.com brad swaggerty

    Hi Bob. First time poster, long time reader. Finally decided to hit the comment button!

    Beautiful work. I love the composition of the fireplace wall. Looks like the client saved a good chunk of change for their furniture too. If I’m extra careful, I might be able to afford the noguchi table one day! (architect = expensive taste and no money!)

    p.s. the link you posted on buildblog yesterday is dead – just an fyi.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for coming in from the edge, glad to have you here. I have the same problem about my tastes being more larger than my wallet but I tend to hang on to the good stuff for a long time – it’s worth the wait to get something right. The owner of that house bought a mix of original pieces and great knock-offs and unless you get on your hands and knees looking for a serial # or brand name, you wouldn’t know.

      Thanks for the heads up on the link – I’m trying to get the Buildllc boys to take the “)” off the end. Oops!

  • http://twitter.com/denifty Chris Bugert

    Very nice job! …not thrilled with the interior finishes and furniture but that is more of a personal taste thing. The ceiling heights do a great job of the separation and I especially like the frosted glass on the bathroom windows…that is a great touch of privacy without the need of window coverings.

  • http://twitter.com/denifty Chris Bugert

    Very nice job! …not thrilled with the interior finishes and furniture but that is more of a personal taste thing. The ceiling heights do a great job of the separation and I especially like the frosted glass on the bathroom windows…that is a great touch of privacy without the need of window coverings.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for commenting. The mix of ceiling heights – and with all so close to one another, is probably my favorite aspect of the project.

  • http://twitter.com/cupboards Nick @ Cupboards

    Great looking project, Bob! Really like the spaces- definitely something I could see myself living in.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Nick – let me know when you want one. I know an excellent source for the cabinetry!