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Sara Johnson, Hanley Wood Media

Project Name


Project Status

Concept Proposal


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Project Description


grotto an infill prototype

Tailored around the lifestyles of today's urban dwellers, Grotto intends to provide an enduring and flexible platform for its first and future inhabitants.  Specific lot parameters in Dallas, Texas have been identified based on typical parcels available for residential development near the Central Business District.  The program aims to create a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces with multiple connections and uses.  Sustainable strategies and systems are implemented with a focus on construction quality that far exceeds current development norms for the region.  While intended to be an efficient and repeatable form, details of whimsy, charm, and surprise aspire to provide recurrent delight for its tenants.

the old grid

The original Main Street grid in the center of Dallas, Texas was set up 45° to the N/E/S/W cardinal points.  Candidate lots for residential infill are very often found on this original grid and are not optimal for passive solar orientation strategies; facades parallel to property lines always find themselves exposed to east or west sun.

mirrored ( M_ ) vs. rotated and staggered ( Rt_St )

Rotating and staggering offers several advantages to the prototype.  Besides creating a facade with more interest, the shift in mass offers shading and privacy benefits.  The additions of screens also help to mitigate east/west solar gain as well as obscure views to neighboring the neighboring yard; increasing the level of privacy for both units.

insulated masonry units

loadbearing and courtyard


exploded perspective

Connection to outdoor spaces to all floors is achieved by providing centralized balconies on levels 2 and 3.  These balconies and floor to ceiling windows are screened for privacy but have operable panels to increase views and control shading as desired.

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