interface studio, philadelphia

Our judges gave Interface Studio kudos for the overall strength of this project, but what really impressed them was how the firm arranged the townhomes on a long city block. It solves “the problem of how to ‘densify' the alley” and does so with “pretty cool architecture,” said one judge.

Located on an abandoned 38.5-foot-by-436-foot site in Philadelphia, Sheridan Street Housing consists of 13 subsidized, sustainable, semi-detached homes that will be sold for a below-market price of about $145,000 each. Finding an economical way to build them was important, says Brian Phillips, AIA, LEED AP, but the project also had to fit in with the adjacent homes and planned developments. To help keep construction costs low, Phillips' team chose prefabricated materials and simple volumes. “We tried to pull money out of the building and put it into [sustainable] features” such as responsibly harvested wood, products made with high recycled content, and equipment aimed at reducing energy bills, he explains.

To maintain the townhouse typology of the neighborhood, the firm rotated the 16-foot-by-35-foot houses and arranged them in an interlocking pattern, creating much-needed open spaces and parking. It “takes a problematic scene and develops an answer,” said one judge.

principal in charge: Brian Phillips, AIA, LEED AP, Interface Studio
project designers: May Narisaranukul, Ryan Keerns, David Williams, and Lara Zeigler, Interface Studio
developer: Rose Gray, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Philadelphia
project size: 1,350 square feet to 1,680 square feet per unit
site size: 0.385 acre
construction cost: $140 per square foot
sales price: $145,000 per unit (after subsidies of about $80,000 per unit)
units in project: 13
renderings: Courtesy Interface Studio