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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2008 awards



Entry number: B08012
Project Name: Block Party 4
Building Type: Residence
Completion Date: January 2008
Architect: Jack Hawkins/ Baron Hershberger
Building Location: 529/531 Cheney St. Reno, NV 89502

Design Team:
Electrical Engineer: N/A
Landscape Architect: Jack Hawkins
General Contractor: MB Construction
Structural Engineer: Gabbart & Woods
Civil Engineer: Gray & Associates
Interior Designer: Jack Hawkins/ Baron Hershberger
Photographer: Asa Gilmore/ Ruckus Arts

Statement of Design Approach:
The design of this project is a direct result of a simple program from two friends who desired to construct two contemporary, small, and sustainable homes in an established neighborhood.

Both friends agreed that they could live in small residences if there were views of the Sierra, lots of indoor/outdoor space, and a gracious feel to the interior space. Also, there was a shared interest in quality over quantity. Good construction, quality, low maintenance materials as well as energy efficiency were high priorities.

Finally, creating a sense of community was important to both friends by having shared common landscaping/garden areas while living close to like-minded neighbors. Eventually the design grew to include (2) 2-unit buildings, becoming a Block Party of 4.

This urban infill townhouse project sits in an old Reno neighborhood, within walking proximity to downtown and has views of the Sierra and a local ski resort. The land is an alley-accessed back lot of a 70 year-old brick home. Natural materials such as sand blasted, stack bond, concrete block, oxidized corrugated corten siding, horizontal wood siding, and aluminum frame storefront glass form the building envelope. To the south of the townhouses, a courtyard-like garden is shared by the three households. The townhouses open up to the gardens with south-facing glass.

At the upper deck is the 2 story roll-up door. When open, a large indoor-outdoor entertaining space is created. Overhead are carefully sized overhanging roofs which shade the glass in the summer, and allow sun deep in to the living space in the winter. The windows on the sides are kept to a minimum to allow light and view to the mountain ranges and sky, but preserve the privacy of the neighbors. The conditioned space is just under 1000 square feet per unit.

Downstairs there is a single room that can be used as art studio, office or guest room with a full bath, and a single car garage. Upstairs the concrete deck, kitchen, dining and high ceiling living room all open as one space. The only interior wall on the main level encloses the walk-in closet, laundry, and bathroom area. Above the kitchen dining area is a small loft open to the living area and the distant views of the Sierra.

One of the townhouse residences uses the loft as a sleeping area, while the other unit uses the loft as a media room, a Murphy bed in the main space. The simple elegance of the spaces and the high ceiling in the living space make a pleasant and spacious living environment.

Sustainable description:
Sustainability was a primary focus of this project. Perhaps the major sustainability aspects of this project are its size and location. Three of the four residents are able to walk to work. Additionally, urban infill projects don't contribute to suburban sprawl, a major sustainable issue. The size and location reduce the demand on gasoline consumption and building construction materials, and the project uses pre-existing infrastructure, rather than having to create new roads, utilities, fire departments, etc. The project also creates small shared landscaped areas, eliminating large areas of irrigation. In addition, there is a gravel infiltration pit at the main rain roof drain which reduces storm water run-off.

Another major sustainable aspect is the passive solar gain system. In the winter the sun is allowed in to heat the concrete floor, and the entire space. The sun's heat and the very efficient spray foam insulation keep the space warm until late at night, at which time an on-demand gas hot water heater heats water for the in-floor hydronic radiant heat. Radiant heat is much cleaner and more efficient than forced air heat.

In the summer, the south windows are shaded by properly designed overhangs. The windows are a dual-glazed, thermally broken, commercial storefront system. The north, east and west windows are very small. Current energy costs of electricity are less than $1.00 per day during the hottest summer months. The roof is a thermoplastic single ply membrane, white in color. The roof color reduces intense heat gain in the summer. For cooling, there is a single evaporative cooler, which effectively cools the entire space. Evaporative coolers are more efficient than typical condenser type air conditioners, and they do not contain Freon or other harmful chemicals. The interior paint used was a 0 voc type by ppg.

Finally, the plumbing and conduit and mounting cleats are in place for a roof-mounted hot water solar collector, and a photo-voltaic grid Itie system. These systems are intended to reduce the public power demand to net 0.




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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:04 PST