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AIA Publications: 2005 Annual Design Awards Competition Gallery 
Urban Infill 01
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Blue Sky Developments, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Blue Sky Developments, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Project Description

This project is an affordable housing prototype designed for narrow urban-infill sites. The first built prototype, configured as a duplex, sits on a 30-foot-wide lot in a neighborhood that has experienced three decades of urban decay.

Working on a limited budget, the ingenious design consists of a simple bar building made up of three interlocking components: a cedar-clad box for the entry and vertical circulation; a stucco box that was assembled from standardized wall panels and allows for 1,900 square feet of living space; and a concrete veneer wall that peels away from the house and transforms into a free-standing, perforated garden wall.

This innovative design demonstrates how a modest, low-budget project can become a confident, new urban constituent



Jury Comments

The jury liked this project because of the program. The project is in an older suburban setting. The architect clearly embraced the effort of designing a contemporary building into an existing fabric in a sensitive way. It successfully complemented the diagram of the land, which is not particularly easy to do. I think it is commendable because of the developer’s interest in trying to create something like this. It looks conceived, well designed and deliberate.

We applaud the resistance to the romantic infill nod to the existing fabric. This is a building built in today’s design. We were intrigued with the idea of it being mutable to many types of configurations and sites that might suit multi-family dwellings. Possibly a model for the future, it is a small compact and a relatively simple building that was economically built. It has the future written all over it. We suggest that its application and repeatable fruition holds promise and is something the designer and owner should try elsewhere to see how it would work, rather than being an experiment of one.

This is a terrific little project!

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— Click on Photos for Full Size —
Photo Credit: Johnsen Schmaling Architects

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