urban infill 02 - milwaukee, wisconsin
Urban Infill 02 is the second of a series of affordable prototypical production homes designed for small urban infill lots in Milwaukee’s central city. Located in a neighborhood that has seen its share of economic disinvestment and continues to suffer from three decades of urban decay, this 3-bedroom, 1,600 sf model home, designed with a severely limited budget of $84/sf, consists of two interlocking building blocks, a compact two-story wood cube and a single-story concrete block bar. The cube, clad with grooved Okume panels, is based on a strict 48” module to maximize the use of standard sheet good, allowing the builder to easily adapt the footprint to various lot dimensions and program sizes. Ribbons of alternating windows and fiber cement louvers with a high-gloss finish wrap around the corners of the cube and frame views of the neighborhood. The placement of the windows can shift within the ribbons to capture views or allow for levels of privacy, depending on different contextual conditions. The concrete bar shelters the private functions on the main level, including the master suite. If necessary, the concrete bar can be extended, pulled away from the cube, or moved to the other side of the house, all without changing the basic set of construction details. A set of delicate steel brackets ties the two volumes together and spatially defines the semi-private, south-facing roof terrace accessible from the upper level, maximizing the amount of outdoor space on this tight urban parcel. Urban Infill 02 demonstrates how a modest, low-budget project can become a confident, new urban constituent; it exemplifies how the battered fabric of a neglected neighborhood can be mended, one house at a time.