Launch Slideshow

The B House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Examples of Well-Executed Infill Projects in Urban and Suburban Neighborhoods

Examples of Well-Executed Infill Projects in Urban and Suburban Neighborhoods

  • The B House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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    The B House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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    Dean Kaufman

    The B+W House, designed by Julie Snow Architects, occupies a corner lot in a single-family neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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    Dean Kaufman

  • A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

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    A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

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    Dean Kaufman

    A cast-in-place concrete system forms the walls of the first floor and garden, while wood siding clads the upper level.

  • The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

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    The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

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    Dean Kaufman

    The rear of the house opens into an enclosed garden that essentially doubles the living space of the first floor.

  • The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

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    The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

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    Dean Kaufman

    The home integrates a streamlined kitchen into adjoining living and dining spaces.

  • Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

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    Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

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    Dean Kaufman

    Exposed concrete serves as both a structural and finish material for the first level. Upstairs, plaster walls convey a contrasting sense of lightness.

  • Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

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    Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

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    Dean Kaufman

    Walnut floors on the second level supply a warm hue to balance the coolness of the glass and plaster.

  • The home's site plan.

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    The home's site plan.

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    Julie Snow Architects

    The home's site plan.

  • The home's first and second floor plans.

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    The home's first and second floor plans.

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    Julie Snow Architects

    The home's first and second floor plans.

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    Adam Sokol

    The front elevation with the inverted window bay situated to capture distant views. Architect Adam Sokol also offset the roof ridgeline to produce more headroom in the space directly above the windows.

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    kc kratt

    The almost solid rear elevation blocks undesirable views of nearby houses. The patio is cut out from the building's form to provide protection. "The cutouts also de-emphasize the volume," Sokol says. That volume is clad in EcoStar shingles that are manufactured using recycled tires Sokol adds.

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    courtesy asap pllc

    The site plan shows how many houses abut the narrow lot in this dense neighborhood.

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    courtesy asap pllc

    This drawing shows Sokol's simple starting point and the moves he made in response to the site and program that resulted in the final form.

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    kc kratt

    The western wall cants away from the adjacent house at a 6-degree angle to allow natural light into the neighbor's living spaces.

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    Adam Sokol

    A small terrace on the third floor can't be seen from the street and is sheltered by a large oak tree. "It's very hidden," Sokoal says, "and people are often surprised when they discover it."

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    kc kratt

    The combined kitchen and dining space gains sunlight from three directions--the oversized patio door, the windows at the top of an open stair, and a glass wall in the living room.

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    The second-floor guest bedroom has built-in bookshelves and a cozy alcove that can be used for multiple purposes.

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    kc kratt

    Sokol opened the three-story stairwell and aligned it with large windows and skylights. To save on cost and to integrate the stair with the interior spaces, Sokol designed a "distorted spiral drywall railing that winds down the entire stair."

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    kc kratt

    The angled wall in the top-floor master suite is clad in natural birch for a pale reflective surface that amplifies natural light throughout the room.

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    Adam Sokol

    Detail showing the birch wall panels and sunlight being reflected.

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    kc kratt

    The master bath shower is also tucked beneath the offset ridgeline and brightened with an operable skylight.

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    Adam Sokol

    An evening streetscape shows the close proximity of neighboring houses.

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    Adam Sokol

    The distant tower vista as seen from inside the house.

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    Floor plans

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    Section drawings

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    Sharon Risedorph

    A fresh approach to a difficult site yielded a house that communicates with its private landscape, the immediate street scene, and the city beyond.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    Cutouts weave outdoor spaces into the volume of the building.

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    Sharon Risedorph

     

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    Sharon Risedorph

    Bath cabinets are faced in a zebrawood veneer.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    Two floors below, a sheltered outdoor space tunnels through the building, joining its private and public sides.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    The top-floor master bedroom opens onto a rooftop deck.

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    The landscaped side yard climbs in a series of terraces that relate to interior floor elevations. Exterior materials that wrap into the building reinforce the inside-outside connection.

  • The owner requested a compact building footprint to maximize the outdoor space.

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    The owner requested a compact building footprint to maximize the outdoor space.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    The owner requested a compact building footprint to maximize the outdoor space.

  • An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

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    An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    An open kitchen and dining area preserve views to the backyard.

  • Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

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    Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Walnut flooring anchors the white walls and millwork.

  • Bright white interiors are juxtaposed with a charcoal-gray exterior.

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    Bright white interiors are juxtaposed with a charcoal-gray exterior.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Bright white interiors are juxtaposed with a charcoal-gray exterior.

  • Crisp detailing complements the white-on-white master bath.

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    Crisp detailing complements the white-on-white master bath.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Crisp detailing complements the white-on-white master bath.

  • A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

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    A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A large window in the master bedroom frames leafy views.

  • A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

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    A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A full-height door opens to the master bedroom and adjoining bath.

  • Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

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    Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    Mahogany and concrete block landscape walls complement the cube and orchestrate the relationship between the street, a required parking court, and the house.

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    John McCauley

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    John McCauley

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    John McCauley

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    Benny Chan

    The main house seen from the courtyard.

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    Benny Chan

    Studio 0.10 architects conceived of the MuSh Residence as two volumes, with the art studio, the garage, and apartment located with ease of access from the street.

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    Benny Chan

    The main house is located toward the rear of the lot, creating a courtyard between the two volumes and offering views of the nearby nursery.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The corner of the home shows a detail of the custom-patterned zinc rain screen, which creates a breathable air space that prevents heat transfer from the outside to the inside.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The architects designed a circulation/art display form that is framed in ipe.

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    Benny Chan

    From the nursery, the two- and three-story volumes rise above the single-level homes in the neighborhood.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    High-performance glass largely eliminates the penetration of harmful UV light to protect artwork.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The apartment in the front volume features a long narrow plan and polished concrete floors.

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    Lars Wivelsted

    The bathrooms in the main house are clad in white mosaic tile.

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    Lars Wivelsted

    Another shot of one of the bathrooms.

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    Undine Prohl

    The dining room and kitchen overlook the courtyard. Folding ipe doors bring in lots of light.

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    Undine Prohl

    Juxtaposed against the exteriors, the interiors are light and bright with ipe wood floors and white-painted gypsum walls.

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The floor plans of the two volumes.

  • MuSh_ID.indd

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    Courtesy Studio 0.10

    The exploded axo shows the various design elements of the home.

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    Undine Prohl

    Folding doors allow views of the backyard and allow cross ventilation.

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    Undine Prohl

    In addition to the circulation/art display form, a Santa Barbara, Calif., craftsman fabricated all the windows and doors from solid ipe hardwood.

Infill lots in established neighborhoods offer prospective homeowners a ready-made community as well as close proximity to work, shopping, schools, and entertainment venues. They also contain a distinct charm that comes from being set among various housing types designed and renovated over decades with different styles. Not to mention the character added by old-growth trees or quaint corner shops. 

Builders working on infill projects face multiple challenges including tight sites; design, zoning, and building regulations; and keeping neighbors happy through timely construction. Architects or designers are responsible for the size and look of the new or renovated house fitting into surrounding context. The design team also has to figure out ways to create privacy for the homeowners, but also allow occupants to enjoy natural light, views, and appealing outdoor spaces. The houses collected in the accompanying slideshow all demonstrate that extra thoughtfulness in their design and construction that comes from overcoming the constraints of an infill lot.