In December 2016, Downtown Indy, Inc. and Indiana Housing Community Development Authority launched a design competition to engage architects state-wide to explore new, affordable, well-designed, single-family home designs for infill lots and undeveloped land in downtown/urban settings.
According to Sherry Seiwert, Downtown Indy, Inc. president, “There is clearly a need for mid-priced housing options in and near Downtown. IN_Fill Indiana encouraged architects to design contemporary, energy-efficient homes intended to be built for less than $225,000. We were very pleased with the entries and the creative plans that would blend well with existing urban homes.”
The competition to reutilize existing lots in Downtown Indianapolis, Anderson and Evansville, included partner support from The American Institute of Architects Indiana, IHCDA and the Indiana Builders Association.
Thirteen entries across three cities were submitted by Indiana architects. An overall winner was selected, along with a winner for each city. The grand prize winner, receiving $5,000, is RATIO Architects with team members Rob Proctor, AIA, Joe Yount, AIA, Ha To and Scott Cicero. See the winning renderings and proposals: https://infillindiana.com/results/
The project, titled Hammer House, refers to the Pete Seeger folk song If I Had A Hammer and is intended to be resilient and adaptable to the changing modes of living in contemporary society. As noted in the entry statement: “Piece by piece, the Hammer House supports the growth of active and involved families, with close connection to walkable urban amenities” such as parks, transit, and emerging businesses in the area. The floor plan is highly adaptable and includes a ground-floor master suite which can be partitioned from the house to create a home office or an AirBNB-type rental unit now, allow for adult roommates to share for a time, or to support aging-in-place by the homeowners later in life. It includes three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, and the building envelope was designed to meet strict Passive House standards, greatly reducing the owner’s heating and cooling costs.
The identified lot in Downtown Indianapolis is less than two miles from Monument Circle in the Kennedy-King Neighborhood at 1950 Cornell Ave., immediately east of Herron-Morton Place just northeast of Downtown.
“We were thrilled to receive such high-quality, innovative design ideas from our talented Hoosier architects across the state,” said Donna Sink, AIA, an organizer of the competition. “The desire for energy-efficient, adaptable and inventive homes in walkable urban neighborhoods is high, and making sure these homes can be built at a reasonable price for future homeowners is a challenge architects enjoy taking on.”
The Indianapolis winner and recipient of a $1,000 prize is Emery Hunt, a graduate architect at CSO Architects. Hunt’s design took contextual cues from neighborhood homes including a modern gable roof form and a prominent front porch, helpful in connecting to others in this Downtown neighborhood. The home is 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with a downstairs home office and an upstairs flex space overlooking the living/dining area. It also utilizes passive solar energy techniques, taking advantage of the east-west orientation of this site.
A special recognition award was also presented to Tony Costello, FAIA, from Home Plus for using the IN-Fill competition as an opportunity to propose methods for connecting low- to moderate-income homebuyers to the home design process.
Funding for the awards was provided by PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., Vectren Foundation, IHCDA and the Federal Home Loan Bank.
The anonymous-submittal competition was judged by expert jurors based on the following criteria:
- Design quality and relevance to specific location, including energy solutions
- Potential to positively impact surrounding neighborhood
- Economic feasibility
About Downtown Indy, Inc.
Founded in 1993, Downtown Indy, Inc. a public/private partnership existing to improve Downtown is also known as Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. As a private, not-for-profit organization, Downtown Indy, Inc. is uniquely positioned to address issues that affect the area’s growth and well-being. Downtown Indy, Inc. focuses on the development, management, activation and marketing of Downtown Indianapolis making it a great place to live, learn, work and play. For more information, visit www.downtownindy.org.
About The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Indiana
AIA Indiana works to promote the design profession, provide educational opportunities for its members and public seminars and events that showcase area design and the value of architects. For more information about AIA Indiana, its members or upcoming events, go to www.aiaindiana.org.
About Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA)
IHCDA, chaired by Lt. Governor Holcomb, provides housing opportunities, promotes self-sufficiency and strengthens communities in order to build an Indiana with a sustainable quality of life for all Hoosiers in the community of their choice. For more information, visit www.ihcda.in.gov or www.in.gov/myihcda.