THIN FLATS

Location: Nothern Liberties, Philadelphia, PA

Client: Onion Flats

Completion Date: 2009

LEED Platinum Certified


First LEED-H Platinum Duplexes in the Country.

This eight unit residential project explores the highly efficient and architecturally latent potentials hidden within the traditional form of the Philadelphia “Row” home. The vertical rhythm, regularity yet diversity of this most prevalent residential urban typology was the primary source of inspiration for this experiment. Thin faces fronting both Laurel and Pollard Streets mask and blur conventional lines of demarcation between all eight duplex dwellings, both vertically and horizontally. In the process, a degree of density yet expansiveness uncommon to the thin space of the urban duplex emerges.  The Philadelphia “Row” is by nature a long, thin slice of dense, sustainable, urban space, typically ‘light-deficient’ and insular at its core. Thin Flats questions this traditional ‘deficiency’ by spatially reconfiguring the relationship between the interior and it’s skin such that its ‘core’ is flooded with light and air. This skin also affords each room on the ‘periphery’ of the dwelling the ability to step outside, and yet remain within the skin.

VOID: SURFACE: VEIL

The façade of Thin Flats is at once a surface and a void, blurring the limits of the units within.  The façade of the lower units is pushed back from the sidewalk to accommodate circulation, flood a ‘basement’ space with light, aid in solar shading and create a veil from public view.  Balconies on upper floors recess from behind the surface of the veil to create opportunities for civic engagement within the thin space of the façade.