Posted: June 7, 2019 | Projects
A recognized need for affordable senior rental housing brought together Steve Sharp, Springfield architect and Tina Koumoutsos, director of the Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield, Ohio, in 2015 to address the issue. Their research revealed a desire for small clusters of apartments designed to create a new community.
Photo Courtesy of Stephen Sharp/McCall Sharp Architecture
An 11.4 acre brownfield site of a former hospital was identified as an excellent location. To make the project feasible, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation joined the team. Low-Income Housing Tax Credits were secured through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency which was necessary for the project to move forward. The Community Gardens project has the distinction of being the first tax credit funded pocket neighborhood in the state of Ohio.
Motivated to create an affordable and innovative senior residential neighborhood, the architect and owner orchestrated their plans. Their basis for planning was a book titled “Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World” written by Ross Chaplin, AIA. Key components of this pocket neighborhood include the following: density, walkability, quality architectural design, traditional neighborhood structure, sustainability, connectivity to the rest of the city, and most important, shared space designed to increase social interaction of the residents (in this case, seniors).
Pocket communities are designed to encourage casual interactions between neighbors that give richness to their lives. The critical determinant is planning. Positioning apartments to face sidewalks and to locate the cars and drives behind the buildings are key elements. Each apartment has a front porch, which is intended to function as an extension of the living room. This provides an outdoor space for people to spend time and interact with their neighbors. In support of a wellness philosophy, apartment clusters surround a shared open space including a playground, a garden, and walking paths. With this design, nearby neighbors easily get to know one another and may find friendship or a helping hand nearby.
Attention is given to human scale and architectural “cottage” detailing common in Springfield. Each living unit has an attached one-car garage to the rear with one exterior parking space for visitors. Each apartment also has a covered porch at the front entrance facing the pocket neighborhood. Exterior building design features a steep slope roof and dimensional shingles, heavy duty vinyl siding, and man-made stone veneer. Shakes and siding were installed on the gables. The windows are single hung vinyl windows with simulated divided lights and porches have exposed timbers as a decorative wood trim.
Community Gardens stands in sharp contrast to typical subsidized housing projects. The pocket community is comprised of 50 apartments on a roughly 7-acre site. The modest size apartments are 1,216 square feet each. Each apartment contains 2 bedrooms, an attached garage, and a front porch. All apartments have a living area of 925 square feet with an attached garage of an additional 292 square feet each. Each also has its own covered front porch of an additional 175 square feet. There is an additional 400 square foot utility building on the property to serve the 13 apartment buildings housing the 50 apartments.
All 50 apartments incorporate universal design principles to allow aging in place. Each unit may easily be converted to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some units are also sensory compatible groups in duplex, triplex, 4-plex, and 6-plex apartment buildings. All kitchen cabinetry has 9-inch tall toe kicks, many gliding drawers and shelves, and drop-in stoves to maintain ADA heights and kitchen cook hoods with exterior exhaust. In the bathroom, the 5-foot shower is a roll-in unit with hand held shower wand and fold down seat. The lavatory has adjacent built-in shelving since the lavatory is wall mounted. The floor is low-pile carpet and vinyl luxury tile to promote a clean home with ease of maintenance.
Construction wrapped up last fall of 2018 on the 50-unit residential community. The project earned “certified” Enterprise Green Communities designation through durability and sustainability. Community Gardens was designed and built to provide a more traditional way of life with a local “cottage” vernacular architecture that has strong roots in Springfield’s agricultural past.
Building Envelope: Kaycan, Apex Urethane Millwork, Pro-Via Synthetic Stone
Roofing: CertainTeed Landmark Series
Insulation: Owens Corning
Doors & Windows: Jeld-Wen, Masonite, Schlage S Series, Haas Doors.
Flooring: Shaw, Beau Floor
Specialties: American Specialties
Equipment: General Electric, Broan
Lighting: Lithonia, Sea Gull, Progress, Lithonia.
McCall Sharp Architecture
100 E. Main Street
Springfield, OH 45502
Eeman & Blinn, Inc.
6037 Frantz Road, #130
Dublin, OH 43017
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
ELH Engineering, Inc.
2071 N. Bechtle Avenue, #205
Springfield, OH 45504
Harral & Stevenson
20 S. Limestone Street, #10
Springfield, OH 45502
Kapp Construction, Inc.
329 Mount Vernon Avenue
Springfield, OH 45503
Date Bid: Jun 2017
Construction Period: Aug 2017 to Oct 2018
Total Square Feet: 70,000 (based on covered walkways divided in half (4,500), giving the total square footage to calculate from of 65,500, according to AIA document D-101.)
Site: 6.72 acres.
Number of Buildings: Fifty One; 50 two bedroom units with garages; 1 community utility building.