Fox Way Residence
Posted: January 6, 2021 | Projects
The owners both wanted to live in a contemporary urban home, reflecting a modern design on both the exterior and the interior. The design of the home is defined by the long narrow urban lot, measuring 20’ wide by 60’ deep. The form of the house is basically a rectangular, 3-story box with a simple shed roof. As designers, they looked at the exterior cladding as an exercise in graphic design. The dimensional profiles, direction of the panel patterns, panel sizes and seaming, and exposed fastener colors, all became part of the layers of the design. They say they are still fascinated by the way that the galvalume panels change color depending upon the weather, sunlight, shade, and shadow, all playing a role in creating a dynamic, ever changing façade.
Photo Courtesy of David W. Nitchkey/CORE Architects
They chose metal to create the contemporary industrial aesthetic of the exterior. Beyond aesthetics, the exposed fastener metal panel system provided an economical solution, and the material is basically maintenance free. After maintaining a large 1950’s era suburban home for 14 years, they were ready to spend less time on exterior maintenance and more time enjoying the benefits of living in a city neighborhood. Building a contemporary home in an urban neighborhood of mostly 100+ year old houses presented challenges, but they never second guessed the selection of metal for the exterior, as the material pays homage to the industrial history of the South Side neighborhood, and to the historic role and influence of the steel industry in the Pittsburgh region.
Their friends refer to our home as the upside down house. The first floor is a two-car tandem garage, along with the entrance foyer, utility room, and ample storage. A small outdoor courtyard entered from the rear of the garage, provides space for the dogs along with a small garden. The second floor contains the private areas of the home, with the master bedroom suite at the rear and the studio/guest bedroom at the front. The third floor is designed as an open loft space and includes the kitchen, living area with fireplace, dining area, and powder room, along with access to the outdoor roof terrace with views of downtown Pittsburgh. The open plan has an airy vacation home feel, thanks to the sloping ceiling that extends from 8’ up to 14’. Throughout the second and third floors, the flooring material is maple hardwood, salvaged from a former gymnasium, and refinished with a low luster urethane for a natural appearance.
One of the most humbling complements that the owners received regarding this design is when someone asks them how long it took to renovate their home. For them, it means that this newly constructed home with its contemporary metal skin, still manages to fit into the fabric of the historic neighborhood as a home that has always been there.
Building Envelope: McElroy Metals
Windows: Marvin Integrity Series
360 Lincoln Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
300 Bilmar Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
5889 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Archer Developments LLC
1808 Harcum Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Date Bid: Mar 2014
Construction Period: May 2014 to Dec 2014
Total Square Feet: 2,472
Site: 0.0275 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Sizes: First floor garage, 828; second floor, 930; third floor, 714; total, 2,472 square feet.
Building Height: First floor garage, 9’; second floor, 10’; third floor, 14’; total, 33’.
Basic Construction Type: New/Wood Frame.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pier & grade beam, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: Wood studs, metal.
Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall.