Modal Home – Honor Award

To quiet a noisy road, this new home turns inward to create an urban cloister buffered from the surrounding city. Although closed off from the busy intersection –and the seemingly incessant whistle of the soccer coach across the road– the interior life of this courtyard home remains open and expansive. For the architects, the leitmotif of the project was the commitment that the loss of one sense should always be balanced out with heightening the perceptions of another. The Modal Home was borne out of embracing a site’s perceived deficits as the inspiration for rising above them.


Great design originating from an innovative use of the property. The jury commends the well-done materiality, landscape, and massing–it’s an elegant piece of architecture.

Noteworthy performance features include:

1. The project preserves the existing trees and native vegetation on site.

2. Reuse of an existing site with design focus on natural daylight and ventilation

//framework for design excellence measures
Measure 1: Design for Integration
Design impact:
– The project preserves the mature heritage oak trees present on the site
– The project intensifies the relationship to the natural surroundings.
– The project uses passive strategies for balancing heating and cooling, including skylights, overhangs, operable windows, and lighting studies to ensure a well-functioning structure in all seasons and times of day
– The flexible floor plan allows a growing and changing family to utilize the structure over an extended duration. The efficient plan accommodates dynamics such as aging in place, multigenerational family living, caregiver accommodation, and remote working arrangements.
– HVAC systems have MERV 13 filters maintaining indoor air quality in times of wildfire smoke.
Measure 2: Design for Equitable Communities
– The flexible, multipurpose floorplan accommodates remote working arrangements, decreasing reliance on vehicular commuter traffic.
Measure 3: Design for Ecosystems
– The project preserves the mature heritage oak trees present on the sit
– The abundance of natural light and the visual focus on existing oak trees connect the user to nature and the local micro-climate.
– The landscape planting includes native species creating habitat for pollinators
Measure 4: Design for Water
Measure 5: Design for Economy
– The project focuses on the quality of natural light in the space and the views into the landscape rather than esoteric materials.
– Given the ever-rising cost of construction, each built square foot must add value to the client. Central to our practice is to design floor plans that are as compact and efficient as possible. Even in suburban settings with less constraints. In this project, a multifunctional guest wing acts as a home office, accommodation for aging parents, a pool changing room and an exercise area.
Measure 6: Design for Energy
– Energy modeling was implemented early in the design process informing glazed openings, heating and cooling systems, insulation strategies, and optimal daylighting.
Measure 7: Design for Well-Being
– All spaces have operable windows placed to maximize air flow and passive cooling.
– The house is organized around a central courtyard. Each living space and sleeping room has direct access to light and air
– HVAC systems have MERV 13 filters maintaining indoor air quality in times of wildfire smoke.
Measure 8: Design for Resources
– The project utilizes responsibly sourced (FSC certified) wood products where possible.
– The project specified optimized concrete admixtures with high fly ash content.
Measure 9: Design for Change
– The project design plans for future extreme temperatures
Measure 10: Design for Discovery
The project had a post-occupancy analysis, completed several months after move-in. Our practice is based on word-of-mouth recommendations and satisfied clients, which makes long-term relationships key to our viability as a business.To compensate for the loss of view created by the sound wall, the design seeks to intensify the ephemeral nuances of natural light. To capture this,a each space looks through a series of layered indoor and outdoor adjacent spaces, each with its own quality of light –increasing the sense of depth and scale in the relatively small site.
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