There are many challenges as an architect I face when starting a new project. It may be a tight budget, swift deadline, or impossible site conditions, but there is always a challenge. This particular project, Parkside Towns Victoria, at Preston Lake just outside of Harrisonburg City had a few obstacles to overcome. When the builder approached me to assist with their design I was thrilled to have a chance to work in the Preston Lake neighborhood. It is a beautiful planned community on the edge of the city and there are lots of projects in the works. Building a strong relationship with a prolific builder works well for my business plan of course. So we jumped into the project to try to solve the challenges presented. This particular project, Parkside Towns Victoria, was to develop 9 blocks of townhouses with 6 units in each block. There is already a very strong aesthetic in the development so we were not looking to develop a new style. I have designed many townhouses over the years so I already knew the general layout. However, these lots were located next to one story and two-story existing and planned units so the height needed to remain as low as possible not to overwhelm the surrounding context. The units also required a 2-car garage in the lowest level and needed to have three bedrooms. That is a lot of square footage to get onto a townhouse lot without going to four stories tall or at least three full stories tall. So the work began to develop a concept.
We worked hard with the builder to develop a floor plan that worked while keeping the roof style low – using a mansard roof. I will be the first to admit, the mansard roof aesthetic is not my favorite. We did renderings, models, and marketing plans. Our client then got feedback from the residents in the neighborhood and it went over like, well there was no celebration for my architectural innovation…. So back to the drawing board. The client went to his in-house architects first to develop new standards for this project. They eased up a little on the overall allowable height of the units, played with the roof lines, and developed a direction before sending it back to us to make it work. We were able to keep the mansard roof while blending in some gables to clean up the design and add architectural interest (I like the new version much better than our original). It was a challenge to get the new design to work structurally with all the openings along the front facade and the new roof lines. Working back and forth with the in-house architectural team and structural engineers we finalized the design without reducing the scope of the program. It was a challenging project, but in the end through collaboration and team work we were able to hit all the goals originally set for the project. The buildings are under construction and work continues in this phased project. I am happy with the final aesthetic of the units and the floor plans work great.
The Parkside Towns Victoria are 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath that have a wide open living area, nice sized bedrooms, 2 car garage, and a large recreation room on the first floor. They feel large inside and have lots of light. If you are looking for a beautiful neighborhood, close to town, with lots of amenities, check out their website for more information. Photos provided by our client.