Located in one of Charlotte’s older streetcar neighborhoods this property and those adjacent enjoy an expansive open rear yards with minimal obstructions to delineate boundaries. As a consequence the collective yards read as a park with a thick cover of tall, shading hardwood trees. By contrast the homes are otherwise very close together such that the approach to the “park setting” is accessed via a tight driveway, similar to an urban alley. The program called for a garage with studio above, and an outdoor living space with casual seating, fireplace, dining area and cooking area. Because the site is in a local Historic District the garage/studio reflected the Dutch form and detailing of the original structure, and was located, detached, at the rear of the property (visible from the street). The outdoor living space, necessarily adjacent to the rear of the home is not visible from the street and didn’t require compliance with the strict traditional guidelines of the ordinance. But that doesn’t mean the structure doesn’t reflect and respect it’s context – the “park” setting.
The structure likewise forms an arc to invite guests approaching from down the driveway from the public sidewalk. A large stone fireplace element is located on this arc and on axis with an existing circulation spine in the original home, providing a welcoming image even from deep within the main home. The left of the structure is designed for the dining area and is defined by a slatted wall for privacy and a dropped slatted ceiling for intimacy. Likewise the structure’s roofline, cascading down around the plan curve, is designed to define the seating area and, at it’s lowest point, the grill and preparation area. It also serves to avoid obstructing new windows in the master bedroom above. The primary framing is reclaimed fir timber from a demolished mill.
The roof material is copper standing seam except at the fireplace, where honeycombed polycarbonate sheets were used to allow natural shadowing on the stone fireplace surface. The structure is skinned mostly with metal screening and the floor and countertops are integrally colored concrete.