A New Norris House / Site and Landscape – 143 Oak Road

The New Norris House seeks to become anonymous in the context of a historic town—the form of the house echoes the form, scale and materiality of original Norris Cottages. The siting of the home responds to the dominant pattern of existing homes along Oak Road. The new home orients similarly to the road and maintains a similar, minimal footprint. The home is then shifted toward the middle of the site, opening up a front courtyard for the accommodation of a car. The use of gravel softens the nature of the courtyard, allowing water to drain through an impervious surface.

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The project also uncovers a long forgotten walking path that once connected Oak Road to the greater network of pathways. Before the automobile, citizens of Norris used these pathways to move between their homes and shared amenities throughout the town. The reconstruction of the pathway furthers a return to a more local lifestyle free of the automobile and further connects the project to the urban scale of Norris.

The site and landscape design integrate performance and aesthetics – improving on-site species diversity while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Rain and grey-water storage and filtration is combined with traditional strategies, such as a hand pump and raised vegetable beds, to create a simple, efficient, on-site water management system. Texturally and chromatically interesting plantings filter and absorb storm water on site, prevent soil erosion, and provide diverse habitat and forage for other forms of life. Native grass meadows and spreading shrubs are planted for erosion control and enhance storm water infiltration zones. The retaining wall delineates the previous homes footprint, and provides a pre-compacted area for the gravel parking court.