Compact Modern.

In purchasing this original worker cottage, the homeowners were strongly attracted to its compact scale, its urban location, and the backyard’s large trees, a rarity in that stretch of the neighborhood.  The design modernizes the gabled cottage and adds a 1-story addition that enhance the connections to nature and creates a gathering space for cooking and entertaining.
The flow through the first floor and addition is conceptualized as a direct extension of the site topography with a series of cascading levels.  One enters up the front stair to the level of the main cottage and then steps back down through the kitchen and dining room in the addition to move out into the backyard deck and its large trees.  The second floor of the cottage is design as a retreat.  Moving up the stair, which also serves as thermal chimney for passive cooling, a compact primary suite and home office look out over the addition’s green roof.  Both rooms have large frameless pocket doors that can remain open to create a full floor suite.
The idea of compact living is a natural extension of the homeowners’ embrace of sustainable design.  The floor plan is designed to have an efficient layout that allows rooms to serve multiple functions while still feeling spacious.  In addition to sustainable materials, the house relies on solar energy, passive stack effect, and the green roof to reduce the home’s carbon footprint and further enhance to overall design of the home.


(click on the images above for a slideshow view)

project information

1,600 square foot single-family residence, renovation + addition in Somerville.  

ARCHITECT: Atelier et Alia

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Tripi Engineering Services, LLC

MEP ENGINEER: Air Water Energy Engineers, Inc