Originally, Phoenix neighborhoods were constructed on the edges of the downtown core, fit with trolley lines, water canals, broad front porches, and deep overhangs. But car-centric/developer-driven development since the 1950s broke the neighborhoods apart with freeway construction and the allure of cheap housing in commuter suburbs. The historic neighborhoods still exist in downtown and retain the character of yesteryear.
The Hoover House is essentially an urban-infill project within a single-family home property. The site is located in the Ashland Historic District near the downtown core.
The project consists of an addition and remodel of an existing 1924 home that demonstrates a common predicament within historic district neighborhoods. They are ideal places to live because they are near transportation, community and civic centers, and offer the integrity of established neighborhoods, mature landscaping, and quality home construction. However, the home sizes are not conducive to modern family requirements.
The clients of this home wanted to remain in their current home but needed a dramatic increase in living space without reducing the quality of their outdoor living space.
Project principal architect Joe Herzog and project manager and director Alison Rainey developed a new 1,400-square-foot addition that creates a dialog with the existing 900-square-foot bungalow through experiences of thresholds, gardens, materials, and light. “The relatively compact home program was fit creatively into a smaller footprint, yet the space feels large and open,” Rainey explains.
By using similar structural systems and archetypal forms, but clearly different materials, the resulting zinc-clad extension possesses a timeless quality that merges with the traditional character of the original red brick bungalow. “The “breathing” exterior skin—corrugated zinc—standing off the structure creates a chimney effect where hot air rises and exhausts at the top of the wall, providing constant air circulation at the exterior building envelope to help maintain the temperature of the exterior skin,” Rainey explains.
The home is now entered within the garden space between the old and new house. The resulting glazed vestibule has an indoor/outdoor quality that introduces the common idea inherent throughout the rest of the home: Walls always serve a purpose other than merely dividing space. Walls are used as storage, space-defining sculptural elements, and masses that contain private functions.
Many aspects of the material and systems selection and construction methods employ energy saving ideas. A formaldehyde-free environment was achieved by using the concrete slab as a finished surface, existing wood flooring, and non-toxic custom cabinetry. Non-petroleum based finishes and sealers were used on the millwork and flooring. Low-VOC paint was used on the small amount of drywall used in the home.
Low-E insulated glass units were installed throughout the new addition. High-density spray-in foam was applied in the new walls and ceiling, as well as in the existing attic space.
The orientation and location of glazing on the building increase natural daylighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting. During the majority of the year, the location of window openings allows the homeowners to enjoy the use of cross ventilation for passive cooling.
The entire home has been outfitted with a high-volume central heating and air-conditioning system, with programmable thermostats. The home is also equipped with low-flow plumbing fixtures and a high-efficiency water heater.
The architects are particularly proud of urban infill context of the home. “We utilized an existing developed lot and added onto, not demolished,” Rainey says. “We built onto something that already exists and made it better and more efficient.”