Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Louisville Shotguns II: Phoenix Hill Shotgun Revival

Shotgun Houses, so called because you can fire a shotgun in the house and not hit anything because the doors all line up…
Also considered to be bad mojo, which is why not all the doors line up in some NOLA examples (drawing from that Shotgun House booklet featured in the previous post)

In modern times here are some examples of shotgun house work in the Phoenix Hill neighborhood just east of downtown Louisville (which really should be called Preston's Addition as this part of the neighborhood is flat as a board…no hill here!).

This flat part was mostly wiped out by urban renewal and commercial expansion, but there've been periodic attempts to revive the pockets of what's left. To date this community housing development group has been pretty successful in putting in affordable housing for folks, as a mix of renovation and new construction, but the new construction makes an effort to work within the shotgun house typology prevalent in this part of the city.

As an example this set of three. I can't tell what's new or old. The one on the corner might be an original, but heavily remodeled (yet still retaining the essential houseform). The neighbors looks like camelbacks, but the backs covers more of the first story than a true 19th century camelbacks, so they are probably new.

Around the corner, more examples of infill. Note there is an attention to trad detailing with the fish scale shingles on the gable (second from right).

Then this set, more infill, with that modified camelback style
Same block, different angle. Note the house on the far end of the block, with the little dormer detail (the one with the arrow pointing at it)…
….this is an example of picking up on or referencing yet another local Louisville vernacular architectural feature, as these center dormers are found on a lot of 19th century houses that might be a local versions of the foursquare, as in this picture from a neighborhood in the south end of the city, with the little dormer detail (the one with the arrow pointing at it)…

So, whoever is building these is really in-tune with period vernacular architecture styles in the city.

This was going to be just a generic street scene and an example of something one doesn't see much of in Dayton: a working corner store. Instead there is a lessons-learned here, too, for corner infill sites. Note that on the side of the store there are doors and apartments, so the building takes advantage of two street frontages.

Directly across the street is this unit, also on a corner lot. Note that the front of the house is a two story unit with a façade that reads as a single family house, similar to the others on the block. Yet the unit extends along the side street with additional apartments or duplexes, conceptually similar to the store across the street, taking advantage of a the two-street frontage to achieve a slight increase in density.

Another block. These are closer to true camelback shotguns as the second story is set further back from the front, so the front reads more as a long/narrow, like a trad shotgun. There are some true shotgun houses surviving on the block, at the far left (looks like blue/gray painted brick), and a part of one just visible at the far right edge of the pix.

Phoenix Hill Shotgun Revival...this one looks pretty good. Good fit.

And what's happening in Phoenix Hill is not limited to new construction. Check out this myspace page : "Restore Phoenix Hill", about the restoration of a shotgun house about three or four blocks north of these pix.

The big lesson here, though, is how an old neighborhood that was being abandoned is being brought back with a contextual, infill-based architectural approach, working with and developing within a local vernacular traditionally used for affordable housing.

Maybe something folks doing infill in Dayton can learn from? A context-sensitive way to fill in vacant lots as nuisance properties get demolished, basing the replacements on local trad vernacular styles?


Anonymous said...

Jeff, do you know how a developer in Louisville is obtaining these properties? Are they a part of a citywide effort to remove derelect houses and replace them with new units in context with the neighborhood? Finally, are these homes speculative and what do they run for?

Jefferey said...

I am not sure about the specific units here, as I just saw them while driving around no details.

There is something called "The Phoenix Hill Association" that might be involved.

From the Louisville Encyclopedia:
" ...the association has continued each year to purchase vacant lots and deteriorated houses, replacing them with new homes. The yield...has been 30 new market rate single family owner occupied homes". The article goes on to say that they do montioring of conditions of existing structures and lots.

There is some other examples of infill in this neighborhood and in Russell, on the west side of the city. Russell would be a good example to look at, too.

Infill things are happening citywide, in other neighborhoods, but more upscale. I picked this area as it served my didactic purpose and was sort of comparable to Dayton.

The other big thing in Louisville is the removal of old housing projects & replacing them with townhouses and apartments. This is happening about three blocks west of these pix. You can google "Liberty Green" to find out about that.

That isn't too unusual, and one can see the same thing nearby in Cincinnati, and even in Dayton, over in Dayton View.

Hedy Louisville Houses said...

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