A collaboration between the AN Best of Design Award-winning firm and Denver-based architect and contractor Joe Dooling (DDB), the project, which places six studios in the front and two split-level studios facing the alley, was designed to accommodate local zoning codes allowing for the construction of two main houses with accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the back of two adjacent 25-foot-wide parcels.
Set two miles from Denver’s city center, the project was designed with features that the firm expected would uniquely benefit low-income families living in the suburbs. “The project acknowledges how larger single-family residences in well-located neighborhoods are frequently shared by roommates and friends, and was designed to cater to those needs. Integrating shared kitchen and living room, laundry areas, a powder room, and paved outdoor areas, the project stages a subtle balance between the need for privacy and the possibility of social interaction,” PRODUCTORA explained.
The front units feature double-height entrance areas and their upper floors include sleeping mezzanines accessible via ladders for their younger occupants, while the ADUs in the back face the alley with roll-up garage doors to provide an unobstructed connection with the outdoors during the summer months. Looking into the center of the site through the large windows of any of the eight units, the project can be likened to a small village.
PRODUCTORA was able to maintain high-level design with a tight budget (roughly $200 per square foot) by employing economical construction materials, including a standing seam metal roof and board and batten facade, all in standard yet eye-catching shades of blue. In this way, the project bears a striking resemblance to Casa Nova, the firm’s recently-completed single-family home in Los Angeles designed in collaboration with Part Office, which also contrasts a blue metal siding that contrasts a warm wooden interior. In both settings, the uncompromising use of blue allows them to stand out from their more demure surroundings.