With the growing interest of the millennial population's to live in a city like Buffalo, NY, a majority of neighborhoods that were once considered dangerous and bad places to live are now seen as the opposite. Neighborhoods in Buffalo such as the West Side, Black Rock, The First Ward, and many areas of the East Side have been purchased by young families and developers. This investment in these neighborhoods have brought life, peace, and growing economic values to these neighborhoods.
One of these neighborhoods, The First Ward, was once a thriving place to live. It was near all of the factories and industries that provided employment to most of the population in Buffalo. Once these businesses began closing their doors, the population in Buffalo began to decline and this neighborhood became a place of little attention.
However, with all of the new developments in downtown Buffalo such as Canalside, Silo City, Larkinville, and others in the area, this area of Buffalo is thriving and the housing stock is increasing in value. As one of my 30x30 projects, I wanted to design a single family high end residence in a steadily growing neighborhood of Buffalo, NY. If a high end residence was located in the First Ward, what would influence its design? Would the aesthetics of the house relate to the buildings in the neighborhood? Would the house stand out among the old housing stock? Or blend into the environment?
This single family residence will be located on the parcel between Ohio Street and Louisiana Street, which is a corner shaped lot right before the bridge. This parcel is near all of the new developments along the Buffalo River where new apartments and restaurants are being renovated in historic buildings or built from the ground up. At the corner of the site, there's a large grain elevator, which is a part of Buffalo's historic architecture. The remainder of the site are older houses.
The single family residence in the First Ward neighborhood of Buffalo, NY uses cast in place concrete as its primary structure and exterior material. By using concrete as the primary aesthetic of the house, it's able to relate to the grain elevators which have a grand presence and could be seen from anywhere on the site. At the center of the house, there are several steel columns and beams that support the green roof filled with solar panels made across the river at Tesla's Solar City factory.
As one walks towards the front entrance of the house, one must walk along the taller concrete walls lining the sidewalk. These concrete walls provide privacy for residents of the house who are relaxing in the courtyard. After the concrete wall ends, there is an opening that reveals the front entrance and the parking garage. As one approaches the front entrance, the courtyard could be seen to the right.
Upon entering the front entrance of the house, there's a staircase with a grand chandelier that leads to the private quarters on the lower level. The ground floor has two fireplaces that are on two sides of a large living room area, a dining room that shares a fireplace with the living room, a large kitchen with a island capable of seating 6 people, a half bathroom, an office, and a workshop adjacent to the garage. From the kitchen, one is able to walk out onto the private balcony which is full of lounge furniture, a grill, and a shaded area for relaxing.
On the lower level, there is a master bedroom with a walk in closet and bathroom, three bedrooms that share one large bathroom, a half bathroom, an entertainment area, a lounge area, and utility spaces. On this level, one has access to the private and serene outdoor courtyard through a double door or a four panel lift slide door at the corner of the house. This opens the lounge area to the exterior.
Out in the courtyard, there is a full service bar tucked away at the corner of the house, a grill, large tables for gatherings, lounge chairs, an in ground pool, and an in ground hot tub. There's also a walkway set between a natural landscape that leads to either the stairs up to the balcony level of the house or to the front entrance. At the stairs leading up to the front entrance, there is a large reflection pool.
In terms of technology, the house utilizes geothermal heating and cooling through radiant technology embedded in the concrete floors of the house. The roof of the house is full of solar panels from Tesla's Solar City, which is located nearby on the other side of the Buffalo River. The exterior walkway is heated through embedded electrical wires that melt away snow and ice in the winters and is powered by the solar panels.