High Interest rates, a slow housing market, and an undesirable inner-city location were three challenges Seven On The Corner Townhouses faced in the fall of 1982. These challenges were met with a strong design concept by the architect and low interest mortgages by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Family Housing Fund. The lending institution, however, required four of the seven units "pre-sold" before construction could begin which made architectural concept and quality architectural drawings critical.
The site was in the midst of an undesirable near north neighborhood, one block off controversial Plymouth Avenue and across the street from North High School. Vacant lots, numerous buildings in disrepair and deterioration, some boarded up made this an urban infill project where it is most desperately needed.
The architectural solution creates a style and character that attracts people's attention.
- Rooftop terraces view the Minneapolis skyline, one of the few amenities the site could offer.
- Security increases by elevating the living spaces with no windows or doors at grade.
- The form defines the corner of 14th and Irving Avenues and stands up to the dominant massing of North High School.
- Along with a variance for the unit/site square foot ratio, special permission was granted the architect's request for curb cuts and driveways to the streets in order to maximize private green space to the interior of the site.
With a Minnesota winter approaching, wood foundations and space trusses were designed to expedite construction and to "super insulate" the units to achieve thermal integrity factors dictated by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Family Housing Fund. The unit plans evolve from the "winding straight-run stair, creating marketable urban living from the boulevard below to the rooftop above."