This historic renovation and construction of 2 new single-family homes on 2 lots is in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis city responds to historic precedents in a new, viable way for modern living. By occupying the rear yard with the 3rd house, this development recreates the original 19th century condition of social clustering through courtyard living. As envisioned by then real estate developer Thomas Allen, the creation of rear-entry units accessed through a courtyard allowed extended families of immigrants to live both together and separate. In this 20th Century incarnation, the courtyards create generous thresholds and outdoor recreation spaces that include areas for gardening, screened-in porches, and a fire pit.
Taking inspiration from the context of the neighborhood, all 3 houses are 2-story brick with simple pitched roofs and a 3rd story dormer. The homes are each 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with open living and dining areas. The courtyard configuration allows for natural daylight and connection to the outdoors on the sides.
While it met all of the conditions prescribed by neighborhood guidelines, and had popular support from the city for innovative new construction, this project nonetheless became controversial enough to stall its development. While not necessarily off the table, it is at best tabled at this time. Our optimism for the city keeps hope alive for this development to one day move from the unbuilt to built category.