Habitat House in Trenton

We just completed our plans for a new prototype house to be built by the Trenton affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Breaking with their previous direction of a more suburban model, the Board of Directors and the Construction Committee both agreed to let us design a new, simpler model that is fast to construct and is very energy efficient. The exterior shell is constructed of 6 1/2" Structural Insulated Panels (or SIPs) which will provide a tight and well insulated enclosure. The use of SIPs should also decrease the overall construction time and allow Habitat to complete more houses in a year. Render-Faded Crop
 This initial design is for a detached single family residence, and later iterations of this will include attached single family (or duplex) and a row-house model. This project is being sponsored by Bloomberg and we hope to start construction this summer, pending approval by the City of Trenton. Check back for updates!


A House in Trenton

Last week the Tranton Chapter of Habitat-For-Humanity received approvals from the Trenton Zoning Commission for a small, infill, house project that we designed for them. It will be their first house constructed using SIP's and we are hoping it becomes their new "standard".

Here is the street view showing the covered, recessed, entry door:


The facade will be brick veneer and is capped with a modern interpretation of a traditional cornice line.

In the rear we have designed a simple, covered, porch off the kitchen:



Clinton Lofts @ 200 Hamilton

We have been working on the Clinton Lofts project since late 2008 and it has gone thru many iterations and a couple of name changes as well. The current design, which recently received preliminary planning board approval from the City of Trenton, will have 3000 sf of street level retail, three live/work spaces of 1200 sf each and 12 residential units on the upper floors. The third and fourth floor units will be two-level with roof decks and two or three bedrooms.

Here is a photo of the site currently:

Here are some early concept images for the project:

200 Ham_3
And, no, there is not a heli-pad in the project....

The project will be incorporating a large number of sustainable features and will be pursuing LEED certification under the LEED for Homes Program.

And finally, here are images of the current design, which hopefully will be close to what will be built:

0831-PB Perspectives_3
0831-PB Perspective__2
0831-PB Perspectives1

At this point, the residential units will be for sale and will be quite spectacular, with a two story living room and exposed stair cases, modern kitchens and baths.

The project is being developed by two Trenton based groups: The DeRosa Group and Urban Word, LLC. Check back here on occasion for updates on the project and a coming marketing/sales website.


New Market Specific Website

We have finally gotten the first iteration of our new PACE Community Center website up after several months to trying. Don't get too excited about it, since there is still a lot of information that needs to go into it, but at least it is a start.

PACE Center Design

If you are wondering why we have this site, it is directed at healthcare organizations that are interested in opening and operating a Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly. This model of care delivery started in California back in the 70's, and you can read more about it here. PACE is new to NJ, and we were the first architectural firm to design a NJ specific PACE community center for LIFE-St Francis. You can check out the project here. Click on the image that rolls over as LIFE St. Francis.

If you are interested in learning more about PACE in NJ, or PACE in general, please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We will put you in touch with the right person to answer your questions. Feel free to let us know what you think about the site too.


The pain of growing smart.

NJ Future had an op/ed piece in the Trenton Times today that looked at what it might take for NJ to become a livable state once again. I really like the premise and the direction, but am pessimistic about it happening. Does anyone think that the power brokers really care about anything like good ideas? The thought of my local school board actually giving up autonomy for the greater good makes me shiver, and not in a good way. The institutionalized indifference to big ideas (either good or bad, but especially good) and the idea that "I/we can run things better than they can" kills me. If you feel the same way, I would love to hear from you about how we can affect systemic change at the local level, short of revolution (which, BTW, I would not mind...)


Hamilton Township just does not get it...

I was greatly disappointed a week ago when I read an article in the Trenton Times about the approval of the housing development adjacent to the Hamilton Train Station. It is clear to me that Mayor Bencivengo and his staff do not understand sustainable planning and design, even though they are quick to pay lip service to the concept when it is beneficial to them.

Here is a quote from the Times article:

HAMILTON -- A five-year battle over a plan to build hundreds of residences near the train station appears to have ended this week when the planning board voted to approve the latest version of the project.

Saying they had no choice but to give approval, board members voted 6-1 Thursday night to permit Columbia Group at Hamilton, a venture led by Jack Morris of Piscataway-based Edgewood Properties, to move forward with construction.

"I cannot in good faith have the township spend additional taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit," if the application were rejected, said planning board member Mike Angarone, the township's economic development director.

"Government should do everything in its power to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again in Hamilton," he added, drawing applause from several people in the crowd of about two-dozen observers in the township municipal building.

You can read the full text here.

The Times followed up the story with an Op/Ed piece that hit the nail on the head. What is so wrong with this type of development? It is on top of a mass transit node, the building designs are primarily targeted for small families which commute to work in NYC or Philly, it will reduce the amount of cars on local streets and the list goes on and on. Hamilton has fallen into this rut where children and solid planning are now the enemies of the state. God forbid that the township tax base grows and it has a future. The town current PR likes to position itself as 'America's Favorite Hometown'. I guess that works as long as you don't want to start a family or have a family, and like sitting in traffic every time you venture out of you sprawl inducing development.


McAuliffe + Carroll Architects, LLC on YouTube, watch out John Stewart

After we were invited to Councilman Jim Coston's radio show several weeks ago, Jim was gracious enough to highlight us as the Southward Business of the Week on his blog. He even produced a short video on YouTube featuring Jim and I in various cool architect related poses. And don't ask me why I kept my hands in my pockets like some urban cowboy...



Sustainable Lawrence Green Building Expo

This Saturday is the Sustainable Lawrence Green Building Expo at the Lawrenceville School. We will be presenting again this year on Architecture and Design, and will be joined by a number of other presenters talking about various issues related to sustainability.

The keynote speaker is Marty Johnson from Isles. If you have never had a chance to hear Marty talk about sustainability, I highly recommend you attend. Isles has been working in the greater Trenton area since 1981 to great success and Marty brings a lot of experience and perspective with him.

Expo '09