The first test site for the Starter Home* thesis, 3106 St. Thomas is an undersized lot in the Irish Channel neighborhood. Technically a historic district, the Irish Channel is in fact highly diverse in the character of its built environment, filled with low-density historic housing equally as regional industrial infrastructure. According to the Starter Home* argument, the site is all at once a legal definition, an embedded history, a record of activity, and a physical entity. A Starter Home* expects no tabula rasa, and in fact relies on the specificities of site in order to function at its best, financially, urbanistically, and spatially. The overlay of zoning – both impediment and opportunity – guides the design process but also provides the potentiality of the site as Starter Home* opportunity. With this in mind, no zoning variances were sought, and in its design, 3106 seeks to take advantage of its preconditions: adjacency to a warehouse and a two-family home, a highly restricted, long and narrow footprint, and a rather generous maximum height of forty feet.
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