Garden Statement

written by:
photos by:
December 19, 2010

On a once-vacant corner lot in a transitional Jersey City neighborhood, a pair of local architects devised a clever prefab for a resourceful client.

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  A cedar-slat rain screen hangs on the facade of Denis Carpenter’s concrete house in Jersey City, softening its appearance and adding a modest dash of color. Carpenter keeps the awning-style windows open in the spring and summer, creating a draft that compensates for the lack of an air-conditioning system.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    A cedar-slat rain screen hangs on the facade of Denis Carpenter’s concrete house in Jersey City, softening its appearance and adding a modest dash of color. Carpenter keeps the awning-style windows open in the spring and summer, creating a draft that compensates for the lack of an air-conditioning system.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  Carpenter poses outside his house, which is shoehorned into a tiny nonconforming lot among a block’s worth of older row houses and a derelict public park.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    Carpenter poses outside his house, which is shoehorned into a tiny nonconforming lot among a block’s worth of older row houses and a derelict public park.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  Eighteen insulated concrete panels, each a different size and shape, were trucked to the site and hoisted into place over three days. The outlines of eight of these panels can be seen when the house is viewed from the southwest.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    Eighteen insulated concrete panels, each a different size and shape, were trucked to the site and hoisted into place over three days. The outlines of eight of these panels can be seen when the house is viewed from the southwest.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  The salvaged 1950s-era kitchen cabinets by Republic Steel, covered with a new Formica countertop, represent both a significant cost savings and Carpenter’s commitment to sustainability. The kitchen opens onto a 72-square-foot deck that offers a view of the Statue of Liberty.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    The salvaged 1950s-era kitchen cabinets by Republic Steel, covered with a new Formica countertop, represent both a significant cost savings and Carpenter’s commitment to sustainability. The kitchen opens onto a 72-square-foot deck that offers a view of the Statue of Liberty.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  The architects used three ceiling heights in the living area, entrance vestibule, and kitchen, creating distinct spaces without building walls.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    The architects used three ceiling heights in the living area, entrance vestibule, and kitchen, creating distinct spaces without building walls.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  Carpenter, a former professional musician, spends considerable time playing several instruments around the house, including his bass recorder.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    Carpenter, a former professional musician, spends considerable time playing several instruments around the house, including his bass recorder.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  His patio was constructed with bricks salvaged in the excavation process.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    His patio was constructed with bricks salvaged in the excavation process.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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  Carpenter spends a lot of time outside on his rear deck.  Photo by: Samantha Contis

    Carpenter spends a lot of time outside on his rear deck.

    Photo by: Samantha Contis

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