In many ways, “Uptown Row” is a development between two worlds. The site is situated less than 500 feet away from a light rail station in Uptown Phoenix, between a heavy commercial thoroughfare and historic residential district. Its typology straddles the line between a single-family home and multi-family complex. It is part of a city that relies on the automobile but is actively shifting towards public transportation. This 10-unit greyfield development designed by young Phoenix based architecture firm The Ranch Mine and built and developed by Boxwell Southwest finds harmony in a diverse neighborhood, stitching together disparate elements in a refined, modern complex.
The design intent of this development was to create a pedestrian friendly single-family area in a largely automobile centric city. The site plan breaks down into two identical, mirrored buildings, roughly the same size as the commercial buildings to the west and south. Each building contains 5 townhomes that break down the overall mass into widths roughly the same size of the historic homes to its east, providing a residential scale familiar to the neighborhood. Each of these units are accessed via pedestrian walkways amid desert plantings and a spaced block wall that provides casual opportunities for socializing with neighbors.
Specific attention was paid to the placement of windows and rooms, providing consistent “eyes on the street”. The front units have ground floor offices with separate entrances from the home for the increasing number of people who have home businesses. Custom cor-ten steel window boxes poke out from the standing seam metal skin to provide additional shade for these front facing windows. All of the units have 10 foot ceilings and large sliding glass doors that open up the inside to private courtyards, making the spaces live larger than their footprint.
There are 3 primary exterior materials in the development, rusted steel, adobe inspired face brick, and stucco. The rusted metal takes it cue from the heavy industrial feel to the west and south of the property, and clads the front of the structure as well as the drive court. The tallest part of the structure is clad in face brick that evokes the 90 year old adobe house that book ends the opposite corner of the street, and is the oldest house on the block. The stucco and offset concrete block site walls bring in the most common materials in the neighborhood.