This project emerges from the challenges and opportunities inherent to, but often ignored, in a conventional residential development in the Midwest region. Set in Rochester, Minnesota, original Mayo Woodlands plat was created by a local engineering firm and followed the typical suburban model: curvilinear cul-de-sacs winding through the 220 acres with little relationship to the context of this former agricultural land. The revised design seeks to improve the sense of community and enhance development marketability for the 120-unit planned residential community, while offering an alternative method to future development in the prairie landscape.
The design strives to reduce the impact of the platted circulation pattern, provide both a physical and psychological framework linking the disparate cul-de-sac neighborhoods, and optimize the architecture as a mechanism for community identity. Taking cues from agricultural patterns and solar aspect, site elements such as treelines, fences and buildings are organized with a strong east-west orientation. The architectural concept emerges from the site strategy: contemporary homes feature clear distinction between public and private spaces, and provide direct connection to nature through views, trails, and green space. Attention to solar orientation maximizes winter daylight within each structure and allows the homeowner to become more in tune with the natural circadian rhythms. Collectively, these design moves subtly encourage residents to engage in their surroundings and take note of environmental nuances of that make up the unique character of the area.