In 2003, Coen + Partners was commissioned to improve the sense of community and enhance development marketability for Mayo Woodlands, a 120-unit planned residential community on 220 acres in Rochester, Minnesota. The final plat, created by a local engineering firm, followed the typical suburban model of curvilinear cul-de-sacs with little relationship to the context of this former agricultural land. Without the possibility of altering lot or road configuration, Coen + Partners strived 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 emerged from the site strategy; contemporary homes feature clear distinction between public and private spaces, direct connection to nature through views, trails and conservation of green spaces. Attention to solar orientation maximizes winter daylight within each structure. This redesign of a typical suburban neighborhood won a prestigious Progressive Architecture (P/A) Citation for design innovation in 2003. The project is featured in World’s Away: New Suburban Landscapes, a national traveling exhibition commissioned by the Walker Art Center and Carnegie Museum of Art.