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Glass of Milk

Shaker Heights

Winning Entry for the Shaker Design Competition: The Shaker House

The street grid of Shaker Heights in Ohio accommodates many variations on a theme. Together these form a coherent urban fabric, which has a scale, rhythm, and atmosphere that is at the root of its reputation as one of America’s great streetcar suburbs.


This proposal respects that existing context and updates the house typology embedded within it. The exterior is recast as an elegant abstraction of the existing neighborhood pattern language, while the interior is opened up from a series of compartment-like rooms into a large loft-like space that is more conducive to modern living. The Shaker House offers a range of spaces, from the vaulted double-height main space to a series of intimate bedrooms to loft spaces above.


The house is an ultra-efficient home, conceived as a prototype that can be configured in a number of ways, adding more bedrooms, more public space or a combination of both. A range of models based on the same basic building format is envisioned, from small 2-bedroom houses to spacious 4 and 5-bedroom suburban homes.


The Shaker House is designed to work as an individual structure on a single lot between two existing houses, and also in sequences of two or three as shown in the isometric drawing. Materially, the house is conceived of as a monolithic form, using the same material for walls and roof, yet the material itself can be selected from a range of options to further integrate with the existing neighborhood fabric.

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