SOL Austin – Solutions Oriented Living – is a model development of a sustainable community that integrates social, economic and ecological components to create a “holistic community”. The project was a result of a partnership between KRDB Architects, Beck-Reit contractors, the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC) and the Austin Housing Finance Corporation. The medium density, single-family in-fill project in central east Austin, just three miles from downtown incorporates a significant portion of low-income and affordable housing, sustainable practices and consideration for the kind of future that developments like this can create.
Read on for photos, plans and more information about this project, considered for the AIA 2011 Design Awards in Urban Design.
Being just three miles from the downtown area of Austin, the development is located along public transportation routes and in close proximity to many amenities: public schools, parks, three organic farms and a vibrant East Austin arts community. The development is 5.5 acres, re-zoned to SF4-A and developed into 38 lots composed of 40 units, ranging from 550 sf to 1800 sf. The units are arranged around a central pocket park and all have access to quality outdoor space. Driveways are shared, parking is off the street, a composition of variable setbacks breaks the monotony inherent to most residential developments, and creates a dynamic public realm. The landscaping is considerate of Austin’s climate, all of which was chosen for its tolerance to periods of drought. The project also incorporates the first permitted sub-grade bio-filtration facility in the city.
Passive environmental design was developed for every home with the goal of achieving net-zero energy use. Energy modeling helped develop the systems to ensure that the homes were developed with the right components of SIPS panels, geothermal energy and building materials. This process also factored in the most economical solution for building. At 60% sold and built, GNDC has already committed 16 of the 40 homes for either home ownership or permanent, affordable rental housing.