A site next to a railroad overpass might not be the most apparent one for a single-family house, but it is more than suitable for façades covered in Cor-ten steel. The four-story Woodard Residence, designed by Memphis's archimania, is a standout in an area not far from the banks of Mississippi River. The architects at archimania answered a few questions about the project.
View from the west at dusk
Please provide an overview of the project.
This urban residence is situated within a mixed-use development between the South Main Historic Arts District and the Mississippi River bluff. The small lot was carved from a recently completed development including a re-purposed warehouse into offices and four attached townhomes. The 3,750-sf home consists of four levels: a ground floor garage/office, a second floor suite for the client’s mother and her caregiver, living and kitchen on the third, and a master suite on the fourth floor. The compact site exists between a railroad overpass to the north and an alley to the east, allowing shared vehicular access to the home.
The overall massing is broken down using durable and low maintenance materials. A Cor-ten-clad rectangular form rests atop a ground-face masonry base. The Cor-ten volume is further articulated with a series of large scale carves that form balconies and window openings that frame views. Planar elements clad in charcoal standing seam metal encase the circulation wing and fourth floor master suite and employ glass and charred wood infill.
View from the southwest
A large projection on the west is an external expression of the intersection between the main mass and circulation wing. Positioning the circulation wing perpendicular to the main volume maximizes the interior space, takes advantage of the triangular shaped lot and provides lateral stability for the four-story structure. This articulation of the mass mediates the various scales and materiality of the surrounding industrial context and allows the interior programmatic elements to be a clear expression on the exterior.
View from the southeast
What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
The Woodard Residence is a personal residence for a developer on an unused piece of land left from his recently completed mixed-use development. The clients sought to be tucked away from activity, but maintain views of the Mississippi River and the downtown Memphis skyline.
View from the east
How did the project change between the initial design stage and the completion of the building?
The use of space inside altered the location of the windows and doors.
Was the project influenced by any trends in energy-conservation, construction, or design?
We limited exposure on the west façade. The main glass expanse faces north, and all southern glazing is protected by a balcony.
Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Ground Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
Third Floor Plan
Fourth Floor Plan