Michael Friebele
Contributed by:
Michael Friebele
Assoc. AIA

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Unbuilt Design Awards Spotlight: Grotto: An Infill Prototype - NIMMO

Leading up to the Unbuilt Design Awards Closing Reception on July 11th at Life in Deep Ellum we will take a look at the five entries honored this year in more detail prior to the panel discussion.

The closing reception for this year’s Unbuilt Design Awards Gallery will be held at Life in Deep Ellum Saturday, July 11th from 6-9pm. We welcome back members of the winning project teams for an engaging discussion about their work, the show as a whole, as well as the dialogue of design. Leading up to the event we will refresh, in brief, the winning entries as well as some of the juror comments.

A friend and frequent contributor to the AIA Dallas Basecamp, Andrew Barnes and I often spend an afternoon or two during each month on his second story porch in the M streets. The view is not spectacular but just right, overlooking the neighboring houses with the Lakewood Theater spire showing proudly in the distance. The porch is above the street but not disconnected, creating a perch open for discussion with the neighbors below. About a year ago in swift fashion neighboring homes were being removed one by one, quickly replaced by massive homes that maximize the site to the brim with interior living space with little regard for their respective surroundings.

Grotto, an infill prototype by Nimmo Architecture, at its very core bucks this M Street trend with a modern design system that is sensible both inward and outward. The judges noted the clarity of the design and follow through of six main objectives:

Generate a generous amount of connection to a variety of outdoor spaces.

Design flexibility.

Build to a high construction standard.

Integrate passive solar strategies.

Provide a favorable level of privacy.

Cater to a contemporary urban lifestyle.

The flexible platform addresses urban adjacencies and scalar relationship through a play between interior and exterior volumes. From a series of larger blocks each unique expression of the Grotto concept can systematically adjust to respond to a menu of conditions and influences. The result homes reflect a simplicity and presence that we have come to know in the built work of Nimmo.

Representing one of the only prototype systems within this year’s Unbuilt program, Grotto expresses elegantly what can be with a thorough knowledge of constraints as a design medium.

To view more on Grotto: An Infill Prototype visit the AIA Design Awards Unbuilt Gallery.