Design-Build Approach for the Alley House

The student’s design-build proposal for the Solar Decathlon, the Alley House, addresses gentrification pressure, promotes neighborhood revitalization, and facilitates aging in place for local families. The finished building will infill a vacant lot at 201 N. Temple Avenue with an affordable two-family, net-zero energy home that activates public alleys and integrates Sustainable Sites criteria and Passive House principles. This prototype building design showcases energy efficiency, offers community engagement opportunities, and creates a desirable, safe, functional, and healthy home to sustain two families.

The proposal puts forth seven goals that define a successful design for this future built project:

  1. Complimenting Family Lifecycle
  2. Enhancing Sense of Place
  3. Facilitating Educational Opportunities
  4. Creating Resilient Building Design
  5. Fostering Equity
  6. Creating a Sustainable Site

Cardinal Studio developed these goals to strengthen residents’ ability to form a home for their children to grow, develop a strong community connection and provide a reliable, adaptable dwelling that supports sustainable and affordable living. Working with the Englewood CDC and numerous community and industry partners, Cardinal studio continues to refine and develop the best design for future residents.

Alley House Kitchen Render

The Alley House is an affordable, two-family home that adapts to each family’s needs throughout their life stages encouraging and enabling residents to age in place. Cardinal Studio is determined to create a design that addresses the occupants’ needs while providing optimal comfort and adaptability.

For example, the first floor of the house is equipped with a spacious open kitchen and adjacent living space both of which look directly out to the south community alley. This design approach creates two quality family-oriented living spaces with south-facing views that also provide connection and interaction. Amenities are placed at the ground level to accommodate aging in place and include a mechanical room, adequate entrance storage, a full bathroom, and an additional flex space.

The second floor includes spaces oriented to families – two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a flex space where a range of uses can be anticipated from office to exercise room, nursery to bedroom adapting to the family’s needs depending on their stage of life. Each unit also includes a third-floor mezzanine dedicated as a study area or reading nook for adults or
children depending on the residents’ needs.

Alley House Floor Plans and Form Diagram

Alley House Floor Plans and Form Diagram



Alley House Site Location

Site Location| 201 N Temple Ave. Indianapolis, IN

Research indicates that vacant and abandoned properties in the neighborhood continue to disturb the communities’ economy, health, welfare, and safety: Indianapolis is not sheltered from these harsh realities. Yet, communities often respond to difficulties by finding opportunities. One such opportunity is the plan of Cardinal Studio and Englewood Community Development Corporation (ECDC) to reengage this neglected community by constructing multiple family housing units on vacant lots owned by ECDC.