Rhode Island “Pocket Neighborhood” Named Community of the Year in National Design Competition

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Contact: Stephanie Pagan
(202) 266-8254
spagan@nahb.org

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The “pocket neighborhood” of Castle Street Cottages on Rope Walk Hill in East Greenwich, R.I., was named the Community of the Year in the 2019 Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The Community of the Year award was sponsored by Monogram Appliances.

The new development, an example of a design popular across the Pacific Northwest, is a planned community made up of smaller residences—often around a courtyard or common garden—designed on a small plot of land that promotes a close-knit sense of community or “neighborliness” due to an increased level of contact.

Architects Union Studio Architecture & Community Design, developer and builder East Greenwich Cove Builders LLC and interior designer Zarrella Developer Corp. created what is just the third recognized “pocket neighborhood” in New England and the first in Rhode Island. Landscape architect Wilfrid L. Gates, Jr., ASLA, interior merchandiser Premier Home Staging and land planner Horsley Witten Group also worked on the community and contributed to its success.

Situated on a hill looking out to the harbor and up to the main street to the west, the cottages draw their inspiration from both the workers’ cottages and the grander homes of the district. They represent an extremely creative solution to the challenge of situating a multi-unit project in a historic neighborhood of single-family cottages.

Added to the intrinsic efficiency of compact units, and a relatively high density, the inclusion of two units deed-restricted to people with low and moderate incomes ensures this is affordable to many. The most prominent theme of the site design are the grand steps that lead up to the shared courtyard. The steps solve the grade issue while providing a fitting and impressive address on Castle Street, and they contrast the intimate scale of the cottages and the courtyard they share.

“This community is ‘super cute,’” said BALA’s 2019 judging panel. Judges praised the site design that gives all home owners a view of the water. “Detailing is precise, and special touches like on-trend storage options, the pathway compass and thoughtfully designed tucked-away parking all contribute to this project’s success.”

In its 36th year, BALA recognizes outstanding achievement by builders and design professionals in all sectors of the residential housing industry including single-family production, custom, rental, affordable, interiors, remodeling, community and international. Award winners were announced at the annual NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

Additional information about the 2019 BALA winners, including photographs of the projects, can be found at bestinamericanliving.com.