Constructing a self-sufficient, vibrant neighborhood of single family homes
Blue Sky Meadows, located in the small river town of Havana, Illinois, was tailor-made to meet the neighborhood's significant need for well-designed affordable workforce housing. Challenged by a flat site and a location that was relatively isolated, WJW imagined a neighborhood within a neighborhood of 40 single-family housing units.
With the site's proximity to a school and a busy street, WJW saw an opportunity to enliven the public thoroughfare by establishing a relationship between the buildings and the street, and ultimately to the neighborhood. Every design element, from configuration of the spaces to finishing details, contributed to the development of this relationship with the street.
WJW thoughtfully captured vernacular architectural elements in a variety of single family home designs that integrate beautifully with the historic architecture of Savannah. Each house has a covered front porch, a back porch, and an attached garage which is carefully designed to avoid dominating the facade of the building. Interiors feature cathedral ceilings in the main living areas, as well as open-concept kitchens and living rooms. A quarter-mile lighted walking path connects to the main site sidewalks, with stops at a playground, a community center with grills and picnic tables, and seating areas along the way. The path further connects to the nearby local junior high and high schools.
The project, which was funded by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, was designed to be sustainable and energy efficient, earning it LEED for Homes Silver Certification and Energy Star certification.