The Original City deploys missing middle housing multifamily typologies like stacked duplexes, fourplex buildings, and accessory units over garages to achieve affordability. Sharing walls/roofs, stacking wet cores, and amortizing land costs over multiple units allows resources to be spent on amenities that deliver high livability standards. Amenities distributed throughout all units includes balconies, patios, roof terraces, large windows, porches, and interior loft spaces. Shared garages located on the alley effectively manage automobile access to the site, reinforcing a pedestrian-oriented environment necessary for downtown living. Unit mix accommodates the full spectrum of household diversity, ranging from 625 sf live-work efficiencies to 1,600 sf townhouses and flats. The project is essentially an urban pocket neighborhood given its shared green space and parking.

 The architectural expression recognizes downtown Fort Smith as a brick city while acknowledging the site as a seam between downtown and small-scale residential neighborhoods to the north. Accordingly, loft housing on B Street reflects a more domestic sensibility with their pitched roofs while housing on the south end extends the flat-roofed brick buildings common in downtown. Site design is organized by a mid-block pocket court accessed from 3rd Street, giving loft units over the garage a presence on the street. The pocket court allows us to turn mid-block infill units into corner units so that all buildings are corner units. Multiple buildings at small scale facilitate incremental financing and participation from multiple builders.

AuthorLinda Komlos