Daniel Flagg Villas
East Broad and 34th Streets
Thomas Square Streetcar Historic District
Union Mission Phoenix Project
Type of Services:
Historic Preservation, Rehabilitation, Architecture, Engineering
2004 Renovation, 2017 Upgrades
2005 AIA Savannah Architectural Merit
2005 Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
2004 AIA Georgia Excellence in Architecture
2004 Georgia Department of Community Affairs Magnolia Award
2004 Historic Savannah Foundation
Affordable housing was needed to support Union Mission’s Phoenix House, a non-profit outreach and treatment facility with a mission of homelessness prevention. A badly deteriorated block of historic railroad cottages on a site adjacent to the facility offered an opportunity to fill this need in a convenient location. Revitalizing an entire residential block within a challenged inner city neighborhood was an attractive prospect to everyone involved, including HUD, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the City of Savannah.
The cottages were in poor condition, and one of the six buildings had to be completely demolished and rebuilt within the original footprint. The remainder of the units were carefully restored and adapted to the special needs of the residents. The lone commercial building on the site, a former laundry, was initially slated for demolition and to be replaced by another cottage. The design team recognized the potential in using the small concrete block structure to create a unique dwelling unit that could easily be made wheelchair accessible, as its existing floor was at sidewalk level.
An ethic of community and a strong sense of place were fundamental to the design solution. Front porches were restored, rear stoops were added, and a common courtyard/green space was created. A vibrant color scheme gives the project a playful and creative identity and highlights the individual significance of each cottage and its residents.
The project serves as a model for private/public sector cooperation in providing affordable housing to a vulnerable and underserved population, while avoiding the institutional stigma so pervasive in the development of subsidized housing.