Old + New on Ridge Avenue

Highlights and Special Considerations

Working in Philadelphia offers many challenges. Here are a few things we faced here:

  • Working within a Thematic Historic District
  • Working on a renovation of a 100-year-old home.
  • Working with a very shallow site that forced small, economical footprints.

Project size: two 1,000 sf apartments (original house) + three 2,700 sf new homes
Program: redesign an existing home to contain two 1-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom apartments, design three new rowhomes, each containing 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, office, garage, unfinished basement, and roof deck

Exterior Rendering 6526 Ridge

Preliminary rendering

Combining Old & New

This project, located on a corner site in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, included the renovation of an existing Victorian home and development of the land behind it. The existing home was listed on the Historic Register as part of the local Thematic Historic District, and had to be preserved. It was converted into two apartments.

We designed three new rowhomes, sited behind the original house. These homes kept the spirit (if not the style) of neighboring homes with their scale and front porches, but offered amenities including finished basements, open-concept living spaces, roof decks, and garages for a more modern lifestyle.

6526 Ridge Exterior 6

View from Ridge Avenue

Our Biggest Challenge

When the project started, the plan was to demolish the existing home and build a new apartment building. During design, however, it became clear that the neighbors would not support that approach. When the new Thematic Historic District was created, it was the final push that the clients needed to investigate a different approach. Rather than rental apartments in a single building, they pivoted to keeping the existing building as a two-unit rental, and building three for-sale single-family homes. Ultimately, this allowed the Ridge Avenue corridor to keep its character, while allowing for more modern construction behind.

6526 Ridge Exterior 2

Front façade

A Compact Plan

The property is quite shallow, which required us to get creative with the plan. The buildings have a roughly square footprint, which allows for ample living space on the ground floor and compact yet comfortable bedrooms upstairs. A roof deck adds a large outdoor space for relaxing and entertaining. The basement was left open, so the homeowners could use it in a variety of ways.

6526 1st

Ground floor plan

6526 2nd

Second floor plan

6526 basement

Basement plan

6526 3rd

Third floor plan

6526 roof

Roof plan

1245 Ridge Avenue
JBAS Tower – Scranton, PA