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Side by Side

Cleveland, OH

SIDE by SIDE is a prototype for co-living that aims to bring together people of various ages and abilities. Designed by Harlem-based firm BRANDT:HAFERD, for a site in the Cleveland neighborhood of Old Brooklyn, the project places a pair of three story houses “side by side” on adjacent lots. Presented in a playful claymation model, the proposal won the 2019 Zero Threshold Design Competition, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation to generate bold ideas that address real-world accessibility concerns.

At the heart of the design is an accessible, double-decker elevator that acts as a moveable room, a means of vertical circulation, and a suture between the structures. An interstitial zone of communal spaces wraps around this central spine, encouraging residents to socialize. A shared kitchen on the lowest level, a roof deck, and a rear garden all provide more opportunities for residents to congregate. The goal was to create a grouping of five apartments—two for families and three for singles—where people of all abilities can live together.

While exploring opportunities to integrate people of various ages and abilities, the architects also examined ways of stitching SIDE by SIDE into the neighborhood around it. So, the firm went beyond the scope of the competition brief and proposed using a third property as a temporary community garden and park with a bus kiosk at one end and SIDE by SIDE at the other. The DNA of the neighborhood—with its mix of incomes and ethnic groups—also informed the design and the siting of the prototype offers an opportunity to bridge differences.


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