The Thin Flats takes the traditional Philadelphia row house and turns up the charm big time with a LEED Platinum certification and a slew of clever design elements. Designed and built in-house by Onion Flats, the nine units complex is the first certified LEED Homes duplex in the nation. The construction hosts state-of-the-art energy and water conservation measures complimented by an intriguing interior design and rooftop garden patios. A vertical façade helps blend the contemporary look seamlessly with its aged neighbors, playfully magnifying the row house aesthetic. With these flats, meaning thin is in.
The development had to pack a pretty big punch to achieve its LEED Platinum rating. The design starts with an efficient shell made from low-impact framing materials and filled with closed-cell expanding foam. The façade is placed over the shell to provide a kind of mini veranda. Natural daylighting is ever present, and an upper skylight provides ambient light which penetrates through the stairwell’s translucent floor to the levels below.
Below the flooring is a hydronic heating system is supplemented with a solar thermal. In fact each unit’s system – from lights to HVAC to entertainment – is centrally controlled. The result is a 50% reduction in energy cost as compared to homes built to the standard code.
The building is also in proximity to public transportation and helps to revitalize and dated neighborhood. The back parking area uses permeable pavers to absorb rainwater and reduce heat gain. Moreover, the design has integrated a plug-in station for electric vehicles. Residences are also invited to use the electric wheels provided on site.
The roof deck provides an extraordinary escape calling for relaxation, and an elevated sanctuary, private garden and patio provide for an outdoor living space without taking up valuable urban space. Morevover, rainwater is collected for the public and private gardens on-site.
The overall design of Thin Flats exemplifies clever place making, contemporary style and sustainable systems, all while pushing the idea of dense but spacious urban development.