Renowned affordable housing developer McCormick Baron selected Farr Associates to lead the master planning process and architectural design team for a HOPE-VI funded redevelopment of Duneland Village in Gary, Indiana. The site context is unique: to the east it has multiple street connections to Miller Beach’s main drag Lake Street, and is otherwise surrounded on three sides by a National Seashore. This natural area is home to the endangered Monarch Butterfly, a design motif from nature that in part inspired the site plan.

The building program included 121 rental apartments ranging in size from one to four bedrooms and a management office/community center with computer labs and a seasonal outdoor pool. ADA units were provided for each unit size. With only one exception the buildings are all attached dwellings, mostly townhomes, a portion of the building types menu referred to as missing middle.  The traditional architectural styles of the buildings were inspired by precedents from southern Lake Michigan beach communities. Continuous front porches provide a prompt for neighborliness and social interaction.

Neighborhood safety is enhanced through narrow (26’ curb to curb) streets that slow travel speeds an enhancement reinforced by short building setbacks. Small blocks each feature a walk-to totlot. Buildings enclose the block perimeter, screening interior parking. The master plan took advantage of the site’s highly porous sandy soils by creating a central stormwater “midway” and four block-serving rain gardens. By providing these stormwater facilities at different scales the project could scale back the money it needed spent on drainage infrastructure to just four – 40’ long pipes! Lush native plantings designed by Site Design Inc. nests the development into its natural surroundings. Meanwhile 10 buildable lots, suitable for new homes, sit waiting at the end of the circus.

Client: McCormick Baron

Location: Gary, IN