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News > Context Summer 2023 > Design Profile: Oxford Green

Design Profile: Oxford Green

ISA Architects 
Photos: Sam Oberter   
Photos: Sam Oberter   

The Oxford Green development is the largest, greenest project to-date by the Philadelphia chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Sited in Sharswood, the project provides homeownership opportunities for 20 low-income families through HfH’s unique community building model. While HfH historically has been known for its single-family suburban detached houses, Oxford Green’s higher density attached model provides enhanced sustainability, efficiency and livability for residents. Sited on a former PHA superblock, Oxford Green plays a crucial role in reconnecting the site to the surrounding neighborhood. New streets were built or reactivated after decades of closure, and multiple developers were assigned pieces of the larger parcel. With Oxford Green, HfH piloted a restoration back to traditional rowhouse fabric, with two-story attached rowhomes lining two blocks on the south side of Oxford Street to complete the long-interrupted urban edge. Each house faces the street with an entry door and stoop, manages stormwater onsite with a green roof, and provides an ample fenced rear yard for safe, private social events and play. The homes are spatially, economically and energy efficient, maximizing homeowner value while minimizing cost of living. Analysis of past HfH layouts resulted in crucial adjustments to rationalize framing and MEP systems and enhance access to natural light. Three bedrooms and one bathroom stack above an open living space with central kitchen and powder room designed to accommodate future homeowner improvements and multi-generational households while incorporating donated fixtures and finishes. A contemporary response to color and materiality references the context with a palette of red and beige fiber-cement lap siding and corrugated metal panels that was affordable, procurable and easily installed by local construction crews and volunteers. The design approach reinforced HfH’s mission while maintaining a sensitive approach to the organization’s unique structure and serving as a key design prototype for its future growth. 

Project: Oxford Green  

Location: Philadelphia, PA    

Client: Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia 

Project Size: 34,500 sf  

Project Team:  
ISA Architects (Architect)  

Studio Sustena (Landscape Architect) 

Cornerstone Consulting Engineers (Civil Engineer)  

Cornerstone Consulting Engineers (Civil Engineer)  

Larsen & Landis Structural Engineers (Structural Engineer)  

Stephen Wayland (MEP Engineer) 

Habitat for Humanity (General Contractor) 

Photos: Sam Oberter   

Diagram: ISA  


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