Our award-winning Courtyard Project was built with sustainable architecture in Petaluma, Sonoma County. The Courtyard Project clusters small houses as an enclave around a shared community green space. The courtyard is devoid of vehicles and fosters a friendly, quiet, pedestrian environment where neighbors are apt to engage in conversation while getting their mail or sitting on their porch.
MAD Architecture has worked with Jim Soules and Milli Fredricks, the project’s developers, over 4 years to fit eight 1500sf units into an urban infill site. The new Courtyard Project snuggles in amongst mature oaks on a dormant farmstead near downtown Petaluma, where an old farmhouse has dominated the property since 1897.
With the site’s heritage in mind, the design of the houses references the many small outbuildings that once occupied the property behind the farmhouse. This was accomplished through the use of honest materials; concrete, metal, and natural wood, some of which is weatherized using the traditional Japanese burning technique shou sugi ban.
As the centerpiece of the project, Jim and Milli commissioned artist Jenny Lynn Hall to collaborate with MAD in cladding the commons building with burnt cedar and colored lime plaster panels. The art piece is inspired by the site’s backdrop, a sweeping view of Sonoma Mountain.
Jim and Milli are not only the developers of this project but also neighbors, having built the MAD designed ‘MiJi’ house in 2014 nearby.
“Keller Court Commons had me from my first steps onto the site! The setting, the homes, the landscape — everything about it is thoughtfully conceived and meticulously executed. As an architect and green building consultant, I’m not easy to impress, but Keller Court Commons embodies so many values I have embraced and promoted over the years: the sense of community, without being intrusive; modestly sized but extremely well-designed and highly functional homes; a focus on quality, durability, and craftsmanship; a beautiful landscape; quiet and serenity; and the central, walkable location. It’s about as close to my ideal as I am ever likely to find — short of designing and building something very much like it myself!”
– Ann V. Edminster, M.Arch., LEED AP, Author of Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet, and a Keller Court Resident