Design Award Entries

1424 SoMa

1424 SoMa’s mix of apartments and retail bridges a gap in the businesses along South Main Street in Little Rock while also contributing a much needed solution to “missing middle” housing. On a lot formerly occupied by a vacated laundromat and surface parking lot, the building engages the street at a pedestrian level while second floor bay windows gesture to the neighborhood’s history offering views of the city center.

Project Statement

This infill project is designed to be a striking addition to the burgeoning SoMa district while respecting the scale and historic nature of the neighborhood. The living units are a mix of studios and lofts that share a courtyard for gathering on the second floor. This central courtyard not only provides an amenity for the tenants, but also further breaks down the scale of the building to a more pedestrian level at the sidewalk. Two living units occupy the ground floor and allow the possibility of a live/work option with the small retail bays centered in the building. Traditional rhythms and symmetry are combined with newer materials and colors that veer from the typical South Main palette.

South of the Interstate-630 divide, SOMA is a large, mostly residential neighborhood with multiple overlapping historic districts. It has an eclectic mix of buildings from early 1900s Victorian architecture to more mid century small scale retail buildings.1424 Soma is one of very few new-construction projects in the district, and is unique in its more modern design. To satisfy key design standards outlined by the Design Overlay Commission, factors such as height, scale, and proportion had to be considered for their appropriateness. The commission did allow for the building to be set back 3 feet to allow for outdoor dining along the front to activate the streetlife which is important to the vibrancy of the district.

AIA Arkansas