Design Award Entries

Skull Creek House

The Skull Creek Home is a single family residence located in the historic area of Fayetteville, AR. The project's name comes from a local water feature that bifurcates a section of the property. What started as a renovation became an exercise in navigating everything from poor soils, stringent site specific codes, local politics, and even the community at large.

Project Statement

This project began in a very unassuming way. The owner was about to start a major renovation and simply wanted someone to come in and 'make sure he wasn't crazy' for what he was about to embark on. He wanted a much more contemporary and larger home, but was limited by the existing 1920's era home that had been built in what had since been designated as a stream side protection zone. After a brief tour of the existing home, and an explanation about the creek that bifurcated the property's challenges, we were hired to take a second look at what could be done differently - this was done with the understanding that if nothing could change he would move forward with the original renovation.
Naturally, the first step for us was to immediately challenge everything. After becoming experts in the codes and ordinances governing the site, we made many enemies, but were able to come to an understanding with the City - essentially they didn't like it, they didn't want us to do it, but they couldn't tell us no - which of course to us was just as good as yes.
So as a result, the original home was bulldozed, complete with all of the fanfare of human chains in front of the bulldozers and news coverage.
The new home was designed to sit exactly in the foot print of the old 'structures' and thus able to comply with all setbacks while simultaneously maintaining its grandfathered status regarding proximity to the creek. An undulating front facade is able to maintain the character of the area's street edge despite its larger size, while multi tiered outdoor spaces maximize the lot's unique proximity to the creek. Inexpensive materials and simple overall forms work together to achieve a cost efficient, yet dynamic end result. Our proudest moment was that during construction, everyone had an opinion - nearly every passerby either gave us a high five, or the bird...