Paulsen Architects was hired by Blue Earth County Economic Development Authority to design a new affordable multi unit housing development in Eagle Lake, MN to replace units the authority sold. After a long planning process to identify a community where the housing should be built, Eagle Lake was selected as the preferred location since elementary school was expanded, proximity to many amenities such as the parks, trails and local businesses and, more favorable land prices.
A mixture of two and three bedroom units were designed for the development. All units have an attached single car garage and are built following the Minnesota Green Communities criteria. All units have Energy Star appliances, lighting and mechanical systems. By optimizing the wood framing of the building, with studs every 24 inches instead of 16 inches, there is a reduction in both the thermal bridging and material costs for framing. Wall, ceiling, and even under flooring insulation was maximized to reduce future heating and cooling costs. Durable finishes like brick and cement board siding will provide a long lasting protection of the building. Indoor building materials and finishes were selected to minimize indoor air pollutants and gasses, creating a more healthy living environment.
The development was required to include one ADA accessible unit and one ADA adaptive unit, for future conversion. Universal accessibility to all 18 units is also available through the courtyard entries. Since there are no basements in any of the buildings, the main level bathrooms were also designed to act as a safe room for the residents in case of severe weather.
The green initiatives this project implement include preservation and improvement of the existing wetland, stormwater management through rain gardens, shared open spaces and play area, multi-modal pathways connecting to the city of Eagle Lake’s sidewalks and trails, and compact site development.
Construction of the project began in the fall of 2010 and was completed in July 2011.