In theory, no one wants to live near a working industrial plant and a major artery. But Silo Lofts bucks conventional wisdom. Despite the fact that the site is located near a large silo, an active railroad, and a busy freeway, the 32-unit project sold out quickly.

The site was made undesirable by the adjacent features, but its location just outside one of Charlotte's upscale neighborhoods meant that it had views of the downtown skyline. The challenge for David Furman Architecture, then, was to minimize the undesirable location and take advantage of the views, meanwhile addressing the growing need for affordable housing.

The project contains eight, ground-floor working studios and 24 lofts on the second, third, and fourth floors. "We kept the sizes small to keep the prices down," says architect Steve Barton, referring to the units' 530 to 738 square feet and $70,000 starting price. Ten-foot ceilings and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, however, give the appearance of size because "they let in large amounts of light and create a visual connection to the outdoors," Barton explains. Cork floors serve to keep with the industrial influence of the building, but also provide sound insulation.

Category: Affordable; Entrant/Architect: David Furman Architecture, Charlotte, N.C.; Builder: Titan Construction Group, Charlotte; Developer: Boulevard Centro; Charlotte; Land Planner/Landscape Architect: Design Resource Group, Charlotte

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charlotte, NC.