MODERN MAVERICKS: Roughly 5 percent of the homes in Harbor Town, Tenn., are contemporary, and architects at archimania have designed more than half of them.  The repeal of a brick moratorium several years ago paved the way for acceptance of alternative cladding materials.
Jeffrey Jacobs Architectural Photography MODERN MAVERICKS: Roughly 5 percent of the homes in Harbor Town, Tenn., are contemporary, and architects at archimania have designed more than half of them. The repeal of a brick moratorium several years ago paved the way for acceptance of alternative cladding materials.

WINDOW DISPLAY: Custom glazing was this home's big-ticket item. An intimate courtyard facing  south blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with large expanses  of low-E glass.
Jeffrey Jacobs Architectural Photography WINDOW DISPLAY: Custom glazing was this home's big-ticket item. An intimate courtyard facing south blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with large expanses of low-E glass.

TALL ORDER: The home's corrugated metal siding lays horizontal in front, but turns vertical  toward the back, emphasizing the two-story massing of the elevation facing  the pond.
Jeffrey Jacobs Architectural Photography TALL ORDER: The home's corrugated metal siding lays horizontal in front, but turns vertical toward the back, emphasizing the two-story massing of the elevation facing the pond.

INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH: Inside, warm woods are offset by 6-inch, steel pipe columns, open cable railings, and  a muscular fireplace surround of 1-inch ceramic tile. The round  vents of a high-pressure HVAC system (seen in the ceiling fascia) serve as  aesthetic elements in their own right.
Jeffrey Jacobs Architectural Photography INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH: Inside, warm woods are offset by 6-inch, steel pipe columns, open cable railings, and a muscular fireplace surround of 1-inch ceramic tile. The round vents of a high-pressure HVAC system (seen in the ceiling fascia) serve as aesthetic elements in their own right.

FILLING IN ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING LOTS IN A New Urbanist enclave of 950 homes wasn't an easy task for the design team at Memphis, Tenn.–based archimania. Sixteen years into the development of Harbor Town, a suburb of Memphis, the community's steady march of wood siding and tidy trim was beginning to feel redundant, although residents were leery of industrial materials and forms. Plus, the site wasn't exactly a no-brainer. The wedge-shaped parcel backed up to a pond and walking trail, meaning a front-loaded garage was inevitable. The reason was, the lot's scant 32 feet of street frontage left little room for anything but a garage out front.

Other homes on the block had downplayed their garages with second-story gables and trellises. Architect Todd Walker's modernist riff on this theme places a cantilevered mass, clad in orange corrugated metal, above a garage of cementitious panels. For contrast, an adjacent secondary volume (which houses a study and shelters a side courtyard from the street) is skinned in redwood. The materials are unorthodox, Walker concedes, but their horizontal orientation respects the rhythm of neighboring homes with clapboard siding. “As that redwood slowly fades to gray over time, it will begin to make a statement of permanence and anchor the house in its location,” he adds.

The 2,833-square-foot, three-bedroom home maintains a low profile in front, but its persona in back is less reserved. The rear elevation features a striking wall of double-height aluminum commercial storefront windows, topped by an exaggerated overhang that protects the house from the harsh afternoon sun. The overhang provides structural support for a metal-grate balcony off the master bedroom.

The interiors are no less dramatic, and yet they are cost-conscious. Exposed glulam beams, birch plywood cabinetry, a hickory floor, and ceilings of exposed 2x6 tongue-in-groove wood decking lend warmth and texture to the home's open, communal spaces. Neutral compositions of wood and steel are punctuated by vibrant accent walls. Built-in shelving at the top of an open cable-rail staircase is topped by a clerestory glass wall, allowing light to stream into the master bedroom while maintaining privacy.

Total square feet: 2,833
Lot price: $150,000
Construction cost: $285,600
Cost per square foot: $100
Total price tag: $576,000

Project: Orange House, Harbor Town, Tenn.; Size: 2,833 square feet; Builder: Pantik Homebuilders, Memphis, Tenn.; Architect/Interior designer: archimania, Memphis

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Memphis, TN.