An ode to the days of tightly knit communities and kinship amongst neighbors, Black Apple is a modest residential development in Bentonville, Ark., that combines three models of dwellings. The homes range in size—but all are under 2,000 square feet—and the development is dotted with public gathering spaces such as a central fire pit and formal commons building. Beyond its rural vernacular architecture, the pocket community is powered by purposeful design that’s meant to rekindle principles of the pre-World War II American lifestyle.
At 1,750 square feet, Black Apple’s two-bedroom Silo units are the four largest (and, at three stories, the tallest) models of the 11 homes in the community and anchor each corner of the development’s perimeter. The Silo units are a riff on their namesake agricultural tower—coated with copper and meant to rust—paired with a second volume with the proportions of a traditional farmhouse. The attached volumes feature generous front and back porches that provide a comfortable indoor/outdoor experience.
Silo’s core, which is constructed of pre-insulated concrete foundations, structural insulated panels sheathed in magnesium oxide board, and ductless HVAC systems, adds a dose of modern-day building science that makes it far more energy efficient than its farmhouse predecessors.
A neutral, restrained interior palette combined with plenty of natural light emphasizes the rustic, handcrafted furniture that punctuates each room, such as butcher-block kitchen surfaces and a robust wooden armoire inside one of the bedrooms. These were handcrafted by EcoVet—a local company that employs veterans to repurpose unused butcher block and metals from decommissioned semi-trailers into eco-friendly furniture. The pieces are optional upgrades, says GreenSpur founder Mark Turner.
Unlike many contemporary developments bisected by privacy fences that prevent neighborly social exchange, Black Apple is designed to encourage interaction between the community’s homeowners.
“When the residents walk across the site to bring in groceries, mail, or to take out the trash, they sometimes need to cross their neighbor’s property,” says Turner. “Silo’s—and each other unit’s—everyday paths of travel are sited together to perhaps lead to conversation. These are purposeful, and intentional, design choices.”
Location: Bentonville, Ark.
Architect: GreenSpur, Falls Church, Va.
General Contractor: Milestone, Springdale, Ark.
Interior Design: Black Door Design, Bentonville
Square footage: 1,750 square feet
Construction cost: Withheld