Oak Run

Location: St. Francisville, Louisiana
Size: 38 acres

ACSW was approached by a developer wanting to create a hamlet of modern farmhouses. The client already had an approved lot plan but wanted to generate architectural and development standards to establish and maintain character within the community. ACSW developed detailed architectural guidelines for future homeowners while also looking at amenities that would benefit the community as a whole.

The development strives to establish a sense of place. Place is more than the sum of its parts: the streets, houses, mailboxes, and any other number of items that can describe a neighborhood. When done correctly, place creates a living space that extends beyond the front doors of each dwelling. It engages the site surroundings and allows the residents to know they are part of something greater than their individual selves and allows them to feel that they are a community.

Signage options were designed to utilize the idea of a ruin to suggest a deeper history for the site. The heavy and monolithic concrete structure has a sharp contrast to the light and airy grid supporting vines. The two forms unite and work together. It is both modern and rural, representing the identity of Oak Run.

At the heart of the community lies 4.3 acres of shared green space. The area features steep topography and a water feature, all surrounded by mature vegetation. This open space will serve to be a gathering space for the residents. It’s a place where homeowners can gather for a family picnic or go for a stroll on the edge of the ravine. To pair with the theme of modern farmhouses, the civic feature takes its inspiration from the silo, a farmhouse staple. The structure is designed to appear rundown, but with a modern twist. “The Ruin” serves to be an iconic symbol for Oak Run.

As an alternate to the Silo is the concept for an open-air pavilion to be utilized for community gatherings. The pergola structure is designed to follow the shape and mass of a traditional farmhouse. This simple massing ties the pergola into the architectural style of the rest of the community, while also connecting it to the architectural language of the entry sign.

Due to the topography of the site, the pergola can be situated so that the natural slope of the earth can serve as an informal amphitheater, while the pergola serves as a stage.

The original cul-de-sac design proposed for Oak Run is a typical design common to suburban areas throughout the world. In an effort to establish Oak Run as a unique place with its own identity, we propose making minor modifications to the original layout.

The updated design (right) creates unique character elements that help to generate a sense of place at Oak Run. A boulevard is created within the roadway leading up to the cul-de-sac. The median would be heavily landscaped to create a beautiful feature within the community. The space would be large enough to accommodate benches and seating areas, or even a small community garden for produce and herbs.