years ago, I authored an architectural design pattern book which was intended
to guide new development in my neighborhood, the Newhall Neighborhood in San
Jose, CA. I have since regrettably moved
away from my beloved home in this wonderful neighborhood, and I offer this
summary as a letter which reveals my fond feelings for this wonderful place.
native ground is the place where, since before you had words for such
knowledge, you have known the smells, the seasons, the birds and beasts, the
human voices, the houses, the ways of working, the lay of the land, and the
quality of light. It is the landscape
you learn before you retreat inside the illusion of your skin.
estate ads offer houses for sale, not homes.
A house is a garment, easily put off or on, casually bought and sold; a
home is skin. Merely change houses and
you will be disoriented; change homes and you bleed. When the shell you live in has taken on the
savor of your love, when your dwelling has become a taproot, then your house is
- Scott Russell Sanders
neighborhood is not only comprised of its buildings as objects, but it is,
moreover, the sum of the uses of the buildings, porches, sidewalks, streets,
and neighborhood amenities. The language
of any neighborhood is both collective memory and collective aspiration. While history concerns the past, tradition
concerns the thresholds from heritage into the future. This notion of tradition, of urban evolution,
and of creating and recreating wholeness should be our primary focus while
adding to this neighborhood. We thus
offer this pattern book as a way of revealing both our collective memory and
our collective aspiration to help designers, developers and the City to create
beautiful homes and public urban space which complement the existing
books were commonly used at the time of our neighborhood’s first construction,
and throughout history. They offered
local builders and craftsmen essential details to construct an architecturally
correct house. Pattern books were
offered in several forms: classical treatises or manuals, plan books that could
be replicated, catalogs for building products, or plans for pre-manufactured
pattern book serves more as a data and idea file. We give the user a glimpse of the project
sites from those who have a history and direct connection with them, and who
have a direct stake in the projects’ success.
Consequently, we urge users to plan for this particular urban space by
paying special attention to the surrounding details at three scales: (1) the
overall plan for the development suiting the layout of the existing land; (2)
the image of typical urban spaces within the plan complementing the existing
urban spaces within the neighborhood; and (3) the individual buildings with
their architectural details echoing the architectural styles of the surrounding
homes. The pattern book has three
essential sections: Project Overview and Neighbor Concerns, which explains
our understanding of the proposed development projects and our reaction to the
proposals; Our Collective Memory, which reveals the existing
neighborhood character, including the most prevalent architectural styles; and
Our Collective Aspirations, which illustrates our hopes for the additions
to our neighborhood, citing examples of recent developments of similar scale.
neighborhood derives much of its character from its diversity of architectural
styles and textures. We, therefore,
encourage any development which pursues a similar mixture of styles and
textures at a modern density which blends well with our existing density. In
the final product, we would like to achieve a balance between the individual expression of each building and a
unity of all of the architectural styles.
Color should also be used to enliven the development and to harken to
the surrounding neighborhood. As in any
composition, a symphony is created from notes which harmonize, take one on a
journey, and tell a story. Repetitions
and patterns are present, but are accented and blended into the composition
we urge all who use this book to study our concerns, familiarize themselves
with our history and architecture, and understand and implement our
prescriptions for quality developments to enhance our existing
neighborhood. Examine each section as a
whole, and go back and come to know the details. The overall layout of the neighborhood is
important, the size of our streets, the positioning of our homes on their lots,
our street amenities, street trees, and landscaping. The massing of our buildings is integral to
determining and recreating the proper architectural styles. Door and window placement and dimensions are
important, as is exterior detailing. All
of these elements combine together to develop the special place that our
neighborhood has evolved into.
residences within the Newhall Neighborhood are truly homes, and our
neighborhood, consequently, offers us all a place of comfort and belonging, a
place away from harm. We stroll along
our sidewalks beside tree-lined streets in couples holding hands, with our
children, walking our dogs, or solo commuting to work. Our streets are pedestrian friendly, and we
Newhall Neighborhood has seen many new residents, but others have lived here
for many years, and raised families within our grounds. After so many years of intimacy, the
neighborhood dwells in us as surely as we dwell in the neighborhood. Those of us who have made a connection with
this place continue to work to improve upon it.
Our efforts have accomplished the construction of new sidewalks, the
planting of new trees, a traffic calming street closure, a park, and a
prospering neighborhood organization which continues to address issues
important to our residents.
dwell in a neighborhood of diversity, and this is exemplified by the variety of
our homes’architectural styles. We draw the reader’s attention to five
particular architectural styles which are prevalent within our neighborhood,
and we discuss them in alphabetical order: (1) European Romantic, (2) Minimal
Traditional, (3) Spanish Revival, (4) Vernacular, and (5) Victorian Farmhouse
and Cottage. We highlight exemplars from
primarily a one mile radius of the project sites, and have secondarily looked
to examples within a three mile radius.
After citing the characteristics which distinguish each architectural
style, we then point to special features such as doors, windows, rooflines,
chimneys, materials, details, and landscaping.
It is important to see these elements dimensioned individually as well
as placed within the whole composition of the house to achieve scale.
It is our belief that the special quality
achieved by this architectural multiplicity draws a particular type of resident
who will laude our diversity. This is an
important characteristic of our neighborhood, and although we are open to
change, we support change which will respect this special distinction, and draw
future neighbors who will contribute to our special place.