The Harding Township affordable housing project is a low to moderate – income housing project residing on 8.5 acres surrounded by the Loantaka Brook Reservation, in Harding Township, Morris County, NJ. It is a 24 unit, 6 building complex designed to resemble a working farm. The complex consists of a farmhouse, a carriage house, 3 barn buildings and one outbuilding, with more than 60% of the land designated as open space. The professional team collaborated with Harding Township to design a seemingly arbitrary placement of buildings, accentuating the minimalism of farm design. The parking was concentrated inside the building courtyard and separated to into three areas to reduce the scale of the pavement.
The landscape was created using native meadows and trees. Storm water is managed through man made wetlands that connect to the existing natural wetlands. Views from the different buildings across the existing wetland meadows fade into the neighboring Loantaka Brook reservation. Hedgerow buffers along the roadsides were preserved and enhanced, embracing the buildings and helping maintain the rural farm context. The foundation plantings are understated to reflect the utilitarian approach to farm life, with masses of perennials, herbs and grasses, limiting use of shrub material.
The creative building placement, the preservation of the existing hedgerows and the creation of wetlands to manage the storm water reflect the simple rural quality of the plan.