Digital perspective drawing of the Oliviette Cottage by Marques King.

House Plans and Flexibility: Part 5 of 5

Swing through the images of Marques King's Oliviette Series, which debuts today! It's a fitting finale for this series on flexibility, because it embodies two forms of flexibility that I hardly know how to put a name to.

First, look at the floor plans for the three cottages. They share the same footprint. It's true. The 1BR (1.5BA), 2BR (1BA), and 2BR (2BA) are each 846 square feet. If your lot is 35' wide and 75' deep with 10' front and 5' side setbacks, you can build any one of these houses, regardless of the program. What shall we call that? Programmatic flexibility?

Then consider the ensemble: three cottages, a little cabinette, and a garage, coherent in style. There are at least twelve unique combinations to be made, if you use one of the cottages as the base. You can build it alone, with a guest house, or a garage, or both. Then you start thinking beyond a single unit, and consider the possibility of a cottage court, and the possibilities grow.

That kind of flexibility - the myriad ways you can combine a set of human-scale buildings - is what gives neighborhoods their character. If you have thirty-four designs to choose from (the size of our catalog today), and you build just four buildings, there are over sixty-six thousand combinations you could make. Build a hundred, and the possible combinations are so numerous that the total has thirty-one zeros.

Combinatorial flexibility. There, we'll call it that. If we're going to be nerdy about buildings, why not go all the way?

Welcome, Oliviette Series, to the fold, and thanks, Marques, for giving me the chance to fly my Nerd flag proudly. /Jen

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