Within the urban context of a thriving pedestrian downtown are these traditional townhomes. They capture the texture and human scale of the genteel old streets of brownstones in Boston and Philadelphia. The brownstone, a turn-of-the-century “type,” recognized for its undulating bays, front porch entry and steps, is reinterpreted here with a wider footprint and a gable end façade in place of the customary narrow profile and mansard roof. The townhomes embrace the pedestrian nature of their east coast examples, a quality particularly appropriate for the Birmingham site and very compatible with the adjacent single-family homes.
The seven homes collectively have a sense of rhythm but each is treated individually with varying bay shapes, fenestration, and brick and stone details. With 3,600 square feet of living space on three levels, high ceilings and eight-foot doors, the townhomes allow for sumptuous room layouts which differ from unit to unit. These differences are a result of the flexibility designed in the layouts. Each owner’s home reflecting their individual desires and functional needs. However, the interior finishes do share the highest quality materials and refinement of acute attention to detail. The townhomes are at once addressing the street, which a gracious portico entrance and large bay windows, and lending privacy with a rear garden patio and back-entrance garage. The ground level is a half level above the street not only for vantage but also to permit large windows for the lower level window well. These were the first luxury townhomes developed in the Birmingham downtown area. The “Midwest brownstones” succeed in context, function and form. Merrill Park Townhomes was conferred the 1992 AIA Michigan Building Award, the 1992 AIA Detroit Building Award and the 1991 “M” Award presented by the Masonry Institute of Michigan.
The townhomes have stood the test of time and were conferred the 2020 AIA Michigan 25 Year Award. The units have been impeccably maintained and the in-town residences continue to meet the expectations of today’s luxury homebuyer. To this day, the Homeowners Association seeks the opinion of the Architect regarding any necessary maintenance. The Architect recently suggested and selected the new paint color for the exterior trim with the consideration that it was time to provide a fresh color approach after 30 years. These classic townhomes have become a Birmingham landmark and remain in demand providing a pedestrian/urban lifestyle for its owners.