Residential Design Guidelines

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Residential Design Guidelines


Additions should be compatible with the existing building in style, size, scale, proportion, building materials, and texture.

Additions should be confined to the rear of the building wherever possible.

New buildings should be compatible with the style, size, scale, proportion, materials, height, and massing of surrounding buildings.

New buildings should have a setback compatible with the existing historic streetscape.

New garages should be carefully sited on the lot and should not be attached to the front of historic buildings.

Additions distract least from the appearance of the historic house when placed at the rear of the building. The “zone” shown here illustrates the facade and area most visible from the public way. However, well-designed dormers and other features may be appropriate-in some cases-at the front.

new additions

There is no single design ŇrecipeŇ that will guarantee a successful building addition, or yield visually compatible new construction adjacent to historic properties.

historically compatible and incompatible

All additions and new construction require careful planning to ensure that scale, size, materials, and details are appropriate to the existing building and/or its neighborhood setting.

Addition made at the rear of the house, with historically compatible new windows visible from the street.

Addition made at the front facade, with incompatible new door and windows.

new buildings

New buildings should maintain the visual continuity of the surrounding area, and show sensitivity to existing historic structures. However, this does not mean that all new buildings must be designed as replicas of historic buildings. Good modern buildings have a place in historic neighborhoods. The the Commission can provide advice on design issues, and the Wisconsin Society of Architects (321 S. Hamilton Street, Madison Wisconsin, 257-8477) can supply a directory of architects who specialize in historically-sensitive design.

Above, At center,
an example of new design
compatible with an
existing street scape.

Residential Design Guidelines: Facade   Doors   Windows   Trim   Porches   Roof   Additions