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Panama Houses are Unusually Cool.

December 9, 2009

This past summer, many of you may have visited the lovely River Front park and noticed some rather unusual two story bungalows.  They are white,with big windows and green roofs. Curious they are, but little known, is there historical significance and uniqueness to the region. They are known as the ‘Panama Houses.’

There are 12 of these homes in the Chicora Gardens all of which date back to the early 1950’s. Apart from their idealistic setting under the ancient oaks on the banks of the Cooper river, it is their architectural style, that makes them truly unique. They display bits of several  architectural styles, from the German Bauhaus movement, to the the mission Revival Style, they are truly one of a kind.

Their style also happens to embody some very clever features  needed to keep the homes cool and very functional.  Such feauture we are now seeing duplicated today in an effort to reduce energy consumption in green built homes. Features like large casement windows that open in alternating directions to capture the prevailing winds, unusually large overhanging roof to reduce heat from the sun, and a large Wood burning fireplace to heat the home in the winter, all make its energy demands low.

There are even some convenience features, like a large butlers pantry, mud room, screened in patio, laundry shoots, fireplace cleaning receptacle, and built in mop drying racks. Also noteworthy is their construction. Built to last, these building use principle s most often seen in commercial applications.  Poured, reinforced 2nd story floors, unusually large concrete support columns, and slew of other items that rarely seen in residential applications today.

So next time your in the neighborhood, take a look at these lovely houses and brag to your friends about all the details you now know about the ‘Panama houses’ in the Navy Yard at Noisette.

For more information on the Panama Houses, please visit;

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