Unconventional approach to parking puts street life first
A 40,700 sq ft lot was purchased by the City to address a severe shortage of parking for local businesses along a major Boulevard. A developer / architect team was then selected to provide parking and flush out a program for housing (market rate and affordable) and retail space. Consensus was reached with a mixed-use program in a four-storey building that provided 31 condominiums, 7 affordable studios, 11,600 sq ft of retail space, 156 public parking spaces and 61 residential parking spaces. As always, the community process and negotiation took time. Schematic design began in 2004 and construction was completed in August 2009.
The design employs a non-conventional approach to parking that leverages the irregular, sloping lot and car-heavy program to reinforce street life and create an unusual rooftop open space: public parking is located underground with residential parking looping up and over street level housing. This configuration puts housing and people (rather than parking) along the side street and initiates a landscape sequence ending at the rooftop parking which takes on the spatial role of a hillside square. It is flanked by the pool, a stepped terrace, existing uphill apartments and the front doors to the new townhouses.
Townhouses also incorporate deep street-facing courtyards that merge an urban scaled development into the landscaped hillside neighborhood behind. Architectural expression is rooted in sustainable strategies utilising, for example, thin cross-ventilated unit plans with sliding wood screens that both shade the flats and moderate the level of engagement with the busy Boulevard below.