Monday, October 27, 2014

Marion Green Sneak Preview

Alec Gardner from our office ran out to Marion Green last week to snap some sneak preview pictures.  We hope to see you at the tour.  Open House on Saturday Nov 1, 1-3pm.  More pictures at:

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marion Green Tour - Saturday Nov 1 - 1pm to 3pm

Marion Green, our first project as architect/developer, is just about finished up and ready for the new owners to move in.  We will be holding an Open House on Saturday Nov 1, 1-3pm to share this unique project with our friends and colleagues.  This project represents a major step forward in terms of providing a model of dense infill housing that facilitates community among neighbors, provides generous open space and natural light, and deals effectively with the aesthetic and logistical challenges of automobile parking.

Thank you to our partners at Paar Development and to our many collaborators:

Architect:  David Neiman and Juan Vergara - Neiman Taber Architects
Structural Engineer:  Jim Harriott and Benjamin Bird - Harriott Valentine Engineers
Landscape Architect: Patricia Lenssen, Philbin Landscape Architects
General Contractor:  Peter Ottele and Doug Scheer - Village Builders
Strategy and Marketing:  Joe Paar, Paar Development
Sales Agent:  Jacob Menashe, Berkshire Hathaway

Event details and RSVP at

Friday, October 3, 2014

Madison Apartments

Perspective looking east down Denny Way 

The Madison Apartments is a mixed-use building on an existing vacant lot on the corner of East Madison Street and 23rd Avenue East. The project hopes to successfully develop a challenging site that is currently a missing tooth in the urban fabric, provide housing and commercial opportunities that are scaled to the local housing and business needs, and to develop a high quality building that is authentic to its time and is responsive to its context. 
The project has been designed to respond to both the commercial nature of the Madison Corridor and to the residential nature of Denny.  Along the Madison corridor the project steps down the hill, creating multiple retail entries that can support small incubator retail businesses.  The façade design features large storefronts, projecting awnings, and a certain degree of visually dynamic asymmetrical composition.  Along Denny, the project uses similar materials, but there is no expressed storefront base, no continuous canopy, and the composition is more ordered and quiet.
The project has been specifically designed to step the lower levels of the building in order to adapt to the sloping public way.  This stepping allows for a more porous edge along the Madison commercial corridor and a minimization of the visual impacts of the parking and utility uses along the Denny façade. Placing the residential entrance along Denny Way creates pedestrian activity and activates all sides of the site.  
At the corner between the Madison and Denny Facades, The project celebrates the corner with a façade that is more transparent, features a double height retail space, and expresses the geometry of the site by featuring a sharp prow that is typical of triangular sites in the Madison corridor. The transition from the corner prow to the Denny façade leaves a little space between the two masses to allow them to be visually distinct and resolve in a more successful fashion.

View looking west down Madison Street
The project has been designed to accommodate narrow floorplates, multiple entries, and correspondingly small, more affordable apartments and incubator commercial spaces. All of these features are highly responsive to the needs of the neighborhood residents and businesses. The project massing has been designed to express the geometry and take advantage of the sloping nature of the site. 
Parking is in an area behind the building, partially enclosed and partially open.  The portions of the parking enclosure that are open are screened by a green screen wall and an overhead trellis.

View looking west up Madison Street

In commercial zones adjacent properties can be developed to the property line, so projects have to be designed to work both in their current form, and in a future condition with a neighbor built up against it. The NE blank wall features unit balconies that create depth and shadow, and a composition of colored panel siding to add visual interest.  The SE blank wall features a frame-infill pattern that echoes the Denny facade.  A portion of this wall has been set back three feet to allow for windows in the façade to increase visual interest.
The project features a number of high quality materials that are selected with durability and appropriateness to climate in mind.  Project materials include Integrally colored GFRC cement panel siding (OKO skin), Anodized aluminum storefront, powder-coated steel canopies and decks, vinyl windows, rainscreen installation of all sidings, exterior insulation of all roofing. 
Permits are expected to be ready for a Spring 2015 start of construction.