Friday, June 5, 2015

Madison Apartments Update

Neiman Taber and the Philbin Group presented the Madison Apartments project to the East Design Review Board for a recommendation meeting on March 25th. At the Early Design Guidance meeting last summer, the project was well received. However, the Board asked us to provide the following:
  • Studies of the parking area and trellis in elevation and perspective.
  • Well managed connection between two building masses at the corner of 23rd and Denny
  • Demonstrate a contextual response and sustainable focus within the neighborhood.
The project proposes a landscape wire trellis over the parking area and a landscape screen wall to the east. The screen wall will be a black 4” x 8” welded wire mesh fencing with steel vertical posts. The horizontal trellis above the parking court will be a stainless steel cable, tensioner and clevis system. Virginia creeper plantings will provide screening from the parking area for residents in the building and to existing neighbors to the east. 

East Elevation

At the intersection 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 has been made larger to create some visual space between the two masses and allow them to resolve in a more successful fashion. Planting will provide an accent between the buildings. 

The project intends to provide a number of features to create a visually interesting and friendly pedestrian environment along all three sides of the building. 

Aerial View Looking East

At the residential level, large windows and balconies bring eyes and human activity to the face of the building and increase natural surveillance of the public realm. Along the Madison corridor, the façade design features large storefronts, projecting / stepped awnings, and a certain degree of visually dynamic asymmetrical composition.  

Perspective Looking Across 23rd Avenue 

Street level notches are the minimum size required to provide accessible entries along a sloping right of way. Street level uses have generous glazing and clear sight lines that create natural surveillance of these notches. 

Perspective Looking Up Madison 
Along Denny, the project uses similar materials as Madison Ave, but there is no expressed storefront base, no continuous canopy, and the composition is more ordered and quiet. The residential mezzanine level reduces the visual impact of the parking garage and the height of the blank wall. 

Perspective Looking Down Denny Way
The project provides a residential access alcove that brings pedestrian activity to Denny. There is a 2’ continuous planting bed between the building and the sidewalk.

Residential Entry
The project has been designed to accommodate small floor plates which allow the building to adapt to the difficult slope and corner nature of the site. The narrow floor plate creates units that are designed to maximize access to natural light. 

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. 

The scale transition from our project to the adjacent Crush restaurant was discussed by the board, who concluded that the scale transition was not of concern. The project has been designed to zone commercial activity to the Madison side and residential activity to the Denny side. Rooftop amenity areas have been located on the Madison side of the project to be farthest away from the neighboring residents. The visual impacts of blank walls have been minimized.  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.

Aerial Looking West

The project received high praise from neighbors and the Board. They acknowledged the hard work the design team did to successfully develop a challenging site, provide housing and commercial opportunities that are scaled to the needs of the neighborhood, and create a high quality building. We expect permits to be ready for July 2015 start of construction.