Text description provided by the architects. Program: 15 Townhouse style condominium units; five 2-story units accessed at the street level, ten 3-story units accessed at the third level via stairs and an elevator and a 37 space subterranean parking garage.
DESIGN INTENT: Working within the context of a for-profit MUR creates a particular set of parameters; programmatic, physical, and client/cost informed. Our solution is two 4-story buildings placed parallel to the street. Between them is a courtyard, reached via a tunnel through the first building, accommodating shared public space and circulation. The simple cubic shape of the buildings allowed for greater project resources to be deployed to the sectional relations within the units. The separation into two buildings allows half of the unit’s access to light on three sides. The townhouse configuration further allows a maximum number of units to be located on the upper levels with greater access to view and light, while the 5 lower level units have exaggerated ceiling heights and open on all sides to the adjacent outdoor spaces. Light penetration is further enhanced in the upper units via room scaled skylights that channel the sky deep into the units.
This vertical overlapping of spaces creates complex light play and enlarges the sense of territory occupied by each unit. Spatial separation is further augmented by orienting the public spaces of the Detroit facing building towards the street while giving the second building ‘visual ownership’ of the upper courtyard, separated from the first by a bamboo screen. The varying size (based on client standards) and location of the exterior enhances the sense of separation by avoiding overlapping views between units while simultaneously extending views beyond the site. Conversely from the exterior they deny the unitized tendency of MUR’s, giving the entire building a singular identity. The building utilizes double wall construction, vertical heat stack effect cooling via the multi-story volumes, abundant natural lighting, rainwater catchment and redeployment, and environmentally harvested materials.