On the inside, Los Angeles–based Oyler Wu Collaborative’s 30-unit Monarch tower in Taipei, Taiwan, is pretty much a typical speculative multifamily project developed according to local building customs. Because of building codes, structural columns—typically measuring upward of three feet in thickness to account for the region’s strong seismicity—are not counted as part of floor-to-area ratio for these types of projects. As a result, the structural columns for these new developments are placed outside the building’s outermost facades in order to maximize internal floor area and leave unobstructed floor plates. The arrangement creates a vertically-striated exterior structural grid that, due to the massive columns, leaves a void where exterior balconies can be placed.For the 15-story Monarch tower project, Oyler Wu utilized these spaces to create a lively facade that showcases a complex patchwork of extruded aluminum mesh, painted steel elements, fritted glass, and overhanging solid aluminum panel assemblies. The balconies are structured with light-gauge metal tube handrails infilled with glass panels, with the each balcony assembly wrapped in an aluminum tube screen frame that is filled in alternately with glass or mesh. The resulting balconies reflect the square-shaped building’s alternating exposures, growing to over eight feet in depth along the principal southern face with a shallower, five-foot-deep articulation on other facades. “We wanted to insert dynamic variety into the Taipei apartment type,” Dwayne Oyler of Oyler Wu Collaborative said. He added that the unconventional project—the interiors of which were already designed by Jut Land Development’s in-house team of architects when Oyler Wu came on board—represented an unconventional way of working for the firm at a scale previously only explored via speculative research. The balconies are structured with steel supports that were calibrated to account for seismic activity and then incorporated into the shifting design. The architects worked with the developer and future residents to envision a idiosyncratic strategy for deploying the mesh screens within this matrix, including using the material along bathroom and bedroom windows in order to maximize privacy in Taipei’s dense urban condition. The strategy was augmented with the projecting balconies, which shift position across the facade in conjunction with the panels in order to accommodate predetermined—and non-negotiable—window and door openings that came with the developer-driven design. Oyler Wu also designed the building’s ground floor lobby and public spaces. Jenny Wu, principal at the firm, explained that her team was “trying to make the public spaces on interior feel like an extension of the exterior” aesthetically as well as functionally. “There’s nothing quite like it in Taipei,” she said.
Posts tagged with "multifamily housing":
Fougeron Architecture uses an unusual rainscreen and sculptural stairs to enliven multifamily housing
400 Grove—a formerly vacant parcel that is now a 34-unit market-rate development by Fougeron Architects in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley—boasts a facade on Gough Street articulated by exaggerated bays along its uppermost floors, and pierced by a zigzagging, five-story-tall opening. The floors closer to the street feature opposing geometries with expanses of glass storefront on the ground-level retail spaces. The scissoring facades are clad in a rainscreen made out of deeply stained wooden dowels—a repetitive, vertically oriented hatch that softens the building’s sharper angles. The third floor is set back and rectilinear in comparison to those above, occupying the variable spaces underneath the overhanging floors.
The interruption in the Gough Street facade leads to an interior courtyard that contains private and shared outdoor spaces and circulation cores. The dowels make an appearance here as well as guardrails for the stairwells. The designers chose to sink the building’s parking garage five feet below grade, allowing for the courtyard to be slightly elevated above the street but not so high that it is inaccessible. The courtyard is visually connected to the commercial spaces via a large window and is populated by water-wise plants—Marta Fry Landscape Associates served as the landscape architect for the project.
Studios and one- and two-bedroom units are organized around the courtyard. Instead of wrapping the courtyard in overhanging single-loaded corridors, which would force living room windows to face onto the walkway as is typical, the architect repositioned the circulation to allow for the units along the north end of the building to be accessed via a pair of bridges that lead to shared-entry landings. Anne Fougeron, principal of Fougeron Architecture, said, “We wanted to put the open space in the middle of the site instead of along one side.”
Units along the southern wing of the building are organized so that one enters into the kitchen from the corridor, with living room spaces located along the southern facade overlooking the street. As a result, almost all of the apartments feature two exterior exposures. Fougeron added that the “facade echoes bay windows in a new way by interlacing their geometries in and out at different cadences” so as to “paginate the building so that it doesn’t read as a five-story building.”
"Workshop was able to re-envision two completely separate buildings to provide one cohesive language." - Thorsten Kiefer, Director of Design and Development at HFZ Capital GroupJust north of Manhattan’s Gramercy Park Historic District, two independent buildings have been united with a facade re-cladding strategy that seeks to develop a contextual relationship between two different eras. Developer HFZ Capital tapped Workshop/APD as both the design architect and architect of record for the project, which has been one of their largest to date. 88 & 90 Lexington builds on the success of their recently completed Printing House project in the West Village. The luxury housing project involves 88 Lexington, a highly detailed pre-war limestone building, and 90 Lexington, an international style 1960’s era office building with narrow ribbon windows and thermally insufficient concrete infill panels. Both buildings were originally offices for Blue Cross Blue Shield, but have since been converted to rental units. Complexities of the project include the very large floor plates, an admittedly hideous existing international style facade, and existing rent-subsidized tenants, some of which occupied their units throughout the conversion process. While 88 Lexington is not landmarked, the project team worked carefully and respectfully on the facade, with minimally visible interventions. Replacement windows were installed throughout the building, and a new cut in the roof allowed for extra penthouse amenities. The majority of facade work occurred on 90 Lexington, which was stripped down to the concrete framework of the structure before receiving an entirely new facade. Due to Lexington’s southbound orientation, the corner building is more prominently visible, foregrounding the pre-war 88 Lexington facade. Matt Berman, Principal at Workshop/APD, told AN that their design concept was to reinforce a contextual relationship between the two buildings: "for us, it was how do you interpret this language in a modern way, so that these buildings read as ‘sister’ buildings from different time periods." To achieve this, Workshop/APD developed over 30 iterations reworking the existing facade at 90 Lexington, before scrapping a minimalist approach for something entirely transformative: a new facade attached to existing slab edge with a specialized clip detail. Thorsten Kiefer, Director of Design and Development at HFZ Capital Group, told AN that the decision to replace 90 Lexington’s facade was a significant turning point in the project: "At the very beginning it was a very big decision for us to say we were going to remove this facade, and spend extra money to get as much light into the units as possible." Clad in a nearly identical limestone material found on 88 Lexington’s facade, the new facade prioritizes a highly contextual compositional and detailing agenda. This is most apparent in the placement and trimwork on the new facade. Workshop/APD aligned new two-story rectangular openings with adjacent historic openings. Framed by a crisp metal “donut” trim, the new openings provide some continuity to ornate trimwork of pre-war building next door. Another challenge with replacing the facade was that the entire construction process had to be performed with people living in the building. Berman admits, “it would have been infinitely easier to build a new building.” Temporary exterior walls were inserted into the framework of the building while the facade was dismantled and rebuilt. Beyond the facade, Workshop/APD’s most difficult challenge was to reconcile new residential units within the large office-scaled floor plates. Berman says units didn’t cleanly stack, resulting in a Tetris-like design, and adding complexity to plumbing riser and mechanical runs through the building. Both Kiefer and Berman say the resulting quality of the layout in both buildings was one of the successes of the project. Workshop/APD was able to produce creative layout solutions that tap into an existing elevator core deep in the building, while providing generous room sizes and bonus spaces.
"Housing constitutes 80% of the city, so this 80% has to be exceptional." - Hamonic+MassonHamonic+Masson & Associates has designed the first residential high rise building constructed in Paris since the 1970s. The building, appropriately called “Home,” is a collective assemblage of a staggering 90 apartment typologies, resulting in 200 residential units offering a sense of identity, ownership, and differentiation within a collective building. The alternating stacked massing of the building is clad with prefabricated corrugated sheet panels finished in a two-tiered color scheme of brushed aluminum. The architects said these finishes are employed as a compositional strategy to highlight the transition in the building from repetitive low rise to unique vertical massing elements: “The finishes applied to the cladding highlight the natural beauty of aluminum while the glossy topcoat reflects the sunlight beautifully.” A silver tone continues the contextual lower base units along Avenue de France, while a gold tone is deployed as the massing of the building progresses vertically. Gaëlle Hamonic and Jean-Christophe Masson, cofounders of the eponymous firm, said that while the “postcard image” of Paris is one of uniformly low Haussmannian-designed buildings and historical monuments, there is a need to renew and reinvent the image of the city: “Paris is a city that has constantly reinvented itself and tried to modernize itself.” They say their growing body of work in vertical housing units embraces the traditional urbanism of Paris while offering its occupants a “new vision of their city,” continuing a process of perpetual reinvention. Other materials used on the tower’s balconies include glass with colored interlay, stainless-steel meshing, and coated aluminium for the balustrades, while the terraced roof decks use SOPREMA Exodalle waterproof panels made from exotic Brazilian Massaranduba wood. The aluminum screens were prefabricated off site by local companies Euramax and Alubel, then fitted onto the building by SMAC. Tucked away in the base of the structure are over 300 spring isolators to dampen vibrations from the three level below grade parking garage. A detail unseen, but crucial to the occupant comfort of the units above. Hamonic+Masson told AN that integration of private terraces into the facade setbacks was a key compositional strategy: “It is crucial to create intermediate spaces where residents feel both ‘at home’ and ‘in the open’, having access to the outdoors from the comfort of their own apartment.” The architects say this project is a pedagogical tool - a demonstration that height is an effective urban planning solution for Paris. “Paris is reinventing itself, and this project is the spearhead of the revolution!”
Originally designed by William Pereira in 1961, the 8-story, 120,000 sq. ft. building sat vacant for nearly 20 years prior to renovations.After sitting vacant for nearly 20 years, the eight-story Metropolitan Water District office tower in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood has been converted by David Lawrence Gray Architects from an office building to a luxury residential tower. The original building was designed in two phases by famed modernist William Pereira – a low-rise podium, and high-rise tower – through a process that spanned 12 years, from 1961-1973. Pereira’s design was structurally expressive concrete frame building, with cantilevered exposed concrete slabs establishing a wrap around balcony on each level. The primary bays of the building along the longitudinal axis are expressed at the ends with infrastructurally-scaled white concrete columns, while perforated concrete panels formed an iconic modernist brise soleil along the podium. Named after an ancient Greek conception of heaven, The Elysian blends architectural modernism with contemporary luxury living to produce 120,000 sq. ft. building with 96 Live/Work Units. Pereira’s original building was, at times, carefully and respectfully restored by the project team. This is evident in the clean-up of Pereira’s concrete columns, which contained – under decades-worth of grime – a high quality quartz aggregate cast (much to the surprise of the team). Another preservation marvel is the restoration of the existing mullions on the building. Metal panels from the lower third of the opening were removed along with original glass panes. The steel mullions were grinded down and repainted. The openings were replaced with new double-paned coated glass and micro shades to produce a new building envelope. The architects worked with CRL-U.S. Aluminum to integrate an operable window unit and patio doors within Pereira’s mullion layout. Also notable is the detailing of the new steel railing which translates an original post spacing cast into the slab with a new horizontal assembly providing technical precision of steel without visually overpowering the building envelope. While this renovation project makes historical acknowledgements to Pereira’s modernism, the new work to the building tends to give way to necessary market demands of luxury residential living: amenities like floor-to-ceiling windows and a two-story penthouse addition subtly transform the modernist building into something more “transitional.” The penthouse addition is carefully designed, but produces the most deleterious effect on Pereira’s proportioning system. His primary columns, once soaring optimistically beyond the body of the building towards the heavens have now been capped by a stealthy new addition which the project team has skillfully blended into the aesthetics of the original structure. Here, the curtainwall system, thermally improved by a continuous thermal spacer that is interlocked within pressure plates, is a sophisticated update to Pereira’s steel mullions. The system picks up where Pereira’s mullions left off, set in alignment with the mullion spacing throughout the building, and color matched with the rest of the building envelope. However, the 20-foot penthouse heights require an unfortunate and unavoidable heavier thickness. There is something interesting about juxtaposing a thermally sophisticated modern curtainwall system against steel profiles of the 1970’s. The two-story penthouse addition works to creatively conceal a rooftop mechanical space housing condenser units and a photovoltaic array for solar hot water heating. Also, the existing building was design with a generous floor-to-floor dimension of approximately 13 feet, allowing for an adaptive reuse of the building with minor modifications to the slabs required. New residential units were efficiently stacked by the project team, allowing for an economy in utility distribution, and limiting slab penetrations between floors to simply a new shaft and stairwell. Historians might argue for removal of the penthouse entirely, while environmentalists might argue for a full replacement of the original mullion system. Regardless, occupants of the building – especially those in the upper floors – will surely take delight in the 360 degree views of Los Angeles’ distant hills and sprawling low-rise cityscape that Pereira, and now David Lawrence Gray Architects, have provided.