How do you breathe life into the outdated podium + tower typology? This was our point of departure for this project.
We strongly believe that the key to making good places is providing great spaces for gathering and interacting. The challenge lies in balancing public space with developed area. So we asked ourselves, how can we maximize the development area while still providing desirable public space?
The diagrams reveal the simple answer. We began by taking the open site area at grade, raising it up to form the podium or base for the towers. We then pushed one corner of the podium back down towards grade to re-connect with the public realm and create a new urban topography. This move also results in a rift or carve between the towers at the base which further enhances the accessibility and interaction within this public amenityscape.
As another design consideration, we placed a lot of thought into how a development of +/- 330 units could be an assortment of unique ‘homes’ vs. standardized replicates with little differentiation or personality. This ‘village-like’ atmosphere was explored on multiple fronts:
1) Providing a mixed-use distribution of program: boutique hotel, office, retail and residential. To this end, the carve acts as a both a social-mixer and connective tissue for the project, weaving together both program and people.
2) The nature of the carve provides some podium units with vaulted ceilings and others with an actual loft condition. All units that are ‘wedged’ beneath the carve are identical units (to increase efficiencies), yet are randomly mirrored and pushed and pulled in order to achieve balconies as well as provide a more human-scaled response close to the street.
3) The pixilation of the tower’s facades is constantly changing and evolving, personalizing each unit by capturing different views and light.
Together these design initiatives help to personalize each unit, celebrating individuality in a typology known for homogeneity and standardization.
Lastly, as a final design consideration the project responds to the different speeds and scales of how one experiences the city. The carve, at grade retail and the random distribution of the townhomes appeal to the slower, human-scaled pedestrian experience. Conversely, the gradual increase in massing of both tower’s (due to the extension of select floor plates and increasing scale of the individual ‘pixels’) respond to how one perceives the project at greater speeds and distances.