Portland Mixed-Use Project

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The sustained growth of Portland’s population is a mixed blessing. While the city’s compact nature, combined with strict control over expansion, give it much of its charm, there remains a need for more housing. Unfortunately, much of this new density comes from large, monolithic slab-like buildings that don’t contribute to the appeal of their surroundings.

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This project is designed to animate the new density. These types of buildings are usually on the city’s east side, on busy arterial streets like Division, Hawthorne and Alberta. The ground floor is occupied by retail – stores, restaurants and services. The upper floors are apartments, either rental or condominium.

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The surrounding neighborhood is typically retail, small industrial and apartments on the main street, with single family houses beyond. There’s usually a mix of older buildings with more recent development, and often there are large clashes of scale.

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In this project, I’ve attempted to break down the scale of the building by articulating the units on the face of the building. While there’s an underlying order to the scheme, it’s casually developed, allowing a feeling of individuality to come through.

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This has a direct impact on the quality of the units. They’re all somewhat different, to the point that a resident could stand on the street and easily point out where they live.

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The units range from studios and one bedrooms to two bedrooms with a den. Some have outdoor terraces and floor to ceiling glass, while others are more cozy. This allows the building to embrace a variety of tenants.

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The modulation of the building’s face also helps it relate to its neighbors. Its articulated volumes reflect the varied forms of the houses nearby, and avoid the image of a bluff cliff.

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Within the units,  the articulated volumes create dynamic spaces. In the two bedroom unit pictured above, the open living area maintains a strong feeling of defined space for the living and dining areas. The outdoor terrace extends the living space outside, and into the neighborhood.

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Befitting the top floor corner location of this one bedroom unit, the living space is wrapped with view and light. The generous terrace is ideal for people who want to live outside, even if it’s raining.

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This building’s composition reflects the diversity of Portland itself. As laid out, this building has 24 units – 12 studios, 6 one bedrooms and 6 two bedrooms with dens. There are twelve off-street covered parking places. The generous ground floor retail space offers multiple possibilities of subdivision and unit size.

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I designed this project, and created all the drawings and renderings in this post.

2 East Erie

Sometimes it helps to have a good relationship with your neighbors! Graham, Anderson, Probst & White had been doing various architectural projects for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (aka Carpenters Union) for years. Given that the Carpenters’ headquarters were across the street from GAPW’s office, it’s not surprising. When the Carpenter’s Union decided to replace their existing, four-story building with a new mixed-use development, they insisted on GAPW as their architect.

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Located just two blocks from Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, the Carpenters Union’s property was prime for residential, retail and office development. Partnering with The John Buck Company, the Carpenter’s Union sought to improve their headquarters while capitalizing on their land’s value.

The resulting 40-story, mixed-use tower became know as 2 East Erie. With one of Chicago’s premier late-night bar & grills as its sole retail tenant, the rest of the base was composed of lobbies for the office and residential occupancies, as well as a meeting hall for the Carpenters Union.

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The base of the building was clad in warm brick and stone, seen here at the residential lobby entrance. A laminated glass canopy provides shelter while minimizing shadows.

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Inside the residential lobby, the exterior’s theme of tonal framework is expressed in rich oak panels.

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In the apartments, it’s all about corners. Floor to ceiling glass and column free corners combine to make apartments feel light and spacious. Unlike most apartment buildings, the compact layout of 2 East Erie allowed us to place the living areas on the corners. Even inboard units have projecting glass bays, giving the living space multi-directional views.

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This elevation drawing makes clear the building’s complex development. The base, composed in two parts, reflects the scale of adjacent neighborhood buildings. This articulation of scale masks the six-level parking garage and its sloping floors within. The next five floors of the tower house the Carpenter’s Union headquarters, and the remaining floors are dedicated to residential. The penthouse has apartment amenities, including a roof deck, workout room and party room.

My work on this project was done while I was an employee of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. I performed design, development and documentation, including full three-dimensional study of the tower’s interior and exterior. I also did all the residential floor plan layout, including unit mix studies and accessibility conformance.

Photographs in this post were created by Mark Ballogg of Steinkamp Ballogg Photography. I made the rendered drawings.

 

Millennium Park Plaza

The goal of this project was to revitalize the base of a mixed-use tower in the heart of Chicago. Originally built in the 1970’s, the tower base’s mix of sub-grade retail, office and residential lobbies and under-utilized outdoor plaza space were crying out for help. Our design sought to simplify the many floor levels of the existing retail space, with the goal of creating larger, more leasable spaces that opened directly to street level. Lobbies were enlarged and upgraded, and the exterior was given a fresh new image.

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The residential lobby was transformed into a glassy, light-filled hall. Rich, warm materials greet the residents as they return home, raising the profile of the building to match its premium, downtown location.

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The retail portion of the building faces Michigan Avenue. It combines large retails spaces, which have direct access to the street, with a mall. The mall acts as a hub, connecting small retail, office and residential lobbies and a new entrance to a nearby train station.

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As can be imagined, connecting all these spaces was quite complex. Working with existing conditions further challenged the design team to ensure that every bit of structure, ductwork and piping was accounted for.

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One of the greatest challenges was accounting for emergency exits, both existing exits of the office and residential portions of the tower above, and new exits required by the enlarged retail spaces.

This work was performed while I was employed at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. On this project, I performed the role of project architect; coordinating site exploration, engineering consultants and SCB’s design team to ensure that all the project’s features were safe and feasible, while maximizing space and minimizing construction cost.

The renderings featured in this post were created by SCB.

 

 

 

Rialto Theater Condominiums

The Rialto Theater is the heart of downtown Joliet, Illinois. While the focus is on the historic theater, this whole block development includes retail, offices, and apartments. The 1926 project’s architects were Rapp & Rapp, who often designed mixed-use theater complexes.

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The theater was given an extensive restoration in the 1980s, but the rest of the complex remained in original, deteriorating condition. The residential portion was abandoned, and found to be in an advanced state of decay when Graham, Anderson, Probst & White was retained.

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After thorough investigation, it was determined that the residential building was structurally beyond saving, so the client requested that we study replacing it.

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Our project combined ground floor retail with seven floors of condominiums. One special requirement was that our building had to accommodate a theater exit that was part of the original residential building. The textured precast concrete panels of the new building recall the molded terracotta panels of the original complex.

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I laid out the condominium units to be as flexible as possible. As there was very little residential development in downtown Joliet, it was not clear what the market for this building would be. By carefully arranging kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces, the floor could be maximized for smaller units (plan above) or larger units (plan below).

I designed this project while an employee of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. I created all the photos, renderings and plan drawings in this post.