The proposed design for the Hahn Street development is a direct response to the contextual necessities observed .The most notable was the lack of population density on the site. Because people are at the lifeblood of healthy cities, the design includes 200 residential dwellings while continuing the commercial uses of the downtown along York Street. Secondly, the design recognizes the materiality of its context. Drawing inspiration from a plethora of local building stock, the proposal implements avariety of palettes of color, opacity, and texture, allowing it to flow seamlessly within the City of Elmhurst. Next, the building design is strict in its articulation of scale, in so doing the design adheres to the scale of the adjacent two and three story buildings, relative to its increased density. Lastly, this project provides usable green space in both public and private capacities. This type of space was noticeably lacking in our team’s investigation and is of the utmost importance for social interaction and recreation in urban environments.
The design responds to the unique urban conditions apparent on the site by creating a double height retail space at the Northeast corner topped with a residential block extending up to seven stories, thereby creating an identifiable icon and gateway into downtown. Although retail space maintains the street edge all along York Street, it recedes at the north end, creating a stepped ramp leading up to an urban plaza where people can gather. Furthermore, this space is intended to be used in conjunction with an indoor/outdoor farmers market and a community health center. It also provides an optimal place to view Elmhurst’s numerous parades, festivals, and bike races. This space is connected by means of terraced seating to a similar green space above the centrally located, two story parking garage. This elevated green space is also the platform where the residential units begin. The units are organized into three blocks which are staggered to provide optimal views and daylight to each dwelling. This staggering also breaks down the scale of the development to an appropriate height along Addison Street, and provides many units with private outdoor terraces,
Among the multitude of sustainable characteristics integrated into this project, the most notable are the orientation of the building itself, and the rain-screen technology of the facade system. The orientation of the residential blocks serves many purposes: the first and most simple, yet most important for its inhabitants, is the abundance of daylight and views provided. This is accomplished by orienting the broad face of the building to the North and South thereby optimizing daylight by addressing the path of the sun. Because the residential blocks are organized lengthwise along the North South axis, it is very simple to implement photovoltaic arrays on the roof to offset the building’s electricity load, and provide solar hot water. Beside its low environmental impact, the proposed design deeply considers the sustainability of downtown Elmhurst itself, and all design decisions have been made with the long-term success of the City of Elmhurst Comprehensive Masterplan in mind.