We propose a holistic approach to this project. Although each lot will have the ability to work independently from the other we visualize the project as a complex of buildings which can collectively work as one with a strong and responsible impact on the urban context. The historic building continues to play a prominent role in the urban context as well as in the proposed scheme, acting the principal pedestrian entrance of the complex, and framed by new contemporary structures intentionally austere in architectural vocabulary, to contrast and in respect to the historic structure. A large courtyard serves as the common space around which all buildings feed of, serving as the organizing element of the complex and oasis of tranquility from the street noise and also as a green lung to help fight the heat island effect of the city.
Looking for ways to reduce cost and help further the collective awareness for environmental responsibility, we decided to use recycled wood pallets as one of the principal materials of our scheme. Being an island where most materials come in packed in wood pallets; they have become an issue for our landfills and physical environment. With treatment the recycled wood, usually accessible for free, can be used for construction in numerous ways as we have proposed for this project in the form of sunscreens, panels, doors and benches. In the process we reduce construction costs, better comfort levels inside the units reducing heat transfer, reduce utilities costs as well as long term replacement costs as the raw material is free. We also help promote an image of a possible and sustainable future, raising public awareness for the imperative need of recycling in our society.
The courtyard being located in Lot A will allow for the new building in this lot to work temporarily or permanently if Lot B and C are not developed, and also help provide handicapped accessibility to other units. Only one variance of 3 meters of the required 4 meter backyard setback will be requested, but given the courtyard we have developed in our scheme the patio area has almost doubled to 272.82sqmts from the 153.12sqmts required by code. A neutral expanded metal façade has been provided to the interior remaining portion of the historical building facing the courtyard and jointly with the south facing wood pallet sunscreen at Lot A building help add drama to the space with a playful game of sun and shade inside public areas. Units and parking requirements for all lots are met. Apartments, all located above street level for privacy issues, are ample and comfortable with double height spaces in most units but with modest in the finish work.