As the primary building block of cities and the basic integer of urbanism, housing makes up about 3/4ths of the building stock in most cities the world over. So it typically plays a background role to the foreground buildings that punctuate the urban fabric – the more sculptural and sometimes spectacular, audacious public and institutional architecture. Unlike these more monumental buildings, housing may be an inspired design but it’s not about inspiration or spectacle per se ; it is quietly, modestly there to provide its occupants comfort, independence and private sanctuary from the rigors and stimulation in the rest of their lives. However, its shared and semi-public spaces can be exceptional, and its understated morphology and details can be rich. Live/Work housing– whether an office, studio, workshop, retail shop or café – may need to interface with public or private clientele.
All urban housing - whether public, market-rate, non-profit, cooperative, institutional communal, multi-family or single family – needs to front and connect to the public realm, as well as provide privacy. Housing provides a deep insight and index of a society and its community values. Compact, affordable, multi-family housing offering urban walkability, bikeability, vitality, proximity and anonymity may be the next American Dream, replacing the private, suburban McMansion. The residential sector consumes a great deal of energy and other resources; accordingly, sustainability and resilience are critical issues, including their environmental, economic, social and aesthetic dimensions. Both offensive and defensive, active and passive energy systems are needed to improve performance and comfort. *As prefaced by Studio Professor Doug Kelbaugh
Located on the Library Lot in downtown Ann Arbor (one of three proposed Ann Arbor studio sites) between South Fifth and Division, our project utilizes a connection between the existing Liberty Plaza at the corner of Division and Liberty and the proposed plaza at Williams and South Fifth. This connection is accentuated by way of an elevated greenway, running diagonally from Northeast to Southwest, splitting the lower mass of the structure. The second level entry from the north is made possible due to a gently sloping green-scape moving up from ground level.
The greenways southern end terminates in at a projecting balcony, overtop of the plaza. Opening out on to this elevated walk are both live / work units as well as a number of social spaces, including a music venue, destination restaurant, gym and music school. Moving vertically through this lower mass, consisting of the first four levels, more privatized roof decks and community garden spaces emerge. From here, the tower elevates another fourteen stories to include a skip-corridor assembly of one, two, three bedroom and penthouse market rate units.