Four Cort Apartments Austin, TX Unbuilt
2005 - 2006 PageSoutherlandPage PRM Realty 7 Floors 245,000 SF $14M Project Designer
Plan - Level 5
Located several blocks from the University of Texas, Four Cort was targeted at an increasingly dense student population west of campus. An arrangement of 156 units, three levels of enclosed garage, and a variety of exterior spaces, the design is informed primarily by the challenge of determining a compromise between the demands of density in this ever more populated neighborhood as well as the desire to create a safe and social living environment that appeals to the widest range possible of student lifestyles. In order to achieve this, the basic plan of the project takes on the character of a human hand, consisting of one four story building mass running the length of the interior property line with five other similar volumes arranged perpendicularly to it. These ‘fingers’ step down along their length in response to the enclosed parking garage beneath them as well as the relatively severe grade of the site, giving the project a more human scale through transitions in height. This arrangement also creates four distinct courtyards in the spaces between the fingers that step in a similar fashion, transitioning from grade level areas to above-garage activity decks, each landscaped with a character unique to itself but clearly related to the composition as a whole and representative of Austin’s natural vegetation. These spaces are open to the street, reducing the feeling of enclosure that is often overshadowing in interior courtyards, as well as creating a more inviting street façade, animated by the comings and goings of the buildings tenants.
Plan - Level 3
As a continuation of this gesture, the standard device of interior, double-loaded corridors is abandoned in favor of a layout that allows for the corridors to instead be exposed to any one of the open spaces created by the building’s massing. This inherently increases the safety of the project’s residents by reducing spaces that are not easily visually accessible, while at the same time enhancing the social interactions of its inhabitants for the same reason. The quality of the circulation spaces is also greatly improved through this visual access to the exterior environment - periodically through textural screens of Ipe hardwood or galvanized steel - as well as an abundance of fresh air. Designed as a single loaded scenario, the accompanying drop in efficiency of such a move is absorbed both through the elimination of the need to mechanically ventilate the shared spaces, as well as the fact that the majority of units are two-bedroom townhomes, requiring corridor access on only one of their two levels. These corridors are laced together through a combination of sculpturally arranged exterior stairs and bridges, connecting each unit with any one of the lower courtyards as well as several rooftop terraces at the buildings fingertips, created by the stepping of those volumes and offering clear views to nearby Pease Park. The building skin is a lightweight rainscreen system composed of painted fiber cement panels and interrupted by battens of Ipe hardwood that lend warmth and scale to the façade, its muted tone balanced by the boldly painted interior stucco surfaces of the residential corridors. Units are a mix of efficiency, one and two bedroom flats, and two bedroom townhomes. All have access to light and air in each primary room through large, operable casement windows.
Plan - Level 1