Home for Homeless by Lauren Woodward Stanley and Lars Stanley, AIA
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), Austin
City of Austin Department of Public Works, Cynthia Jordan,
AIA; Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department architects
LZT Architects; Herman Thun, AIA; Murray Legge, AIA;
Val Fuger, AIA; Alex Martinez; Luciana Misi; Dongxio Lui contractor
P.E. Structural Consultants (structural); Enotech
Engineering Consultants (MEP); Urban Design Group (civil); Winterowd Associates (landscape); Bethany Ramey Architect (interior) Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (sustainability); Austech Roofing (roof); ACR Engineering (commissioning agent); JEAcoustics (acoustics) photographer
Thomas McConnell Photography
(above) A series of concrete frames, tilted up in parallel like dominoes, comprise the building’s structure and impose a rational arrangement of the programmed spaces. (opposite page) The framing elements are exposed on the interior as well as the exterior, reducing the overall amount of construction materials and surface finishes.
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IN the ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) the City of Austin has a facility that invites its transient residents to join the community. Designed by LZT Architects of Austin and completed in 2004, the building is located at a busy downtown corner (just four blocks from its central corridor, Congress Avenue) and makes the most of its multi-faceted character, housing an impressive variety of resources within its stout concrete frame. Indeed, the uncommon facade it presents to the street is testament to the many parties involved in realizing such a project. The idea for building a joint-use facility was first conceived in 1999, with the groups that now occupy it playing principal roles in realizing that initial vision. Since opening two years ago, it has become a beehive of activity, a tightly planned village in an unusual spatial envelope. The project helps create a place for the homeless, enabling their better integration on several levels into the larger social and civic context of the city. Having recently garnered a 2005 AIA Committee on the Environment award, the ARCH is on track to receive LEED certification, aiming for a silver rating. Its ambitious array of sustainability features includes reclaiming the site of a former gas station, using a project-designed concrete “stack-cast tilt frame” that saved on formwork and construction time, mixing a high volume of flyash into its concrete, and designing for extensive natural daylighting, as well as using a 13,000-gallon rainwater collection system, passive solar water heating, 48 photovoltaic panels, and a variety of finish and lighting alternatives. While the design did not encompass larger strategies like integrated systems that significantly reduce energy use – the PV panels only contribute around two percent of the building’s power – there was a measure of creativity put towards the building’s green solutions in such elements as the site-poured and stacked concrete frame, a wall of cylindrical water collectors that also serves as a south-side solar screen, and dramatic light pendants made of vertically ganged T5 fixtures. Of
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Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...