Published by: Surly Press 111 West Norris Street, Phila, Pa 19122 ÂŠ Surly Press, 2013 All rights reserved Printed by: mediacopy 1310 Sansom St. Phila, Pa 19107 No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher, except in the context of reviews.
Design: Onion Flats Text by: Timothy McDonald Photo/sketch Credits: Timothy McDonald: 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28 upper left, 30 upper left, 32, 34 upper left, 36 upper left, 38 lower left, 42, 44, 45 left trinities, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84 lower, 86 left, 87, 94, 96 right, 98, 115, 122, 126 upper left, 127, 128, 131, 133, 138, 139 Jim Wasserman: 26 upper right, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 Mariko Reed: 83, 89 upper, 90, 91, 93, 94 upper left, 95, 96, 97 Ted Singer: 114, 116 Kristen Gregory: 7, 50 far left Don Weston: 41, 45 left, 48 left, 50 second from left, 51, 53 Sam Oberter: 85, 86 upper right, 88, 109, 110 Andrew Loxley: 86 lower right Steve Belkowitz: 5, 54 center right and lower left John Fox: 77 left Dan Magno: 56 middle left John Gwin: 54, 55, 62, 63 bottom, 73, 78 lower right, 126, 129, 130 left Roman Torres: 40 Magda Biernat: 102,106 Raimund Koch: 49-51
CONTENTS history 4
1997-2013 Patrick McDonald Timothy McDonald Johnny McDonald Howard Steinberg
built market flats capital flats rag flats eflats firehouse berks hewson jackhammer thin flats margarido TED belfield
10 22 40 66 72 76 82 86 94 102 108
on the boards stable homes stable flats zero RIDGE FLATS duck flats capital flats ii moss flats 4th flats thompson triplets wilmington
114 120 130 134 138 146 148 150 154 156
The architectural profession, specifically over the past century, has generated the belief that the art and act of building, while certainly essential to Architecture, is in fact merely but significantly the means by which Architecture presents itself to the world. The notion that building is primarily an act of translation and therefore a significant opportunity and responsibility of the architect, carries little weight in a world segmented into discrete and ultimately disparate disciplines aimed at limiting liability and responsibility in the making of architecture. The ironic yet obvious result has been a kind of familial separation of the architect from the art of building. Perfectly cordial, mutually acceptable and reasonably justified within our increasingly complex world, they have nonetheless become distant cousins. Our work for the past 12 years has been focused on reestablishing those familial bonds, opening up lines of communication between them, embracing the risk inherent between them rather than limiting it and contributing to a culture of thinking which strengthens the discipline of architecture from within. As a“critique”of contemporary architecture and building theory and practice, Onion Flats’mission since 1997 has been fourfold: 1. Extend the imagination of the architect beyond the drawing board into the building process. 2. Educate the public about the collaborative role of the architect in the making of buildings, culture, and meaning in contemporary society. 3. Encourage and/or reestablish dialogue and respect among members of the architectural and building communities. 4. Empower a newer generation of architects, builders, and craftsmen to continue to dream. ONION FLATS the developer PLUMBOB the architect JIG the builder BLOX the modular manufacturer While these four companies are distinct, the intention of our development/design/build collective is to integrate seamlessly the process by which our ideas about architecture, the city, and sustainable development go from interpretation to construction to habitation. In the process we cross and merge a greatly fragmented and sometimes contentious set of disciplines as they currently relate to the built environment. As such, we get to turn our attention to the art of making buildings rather than to the art of covering our asses. We choose to explore and experiment with the entire spectrum of intelligent and practical approaches to the way in which buildings manage their own resources, and create communities that sustain themselves. We strive to be exemplary developers, architects, and builders, rather than “green” ones.
ARCHITECTURE Discipline “A system or method for the maintenance of order; a system of rule for conduct… Etymologically discipline, as pertaining to disciple or scholar, is antithetical to doctrine, the property of the doctor or teacher; hence, in the history of the words, doctrine is more concerned with abstract theory, and discipline with practice or exercise…” (OED, pp. 415-416) Profession “Theoccupationwhichoneprofessestobeskilledinandfollow… theactofdeclaring,acknowledging,oravowinganopinion,belief, intention, practice, etc; declaration, avowal. In later use often with implied contrast to practice or fact…” (OED, p.1429) PLUMBOB Llc. is the licensed architectural component of our development/design/buildcollective.Wehavealwaysbelieved thatdesigningandbuildingmustbeinseparable,thatthinking andmakingareinterchangeableterms,andthatthe“discipline” of architecture will outlive the architectural “profession.”
CONSTRUCTION JIGInc.isthelicensedconstruction/constructionmanagement portion of our development/design/build collective. A“jig”is a fascinating tool and device used in the making of things. Historically the jig has been understood by the craftsman as an intermediary construction one fabricates for the sole purposeofaidingorsupportingtheconstructionofanequally purposefulobject.Infact,thefunctionalpurposeofajigforany craftsman is such that it operates most distinctly at the level of atranslationdevicebetweentherawmaterialandtoolthrough which it is transformed. Jigs are like joints or hinges within the process of making. Once removed from their purposeful context, jigs have no identity, are fundamentally silent, yet hold the essence of both the maker and the thing made. Making a building is similarly an act of translation, an act that has its own identity, and one that transforms as it translates the architectural act of drawing. JIG Inc. allows and actually encourages this translation, in the process providing a creative space for invention beyond the drawing table.
BLOX’s mission is to produce buildings that are built in HALF the time, with at least TWICE the energy efficiency, with a goal of Net-Zero-Energy buildings as standard, at the SAME or less cost than site-built buildings. The core of the BLOX technological innovation is its “sustainable building system” (SBS) which distinguishes them from any other “manufactured building” company in the United States. This “system” is not quickly defined by one particular technological innovation but involves a series of interrelated technological, financial, logistic (delivery method), process and managerial structures creatively and uniquely arranged to produce a highly ‘sustainable building system’ that is comparable in cost to traditional building methods. Some of the components of this ‘system’ involve:
B L OX
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING SYSTEMS TM
AN INTRO TO SUSTAINABILITY
As architects, builders and developers, we began our practice with the belief that thinking and making were inseparable. We believe that the “sustainability” of the profession of architecture itself relies on eschewing the ‘cult of the expert’and eradicating the borders between the fragmented and disparate disciplines responsible for creating the built environment. Sustainability, for us, therefore is a return to the basics. It has more to do with creating the framework within which one thinks and works than the individual works themselves. Our interest lies in the ‘field’ rather than the ‘object’ of sustainability. Wehavebeencommittedtothemakingofcommunitiesratherthanbuildingsinallofourprojects. Itisunfortunate that“green”design and the necessity for sustainable communities is considered a new and distinct strategy for thinking about the city, architecture and domesticity. We believe in‘common sense’and that experimentation is the ground of that sense. We believe that the careful reading and questioning of any given condition, be it physical, programmatic or systemic cannot help but breed both ‘the obvious’ and innovation simultaneously. All of our multifamily and single family projects currently being developed are the first LEED-H Platinum projects in the country. This is not the goal of our work but simply a reflection of our commitment to“being”sustainable. Makingsustainablecommunitiesisourstandardwayofworking.Wethinkthatsustainable,thoughtfulandinspiring architecture should be affordable architecture. Our projects produce rather than consume energy not from a penchant or fetish towards the‘technological’, but from a simple and honest reconsideration of the sky and the ground as our main sources of inspiration and energy.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT Translate the ‘restrictions’ (ecological, zoning, building, etc...) of any given site into opportunities. Reveal their hidden possibilities. Link the dwelling to the street. Question setbacks and propose connections. Emphasize the pedestrian. Reconsider the car. Embrace‘density’as a fundamental premise to community, affordability and sustainability. Link-it, stitch-it, join-it
9 PROTOTYPICAL WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT
Read the city with intentionality and respond by acknowledging the fundamental building blocks of its fabric and why it came to be that way. Learn to love and dwell within it’s thin, efficient and elegant slits of urban space. Search for the prototypical ‘urban modules’ that define an urban block. Use them, but play. Let the module inform the (STRATEGIC) sense of place. Re-configure, re-think and re-constitute
SYSTEMIC WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT Approach building systems from the perspective that technology is not best suited in the ‘re-creation’ of nature but rather in its ability to focus, collect and harness it. Use the sky, then use the earth. Focus, collect and harness heat and water. Store it in the earth. Use it to feed the building. Insist that each part of the ‘system’ functions in at least three ways. Capture more, consume less. Low-tech, low-cost, low-maintenance
Left: Day one, removing the sale sign; Below: Day two, removing the other sign to discover the historic faรงade beneath; Opposite page: Found object
MARKET FLATS 116 Market St. Old City, Philadelphia 1997-1999 Developer / Designer / Builder: Onion Flats
Market Flats is in the heart of the oldest and most historic district of Philadelphia,commonlyreferredtoas Old City. It is a five-story, historically certified, red brick building facing north and was constructed circa 1880. Our interventions in the building were minimal and inexpensive. Each floor has been renovated into a 1400squarefoot loft with specific attention paid to the manner in which objects, ratherthanwalls,constructandcreate spaces. A large, open-grate steel deck was constructed on the rear of the building in order to provide a second meansofegress,acommunityactivity space, and a light filter for all units. 4 dwellings 1 commercial space
Opposite page from bottom right: existing rear of building; Left: New open grate steel deck and communityspace;Aboveright:JackMcDonald working on open grate steel deck; This page right: Renovated faรงade
Found object; Interior conditions
Clockwise from bottom right: view of study space; Left: view of living/kitchen area; Middle: view of bathroom “pod”; Above: plan of 3rd floor unit; Opposite page: view of entry and bathroom“pod”withviewtowardLivingarea.
Clockwise from below: view of kitchen/dining area: Bottom right: view of bath â€œpodâ€?; Left: view of study area; Above: plan of 4th floor; Opposite page: longitudinal views of loft space
5th floor Clockwise from left: view of loft from entry; Above left: Plan of 5th floor; Above right: view of existing 5th floor from entry; Opposite page clockwise from bottom left: view of living area; Middle: view of kitchen bar area; Above: view of kitchen and translucent glass wall of bedroom; Right: view of translucent glass bathroom wall with skylights.
Experiments: We began this project with the belief that each and every building in a neighborhood, regardless of its state, has the potential to transform a community. It was not so much our goal but rather the context within which we worked. The project, therefore, was not about converting a meat-packing plant into apartments. It was about carving out an opportunity within the discipline of architecture to experiment with modes of building, diverse aspects of dwelling, and the communities engendered by both. Forsomeofusasarchitects-in-the-makingaswellasbuilders,thisprojectwasfirstanexperimentinhowone’s ideas are translated into form.The basic premise for this dimension of the experiment was the proposition that an architect’s imagination does not stop at the drawing table even though, for all intents and purposes in the profession of architecture, it must. In order to test the proposition, we intentionally limited the degree to which drawings informed the project. While a project of this scale might typically require 30 drawings, there were a total of seven drawings in the permit sent to the City. These few drawings were significant yet necessarily incomplete and, thus, engendered a context for building which was a creative exercise in the fullest sense. Building became a form of thinking and imagining, not merely executing.“Detailing,” therefore, was not a product of designing, but rather reading. Our days were filled with a continuous backand-forth dialogue between reading and responding. As the months passed, decisions were made based uponawideningrangeofinfluences,themostproductiveofwhichwerechance,mistakes,speed,materials at hand, humor, time of day, season, fatigue, and occasionally sheer will. The“work”that resulted was not about philosophical ideals but rather reflective of the responses to various conditions and spontaneous dialogue. It is, therefore, work which welcomes critique and interpretation. Similarly,“dwelling”began to take on new meaning for us as we responded to the conditions of the site such that fictitious characters and possible activities began to define each dwelling. The spaces began to be occupied in the process.
CAPITAL FLATS 114-150 W. Laurel St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2002 Developer / Designer / Builder: Onion Flats
In 1999 Capital Meats, the former meat-packing plant which operated on this site for 80 years, was a sprawlingmassofravaged,collapsing, and abandoned buildings situated in the middle of a predominantly residential neighborhood. Close to the water, this particular section of Northern Liberties is one of the last vestiges of the neighborhoodâ€™s rich fabric of industrial and residential commingledcommunities.Thescale of the collection of the Capital Meats buildings (originally seven in total) tells a familiar story of a neighborhood industry, which employed the neighborhood. Since 1989 when Capital Meats closed, the site had been the source of numerousfires,break-ins,vandalism, and illicit encounters. When we walked through the building in 1999, we saw the burned-out shell of a windowless cooler with collapsing floors, potential environmental nightmares, and death. Underneath all of this, however, we also saw a place of strength, light, and life. 8 dwellings
UNIT 101 Opposite page bottom left: Second floor loft plan of unit; Above left: existing conditions of unit showingthecomplete absence of light which distinguished this cold storage space; Above middle: second floor outdoor “perch” space sandwiched between the three “light pods”; Right: dining table made from found objects in unit and ladder leading to the lightpod-for-a-good-cup-of-coffee;Below: view of kitchen; Bottom right: view from entry of double high space and floating bridge leading to “perch;” This page bottom left: first floor plan of unit; Above two images: views of living room area; Right: view of loft space with sliding-meat-rack-closet. The closet rolls out into the double height space to create more room on the loft level; Below: view of “coffee pod” from below; Bottom right: view of loft and sliding closet from floating bridge 25
UNIT 102: Opposite page bottom right: Plan of second floor loft; Left: first floorplan;Aboveleft:existingcondition of spaceshowingcomplete absence of light and meat racks; Middle: space in the process of transformation; Right: finished view of living room/kitchen; This page upper left: view of stair landingand“nasty”wallinsemi-ruinous state; Right: View of Dining area with existing meat scale meant to weigh occupants as they enter and leave the dining area; Middle: view of bedroom and closet; Below: view of “object walls”separatingbedroomsfromliving area; Left: View of living area, kitchen, stair and catwalk to second floor loft.
UNIT 103: Opposite
page bottom left: first floor plan of unit; Above left: existing image of burned out shell of space before construction; Above right: View looking from living area into bedroom; Below: view from bedroom into living area; Bottom two images: views of sliding and translucent walls separating the circulation from the third bedroom which has door leading to outdoor shower; This page lower right: sliding shoji wall between entrance and bedroom; Middle: detail of existing elevator rails in bathroom; Left: image of bathroom and custom sink connection to elevator rails; Above: view of kitchenandlivingareawith door to outdoor garden.
201: Opposite page bottom left: plan of second floor unit; Above left: image of existing conditions, previously the office space for the meat packing plant; Right: image of entry into unit with view of bedroom wall/screen meant for housing keysandknick-knacks;Middle: view of living area/kitchen; Below: view of bedroom and built-in desk/filter wall; This page upper right: view from bedroom through sliding shoji screen wall into living area; Below: view from entrance into kitchen living space with filter wall on right.
UNIT 202: Opposite page below left: plan of second floor unit; Above left two images: view of existing conditions of space; Upper right: viewofjuncturebetweenacloset,shelvingunit, existing concrete column, bathroom/elevator, and supply air duct; Bottom right: detail of custom made steel and mdf closet doors; This page bottom left: view of bedroom showing “breakfast-in-bed-window”and winged closet doors; Middle: view of path to exterior garden; Above middle: view of kitchen; Upper left: view of bedroom with floating built-in desk; Right: view of bedroom “perch” to exterior.
UNIT 301: Opposite page lower left: plan of 3rd floor unit; Upper left two images: view of existing conditions of space as pump/mechanical room and “cleaned out”; Upper right: image of hidden door to floating “perch” from bedroom; Middle: image of exterior west façade from unit balcony; Below right: view of 25’-0” tall elevator shaft transformed into bathroom; This page bottom right: view of kitchen showing reconstituted elevator rails into wine glass shelf. Bottom left: view of dining area and stair to reading nook; Top right: view of skylight living and dining areas.
UNIT 302: Opposite page bottom: plan of unit; Above left two images:viewofexistingconditions and preliminary demolition; Middle:viewofbedroomshowing built-in desk on left made from found object on site, and entry doors made from freezer doors found on site; Above right: view of living area with door to exterior balcony; Below: detail of â€œ2 hour doorâ€? (required to be made in 2 hours) to bathroom; This page bottom right: view of kitchen/dining area; Above left: view of living area; Above right: view of joint between bathroom and laundry area.
UNIT 303: Opposite page bottom: plan of 3rd floor unit; Middle two images: view of existing space after skylight was cut into concrete roof; Above left: view of kitchen; Above right: view of living area and kitchen with door leading to balcony; This page bottom: view of living area; Above left: view of bedroom with removableladdertosleepingloft;Above right:viewfrombalconylookingsouth.
Left: Birdâ€™s eye rendering of Rag Flats; Above: initial sketch of prototypical unit for RagFlats; Oppositepage: image of Rag Flats entry court and Trinity E.
RAG FLATS 1338-52 E. Berks St. Fishtown, Philadelphia 2006 Developer / Designer / Builder: Onion Flats Rag Flats is an experiment in and a critique of sustainable forms of urban dwelling. The former industrial rag factory has been re-conceptualized as a residential garden communitycreatedbyprototypicalformsof dwellingscommonlyfoundinPhiladelphia: the row house, the trinity, the loft, and the pavilion.RagFlatsintentionallyexploresthe necessary relationships between density, intimacy,andprivacyinanyurbancommunity.
Rag Flats was a collaborative design/build project. We asked Minus Studios (John Gwin and Jeremy Avellino) and Cover (Dan Magno and Ken Roscioli) to join us in what was understandably a risky endeavor. We gave them little direction and enormous responsibility. Minus took on the “row” experiments, and Cover took on the custom steel experiments. While all had their collective responsibilities, cross-fertilization was commonplace. In the process an inspiring team of architect/ builder/craftsmenwasforgedamongthese three companies as the project was being built. This is a significant dimension to the critique and experiment of Rag Flats becauseitproposesamodeofthinkingand building which is collective, creative, and cohesive rather than specialized, limited, andfragmented.Itsuggeststhatthecoreof any successful project does not rest merely on the architectural gesture/concept but rather on a structure in which all involved “own” the project. This team approach confirmed that, whether at the scale of a building or a city, no real transformation is possible without altering the framework for imagining and actualizing which opens questions, instigates a dialogue, and provokes controversy rather than merely solves problems.
Search for the prototypical ‘urban modules’ that define an urban block. Use them, but play.
SINGLE MODULE TYPE
SINGLE MODULE TYPE
ROW-LESS with EXTENSIONS
ROOFS = LIVING ROOMS
1338-52 E. Berks Street, as we found it in 2002, was vacant except for a few trucks and a family of feral cats. The two-story factory structures facing Berks Street were on the verge of collapse and had been filled with the “remains of the day” by its previous owner, a masonry contractor. We were told by the neighbors that prior to its status as a dump site; it had been a rag factory. Many of the neighbors had at one time worked there. Most fascinating about the site was that from the street it presented an unobtrusive, even silent face to the entirely residential community adjoining it, masking the“secret”space beyond. This“secret” became the source of all experiments on the site. Behind the mask we began to play, explore ideas about the city, dream of gardens flowing from above, below, and between buildings, imagine thin slivers of space and light that were at once solid and then void. We would speak of what makes a city a city, of the “in-between” and the making of communities instead of houses.
Inspired by one of the most fundamental urban building blocks of Philadelphia, the “trinities” occupy and redefine the central courtyard of the community. Freestandingyetperceptuallyinterwoven,eachdwellingisa2140-squarefoot,three bedroom, three bath, three story, 20’x20’trinity tower with“extensions”at each level. Outdoor garden spaces at the ground level for each dwelling are intimate andprivateyetinterdependent. Each trinity is oriented to the courtyard and path ofthesununiquely,suchthatthelightandairinsideandoutsideeachunitareever changingandparticulartoitsspecificsetting.Fundamentaltothesetrinitiesisthe desiretooccupyfullyallroofsas“living”rooms,privategardenplatforms,extensions of the interior, and connections to the immediate and surrounding community.
“Trinity communities”made up a significant portion of Philadelphia’s residential neighborhoods100yearsagoandstilldo.Suchcommunitiesgetlittlepresswhen issuesofurbanformanddensityarediscussedinregardstoPhiladelphia’spastand future,probablybecause they were virtually invisible and still are. One finds these communities tucked into the“interiors”of many neighborhood blocks.They are likeRussiandolls,communitieswithincommunities,blockswithinblocks.Toenter a trinity community one generally passes through a small, narrow alley, carved out between two, street-facing row homes. Such alleys appear to be private and strictly for access to the back yards of the adjacent row houses. Often, however, these alleys are actually miniature streets, which lead into the depth of the block behind the row houses“proper”and are lined with trinities on either side. Named for the Christian Trinity of“Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,”these trinities also have three parts or stories.They often occupy a mere 12x12 footprint and are stacked like soldier courses of brick. Some might view these micro-blocks with disdain – unlivable throwbacks and references to Philadelphia as an overpopulated and industrial giant and irrelevant to our present urban condition. We are, however, utterly fascinated by them as metaphors, artifacts, and prototypes.
Elevations for Trinity “A”
Elevations for Trinity “B”
Elevations for Trinity “B”
Elevations for Trinity “C”
Elevations for Trinity “D”
47 5 4
Right: Plan of Rag Flats 1: Trinity A 2: Trinity B 3: Trinity C 4: Trinity D 5: Trinity E 6: Row house 1 7: Row house 2 8: Industrial Lofts #1 and #2 with Photovoltaic system on roof 9: Industrial Loft #3 with Photovoltaic system on roof 10: Pavilion with Photovoltaic system on roof 11: Green roof 12: Parking courtyard with rain water cistern beneath 13: Community garden and composting center Left: Trinity â€˜character studiesâ€™
Clockwiseleft:viewintocourtyardfrom one of the Trinities; Above: view from roof top“living rooms”and downtown Philadelphia beyond; Below: detail of “floating” steel stair in Trinities; Opposite page from bottom clockwise: view ofsemi-privategardenspacesbetween Trinities; Above: view from 2nd floor deckdemonstrating‘collage-like’layering of space, structure and color; Right: viewofcommunitycompostingcenter.
Right: View of 32kw solar PV array; Below: View of industrial loft units and courtyard
Above: View of courtyard from lofts Right: View of Trinities from Pig Alley
Above: select views of interstitial spaces between units; Opposite page: view of courtyard from Row House 2nd floor deck
Row Homes Minus Studios was commissioned to design and build the two row homes at Rag Flats. These structures,unlikethetrinities,werestreetfacingand party wall sharing buildings, sandwiched between the existing factory and the humble, wonderfully dissonant neighboring row homes. Because of their visibility, actions spurred much dialogue in the community, both positive and negative, but always direct. Neighbors watched over the work, gave their critiques, and filled water bottles.The network of interactions between such people as Ruthie, Helen, Mike, Gene, Butch, Mike and Joan, was vital to the actions taken and the work created. Minus Studios had very little experience when they were presented with this commission. Most days were amixoffear, ignorance,ingenuity, pressure, despair, joy, pain and rigor. Working with a simple palette ofcommonandinexpensivebuildingmaterials,they focusedonfloodingtheopenplanwithnaturallight, and blurring the reading of two buildings into one coherent composition. They maximized space in an inherently efficient archetype by“pushing”the plan outintopublicspacewhereverpossible.Frontfacing bedroomsgainedareadingnookwithacantilevered box; balconies protruded off of each rear-facing bedroom; a switchback staircase floated over the courtyard to allow a sensible plan; roof surfaces became decks to supplement shallow backyards.
Right: View of street front faces of Row Houses; Opposite page: view of ‘lily pad’ steel bridge in Row House #1, made from ½” thick plate steel, designed and built by Cover.
ARCHITECTURAL, TECHNICAL, MATERIAL, SOCIAL, & FINANCIAL SUSTAINABLITY -
Site plan emphasizes community, density, and intimacy – essential “urban” characters Emphasis on environmentally and socially responsible building site Emphasis on physically working with materials rather than relying on computers Site specific but “prototypical” residential units Fragmented parking areas Orientation of buildings on site to north, south, east, and west, with no emphasis on any one direction Indoor/outdoor rooms on all levels Grass floors (bamboo) Surface heat (radiant) rather than volumetric heat (forced hot air) Hot water “indirectly” heated via radiant boiler Cool air handler “centered” in buildings and 96% efficient 32 kw photovoltaic panel system, individually metered Compact residential unit plans, ample glass, “stair filters,” little need for interior lighting, cross ventilation, decks on all levels “Green” space woven between buildings 6000-gallon cistern for rain water collection Permeable hard/soft parking surface Occupiable “intensive” green roof
Opposite page: sketches and details of Row House process; Right: study of the courtyard facades of Row Houses; All sketches by John Gwin.
Clockwise from bottom left: Detail of handrail; Middle: detail of floating steel stair; Above: detail of 3rd floor bridge leading to bedroom and roof access; Right: view of kitchen with views of courtyard; Below: view of 3 story high living space. All stairs/railings designed & fabricated by Cover. Opposite page upper left: view of courtyard from Row House stair landing; Right: view of courtyard faรงade of Row Houses
Clockwise from bottom left: View of Pavilion from the “alley”; Above: view through kitchen to exterior green roof; Right: view of joint between steel Pavilion and Trinity C; Below: view of stairwell with “steel bamboo” guardrails designed & fabricated by Cover.
Pavilion The Pavilion is a glass and steel structure perched atop a masonry plinth remaining from the defunct rag factory. We approached this unique corner of the site with the desire to experiment with a fundamentally different type of construction, a particular mind-set for detailing, and a new set of tools and challenges.
Both pages: The 8” deep intensive green roof at the second floor level between the Pavilion and a loft space is “community space” as is the spiral staircase to the roof of the Pavilion and access to the 32 kw photovoltaic solar panel array.
This page: sketch of rear elevation and yard. Opposite page bottom: sketch of facade in context along Laurel Street; Above: aerial rendering of project with green roofs. All sketches by John Gwin.
E FLATS 133-37 Laurel St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2006 Developer: Domani Developers Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: Ermilio Group Located on the same block as Capital Flats, this project continues the rhythm of the street and explores the unusual sectional shift between Laurel and Pollard Streets, creating a three- and four-story buildingsimultaneously.Theconventional“pass-through”serviceway, commonly found in many traditional row homes and meant to act as a shared link between the street and the back yard, is used in this projecttoactivatedifferinglevelsofentry,interaction,andcommunity. The “faces” of this project attempt to entice and encourage yet confound definitive readings of program, density and height. 4 dwellings
Thispage:elevationmaskstudymodels; Opposite page bottom: view of facade & balcony from street; Above: overall view of facades from street
Clockwise from bottom left: detail view of rear elevation at balcony; Top: view of floating steel stair and glass walkway from kitchen & dining room; Middle & below: view of kitchen/dining space; Opposite page bottom: view of greenroofandcityscapeAbove:view of skylights, green roof, and entry.
Clockwise from bottom right: view of opened up living space and mezzanine level;Top left & right: existing space with enclosed attic above; Opposite page clockwisefrombottomleft:viewofglass enclosed shower which filters light into bathroomfromsurroundinglivingspace; Above left: custom made sliding entry gate; Above right : view of spiral stair leading to a glass floored observation deck; Bottom right: completed exterior rear view of the firehouse with a new exterior suspended steel stair and deck.
THE FIREHOUSE 625 N. 13th St. Loft District, Philadelphia 2007 Client: Val and Sue Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc. Thisprojectis a conversion of a former trolley maintenance garageandsubsequent firehouse into anowner-occupied residence and rental loft.The 5,000-squarefoot project incorporates industrial design elements of the former structure through the use of exposed structural and ornamentalsteel,acidetchedconcretefloors,andtheincorporationofon-sitereclaimedlumber intothemillworkandanewcustomstair.Theformerattic,underahighslopingroof,wasopened up to add a mezzanine level and higher observation deck perched high over the living area. 2 dwellings
Clockwise from bottom right: glass floored observation deck; Bottom left: hallway gallery with custom floor & stair made from reclaimed wood from the site.;Top left & right: custom shower with seat; Opposite page: additional dwelling used as rental on the lower floor. View of living space with steel framed bedroom loft hovering above.
This page immediate left: view from backyard deck into living/dining area; Far left: detail of Berks Street entry faรงade; Above: floorplans:Oppositepage: initial sketch of project by John Gwin.
BERKS/HEWSON 1317 Berks St. + 1318 Hewson St. Fishtown, Philadelphia 2007 Developer: Onion Flats Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc.
First LEED-H Gold Residential Dwellings in the City of Philadelphia A simple in-fill set of row houses between other rows has allowed us to concentrate on the purity of the row as a thin slit of space with two faces, front and back, and a contemporary desire for ample light and air. The plan, while open and free, still manages in its small footprint to house three bedrooms, three baths, and an inviting presence from the street. Some significant features of the house include an occupiable “intensive” green roof, rainwater collection tank, 50% more energy efficiency than is required by code, and insta-hot water connected to solar thermal panels on the roof. A neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) comes with each house as well as dedicated “electric car parking only” spaces on the street. 2 dwellings
This page immediate left: view of bedroom into stairwell; Left: view of entry space; Above left: view of stair screen; Above right: view of kitchen, entry and stair screen; Opposite page bottom left: view of back yard from living area; Upperleft: viewofrearelevation;Right: view of Berks St. faรงade.
Opposite Page: Clockwise from bottom: View of master bedroom and deck. Upper left: View of bedroom space with interior light filtering glazing. Upper right: Details of interior light filtering glazing. This page: Lower Right: View of ships ladder up to Green Roof from the Second Floor deck. Lower Left: Detail of Berks St. faรงade Top: View of Green Roof overlooking the neighborhood.
JACKHAMMER 636 Belgrade St. Fishtown, Philadelphia 2008 Developer: Jackhammer Architect: Plumbob Llc. Design/Builder: Kurt Schlenbaker FirstLEED-HGoldResidential/Commercial live/work space in the City of Philadelphia
Formerly a convenience store and significant loitering/drug-dealing corner property,neighborsseemedpleasedwhen it caught on fire and was demolished in 2005. We felt it was important to restore the life and sense of community to this small but unique corner of Fishtown. From only a fourteen-foot width and barely a 700-squarefoot footprint, we managed to create a vibrant, light-filled commercial space on the ground floor and basement as well as one residential dwelling on the 2nd and 3rd floors with a large green roof. 1 dwelling 1 commercial space
View of recently planted 4â€? deep extensive green roof with inset image of fully grown sedum plants
Thispageleft:ViewfromKitchentowards Living space with reclaimed wood flooring; Upper Right:: View of stair and metal rail leading up to second floor; Bottom Right: View of Master Bedroom and balcony.
Clockwisefrombottomleft:thinfacadeconceptsketches.middle: plansoftypicalthinflatsrow;above: photo of south facade in context with the surrounding neighborhood. bottom right: elevationâ€˜maskâ€™ study model expressing the linearity and layering of the facade. Opposite page Bottom; Photo of south facade. above: Project site plan.
THIN FLATS 145-57 Laurel St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2008 Developer: Onion Flats Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc.
2011 2009 2009 2009
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First LEED-H Platinum Duplexes in the Country. This project explores the latent potential hidden within the vertical rhythm and regularity of the Philadelphia row home. Thin faces fronting both Laurel and Pollard Streetsmaskandblurconventionallinesofdemarcation betweenneighboringdwellings.Intheprocessadegree of density yet expansiveness uncommon to the thin space of the single-family row home emerges. 9 dwellings
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The façade of Thin Flats is at once a surface and a void, blurring the limits of the units within. The façade of the lower units is pushed back from the sidewalk to accommodate circulation, flood a‘basement’space with light, aid in solar shading and create a veil from public view. Balconies on upper floors recess from behind the surface of the veil to create opportunities for civic engagement within the thin space of the façade.
S MA DE
This Page: Left; Detail photo of projected balconies. Right; North Facade. Opposite Page: Upper Left; Exploded axonometric diagram of south facing street facade. Lower Left; Photo of street facade before installation of cladding. Lower Right; Photo collage study of final cladding composition.
This page: Bottom Left; Birds eye view of the living rooftop. Bottom Right; View of skylight & green roof at night. Upper Right;View of green roof. Opposite Page; Clockwise from Bottom Left: Light filters down to the lower level of the unit through the glass floor above. Upper Left: Detail of glass & steel stair and bridge guardrail. Right: Glass, steel, and wood stairs floating in the space.
Opposite page: Bottom: Sectional study of Unit layouts. Top Left: View of Kitchen.Top Middle;View of dining area. Top Right: View of Living Area This page Left: View of upper unit Master Bath with clerestory. Right; Viewof glassbridge, skylight, andstair up to green roof.
This page bottom: site plan of property; Above left: Patio space at terraced garden. Abovemiddle: Doubleheight entry;Right:Customsteeland wood floating stair. Opposite page top right: Overall view of house on terraced site at twilight Bottom: Overall view of south elevation. PL
INTENSIVE GREEN ROOF
ROOF DECK SOLAR PV ARRAY
MARGARIDO HOUSE 5950 Margarido Dr. Oakland, California 2008 Client: Mike McDonald & Jill Martensen Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: McD Construction First LEED-H Platinum single-family home in northern California
Thissingle-familyhomeinthehillsofOakland,overlooking the Bay Bridge and all of San Francisco, is designed to mergecomfortablyintoitsdifficultandsteeplyslopedsite while providing a tranquil setting for a young couple and their two children. Completed in 2008, this house has an array of sustainable features. It incorporates a green roof garden, a photovoltaic panel system generating all electricity necessary for the home, and solar thermal panels, which provide pre-heated domestic hot water and radiant heat. Other features include an underground cistern to capture rain and groundwater for reuse in landscaping, interior air quality management system, and â€œsmart houseâ€? technology to minimize energy and maximize convenience. 1 dwelling
SECTION A: LOOKING NORTH
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CARVE & FRAGMENT
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GROUND LEVEL PLAN PL
DE-BUNKERED MASS MASTER BATH
CLOSET LAUNDRY BEDROOM
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SECOND LEVEL PLAN PL
DETAILED MASSING PL
Opposite page left: first, second and roof plans; right top: view of entry into dwelling under construction; middle: view of driveway and entry path under construction; bottom: view of North terraced garden retaining wall; This page right: view of front living space under shade of the overhang; bottom left: view of San Francisco from roof top garden. Top left: View of entry facade.
98 This page: Lower Images: view of house from street level; Top left: Patio space at terraced gardenTop right:View through stair window to terraced garden. Opposite page: Upper images:viewsofdining/livingspaceopening up to outdoor patio. under shade of the overhang; bottom: view of kitchen
This page: Left: light washing the shower and sink walls from skylight above in the Master Bath. Middle: View of stair and side patio. Right: Light filled living space. Opposite page: Clockwise from lower left: Detail of stucco and wood facade. Middle: Shadows cast across entry tiles. Top: Details of custom steel and wood floating stairs. Right: view of Entry approach under sun shade overhang.
Our proposal for this single-family, 24’x24’ 1100sf home, affectionately referred to as TED, focuses on a dwelling that both challenges and supports the project’s historic NearWestside Neighborhood.TED was conceived as a prototypical home that could comfortably sit on a variety of lots in the neighborhood and yet be unique to each site. Programmatically,TED is surprisingly versatile, easily transformed from a two to three to four bedroom home, or into two duplex units, or into a home office/studio with residence above, all accomplished with minor interior alterations. A small addition to the rear of TED creates the option for future expansion.TED is a dense, ultra-efficient, thickskinned yet light-filled and spacious powerhouse of contemporary urban dwelling.TED exudes more energy than it consumes, collects and recycles water and has the ability to produce food. TED easily meets the requirements for LEED for Homes Platinum Certification. It’s form follows function pleasingly, as the lines of its gables rise in direct and perpendicular relation to the equinox sun, creating a mechanism for both heating and cooling, naturally and sustainably.
TED 102 Thispage:Above:physicalmodels. Below: Rendering of north facade. Opposite page: Upper Right: Site aerial. Below: Images of Symposium and Exhibition at Syracuse University School of Architecture
FROM THE GROUND UP: INNOVATIVE GREEN HOMES COMPETITION Syracuse, New York 2008 Competition Sponsors: Home Headquartes Inc., Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental Energy Systems, Syracuse University School of Architecture Challenge: design a modestly priced, environmentally thoughtful house on a narrow lot in an urban neighborhood, easily adaptable to other sites in the area and for a budget to no more than $150,000 inclusive of fees and site work. Entries were required to include a detailed budget to be reviewed by a technical evaluation team consisting of construction, cost estimating and sustainability experts who would assign a feasabilty rating that would factor into the jury selection. The result of the competiton was to select one or more schemes which are now under construction. WINNERS:
103 Onion Flats & Andropogon
Cook+Fox ARO & Della Valle Bernheimer FINALISTS: Office dA David Adjaye Assoc. Erdy McHenry Briggs Knowles + Peter Lynch
STORM WATER MANAGEMENT
The intention of TED’s stormwater management plan is to produce zero runoff through the captureandreuseofwater.Precipitationthatfallsonthebuildingisdirectedtoanunderground 1000 gallon rainwater cistern. Rain/snow that falls on the rest of the site is entirely managed by the landscape. Given that Syracuse has an annual precipitation of 40 inches per year (includes 114” of snow), the proposal diverts an average of 88,300 gallons of water per year from entering the public combined sewer, relieving stress on the aging infrastructure system as well as the surrounding natural hydrology. A rain garden, prominently located in the front, manages rainwater from the entry porch roof and walkway while hosting a community of native flowering herbaceous plants that attract pollinators.
WATER USE AND RE-USE/LANDSCAPING
TED’s water consumption is reduced by a minimum of 50% through the use of low-flow faucets and showerheads, dual flush toilets and reuse of the collected rainwater for irrigation ofvegetablegardens.Alllandscaping,excludingthevegetablegarden,isspecificallydesigned to require little maintenance and no irrigation once established. All turf is a “No-Mow” lawn mix which blends six different deep-rooted, drought resistant fescues varieties. Native and fruiting trees require no irrigation and provide texture, shade and scale to the front and back yard while producing food and supporting the local wildlife. The hearty sideyard‘Red Sprite’ (Winterberry) shrubs produce gorgeous red fruit that will remain on the branches long after the leaves have fallen, enhancing the winter landscape and enticing songbirds. An important “add-on” is a proposal for a small constructed wetland that would disconnect TED from the public sewer system and remotely manage sewage treatment. Until recently (past 20 years) most American homes, through the use of a septic tank and leaching field, effectively managed the majority of their own sewage. The proposed constructed wetland wouldworkthroughthesameprinciple,butratherthanleachingeffluentbackintotheground, it gets cleansed through a series of simple and effective bio-filters to then be reused in the home for toilet flushing, car washing and irrigation.
Thispage:Above:Planoptiondiagramsshowing howthebaseplancanbere-configuredtomeet future changes in use. Bottom: Axonometric diagrams of massing morphology. Opposite page: Site-plan and floor plans.
TWO STORY & ROOF:
This page: Upper left: Cross sectionlookingsouth.Upperright: Cross section looking west. Lower left: South elevation in winter Lower right: South elevation in summer with addition. Opposite page: Upper left: Exploded axon of building envelope & HVAC system. Upper Right: Diagrams of construction types. Lower left: Interiorviewlookingnorth. Lower Right: Interior view looking south.
TED was designed so that it could be built in three different ways: 1. Stick framing, 2. Modular, 3. SIP panels. Stick framing has the one significant benefit that it is the most common and preferred method of construction for single family homes in the area. Stick framing is the least expensive and in many ways the most‘sustainable’method of building from the perspective of supporting local economies but far less sustainable from the perspective of material efficiencies and waste, quality control or mass production. Modular construction would answer all these concerns and be the preferred method of building for TED if multiple dwellings were constructed at the same time and if a relationship with a local factory willing to ‘experiment’ with alternative building plans not within the factory’s ‘stock’ portfolio was established. The significant advantage of SIP panel construction is that its insulation properties are superior to any other method of building. While all methods of construction are appropriate for TED, for the purposes of our proposal, our pricing reflects a stick-built TED as it is commonplace and therefore makes common sense.
HEATING AND HOT WATER
Four 6’x6’evacuated tube solar thermal panels located on the 44º sloped,southfacingroofcombinedwitha120gallonstoragetank, radiant tubing in all floors and a 96 % efficient condensing boiler will provide all of the heating and domestic hot water needs.
The three-story open interior atrium space combined with the climate of Syracuse eliminates the need for mechanical cooling during the summer months. Natural convection created by a‘solar chimney’continuously exhausts warm air and humidity from the home while maintaining a comfortable ambient temperature.
BELFIELD TOWNHOMES 1735-39 Belfield Ave. Philadelphia 2012
Developer: Onion Flats / Raise of Hope / RDA Architect: Plumbob Llc. General Contractor: JIG Inc Modular Builder: BLOX Sustainable Building Systems
FIRST Certified Passiv Haus in Pennsylvania The project involves the development, design and construction of three row homes for the Raise of Hope (ROH) organization for 1735, 1737 & 1739 Belfield Avenue, in Philadelphia. The townhomes are three stories, 1920 sf, and have 4 bedrooms, and three bathrooms, living room, kitchen and office. Parking for one vehicle will be on site for each home and accessed from the rear. The intention of this project is for it to be a model of affordable and sustainable building for the City of Philadelphia. They are designed to be high performance buildings, to achieve Passiv Haus standards and to approach zero-energy status. Onion 109 Flats hopes that this project will demonstrate the economic development feasibility of a highly sustainable buildings for the affordable housing market. â€œWe cannot simply think of our survival; each new generation is responsible to ensure the survival of theseventh generation. The prophecy given to us, tells us that what we do today will affect the seventh generation and because of this we must bear in mind our responsibility to them today and always.â€? Haudenosaunee Leauge 1142 AD
Philadelphia City Paper BELFIELD TOWNHOMES 2012 BIG VISION Awards: Sustainability & Design
GYPSUM WALL BOARD
TAPE JOINT OF RIGID INSULATION
PTD. CONCRETE BOARD SIDING
TRIPLE GLAZING: U-value: 0.105 (R-9.5) UPVC TILT/TURN INSWING CASEMENT WINDOW PTD. ALUMINUM FLASHING BITUMINOUS FLASHING TAPE SPRAY FOAM AROUND WINDOW FRAME 1x3 WOOD FURRING STRIPS
PTD. METAL SIDING FOIL FACED POLYISOCIANURATE RIGID BOARD INSULATION, (2 LAYERS 1” W/ JOINTS STAGGERED) WALL SHEATHING W/ INTEGRAL AIR & MOISTURE BARRIER DENSE PACK CELLULOSE INSULATION
STABLE HOMES 1102-34 N. American St. + 1101-31 Bodine St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2011 Developer: Onion Flats Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: BLOX Sustainable Building Systems
Designed to be LEED-H Platinum Certified AND Passive House Certified
Stables is a 27 unit townhome development in the heart of Northern Liberties. Once completed it will be the first Passive House community in the United States. With a projected 90% reduction in energy consumption required for these homes, supported by a significant PV solar array, Stables also intends to be one the country’s first “zeroenergy” communities. Designed on the prevalent Philadelphia row typology, the project begins with one of the most efficient urban forms of dwelling, which also make it an ideal model for modular manufacturing. The entire project, above the foundation, will be built in a modular factory, while foundations are being constructed on site. This fast track process will reduce construction time by 50%.
Clockwise from left: rendering of Bodine Street elevation;above:renderingofAmericanStreetelevation;middleright:renderingofâ€œfloatingcourtyardsâ€?; Lower right: Street view of Entry lobby and street facade;Oppositepageupperright:birdseyeandsite plan;bottom:renderingofprojectindicatingextent of green roofs and 260 KW photovoltaic system.
STABLE FLATS 1102-34 N. American St. + 1101-31 Bodine St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2009 Developer: Joint venture partnership between Onion Flats and Domani Developers Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc. Designed to be the first, multi-family LEED-H Platinum certified project of its kind in the United States Stable Flats is a 70-unit, residential project intended to be a model of sustainable, residential and community urban redevelopment.Theprojectbenefitsfrominnovativepublic/privatepartnershipswiththePhiladelphiaWaterDepartment and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Of the 70 units, an unprecedented 31% are Affordable Housing units.The project is located in the heart of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with more than one hundred thousand square feet of commercial space currently approved for construction within a four-block radius, public bus service within one block, and the“El”or elevated train, part of Philly’s mass transit system within four blocks. A percentage of parking spaces will be dedicatedtoPhillyCarShare,hybrid,andelectricvehicles.Amechanical,automatedparkingstructurestackscarsthreehigh. 70 dwelling units
Learn to love and dwell within it’s thin, efficient and elegant slits of urban space
WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT
Insist that each part of the ‘system’ functions in at least three ways. Capture more, consume less.
The community garden is designed as a combination of vegetable garden, flower garden, composting center, children’s playground, stage, and community barbecue. The “floating courtyards” in the center of the project – a combination of private green roofs, outdoor decks, and passageways for the entire complex – are features that encourage a sense of community. An expansive southfacing façade incorporates a vertical planted wall and photovoltaic solar panels. The modular steel and concrete frame structure is designed to reduce overall energy use by at least 50%. Two central lobbies house rotating galleries and permanent exhibition spaces containing educational tools and displays demonstrating the“green”aspects of the project, which monitor the energy being generated and the water being saved by the project. The roof consists of multiple eight-inch deep intensive (occupiable) and four-inch deep extensive (nonoccupiable)greenroofsystemsplusa260kwphotovoltaic panel system. Green roofs along with the community gardenprovideopengreenspacetotaling93%coverage of the total site. Thus only 7% of the site has impervious coverage. Green roofs increase the insulation values of each unit, reducing cooling and heating costs, while fulfilling 100% of the storm water management needs. 124
This page: Lower left: rendering of community garden and south facing“living wall”; Upper left: rendering of Northern view down American Street with“living wall” Opposite Page: Upper right: Rendering of fourth floor level of“floating courtyards”acting as main circulation andcommunity/privateoutdoorspace;Lowerright:rendering of green roof balcony as it relates on a dwelling unit;Lowerleft:renderingofperviousdrivewayandmechanicalparkingareawith“floatingcourtyards”above.
The “macro” storm water management system/geothermalheatexchanger/rainwater cistern is a 430,000-gallon tank, which will “siphon” water from the high water table in the immediate vicinity of this neighborhood. It will be used as a geo-thermal “heat exchanger” for the project’s central heating and cooling systems. It will also act as an overflow cistern for any rainwater collected on the site.This multi-dimensional system will reduce common flooding in the surrounding blocks,significantlyreduceheatingandcooling costs for occupants, and reuse all rainwater to irrigate the community garden and all green roofs. Natural light and air are designed into all areas of the residential units in order to minimize electric light usage during the day. Allmechanical,kitchen,andbathroomspaces are centrally and efficiently located. Radiant floor heat tubing is embedded in polished concrete floors. The centrally located boiler for the radiant heating simultaneously and indirectly heats the domestic hot water for all 125 units, which use low-flow toilets, faucets, and showers.
1st-2nd FLOOR 2 BEDROOM / 2 BATH UNITS 1200sf
3rd-4th FLOOR 1 BEDROOM / 1 BATH UNITS 900sf
3rd-4th FLOOR 2 BEDROOM / 2 BATH UNITS 1400sf
5th FLOOR 3 BEDROOM / 3 BATH UNITS 2300sf
Opposite page right: floor plans of typical dwellings and how the modular units are connected horizontally to create one, two and three bedroom units; left: interior renderings of typical dwellings This page: second floor and fifth floor plans.
SECOND FLOOR PLAN
FIFTH FLOOR PLAN
This page: faรงade studies of material connections, modular connection details and colors; Opposite page: rendering of stacked modular units.
ZERO 32nd & Chestnut St. Philadelphia 2011 Developer: Joint venture partnership between Onion Flats and Tower Investments Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: BLOX Sustainable Building Systems
Designed to be the first, multi-family Passive House certified Zero energy project of its kind in the United States
When one reviews the 2007 Campus Master Plan for Drexel University, it is clear that the site for this RFP on the South side of Chestnut Street, between 32nd and 33rd Streets currently holds an important yet fragile position in the overall vision for the future of Drexel’s campus. As the University’s Southern-most site and its position relative to Penn’s campus, it becomes, by default, a crucial threshold for definition within Drexel’s campus and identity. When one studies the existing vehicular and more importantly pedestrian paths and linkages surrounding the site, it becomes obvious that the corners of 33rd and 32nd and Chestnut have the potential to establish themselves as critical and active “nodes” and gateways into the University. The “32nd Street Mall” currently under construction, along with the future Law School planned for the North side of Chestnut at 32nd suggests an opportunity for an important “Retail Node” on the Southwest corner of 32nd and Chestnut. Likewise, the corner of 33rd and Chestnut while currently inactive, is in fact a hub of pedestrian activity as it is the meeting point of Drexel’s Quadrangle to the Northeast and Penn’s Hill Square to the Southwest. This, combined with the exquisitely designed and soon-to-be-completed Integrated Sciences Building on the Northeast corner, elevates the significance of this presently under-utilized and underestimated corner into a vibrant and relevant retail, residential and promotional gateway into Drexel’s campus. An important dimension of our proposal therefore involves designing the “bigger picture” potentials of this site, potentials that have this development contribute not only quality retail and housing to Drexel’s campus but also important gateways into the future envisioned in Drexel’s Master Plan.
Crucial to the success of ZERO is our commitment not to “green” building but rather to the highest levels of sustainability possible within our current thinking and technology. We intend this project to be Drexel’s first LEED Platinum structure, the City’s first Passive HouseTM Certified complex and the country’s largest NetZero-Energy community. Aligned with the principles of the Drexel Green Initiative, this project will become a model of sustainable design and building practices and act as a laboratory for student, faculty and the local community’s education and engagement. Central to the sustainable goals of ZERO and the development team is the core principal belief that building sustainably does not mean building expensively. We have developed in Philadelphia some of the first LEED Gold and Platinum projects in the country at no cost premium. We achieve this level of financial, social and environmental sustainability by creating a more streamlined and efficient design/build process for all of our developments, eliminating waste, miscommunication and the costs associated with it. We translate those cost savings into a higher quality, more energy efficient and inspiring building.
Our proposal incorporates a variety of high-sustainability strategies, including: - Intensive and extensive green roofs over 95% of all built area (storm water management, urban heat island, & habitat creation) - Sustainable Materials (renewable, recycled content, locally sourced) - 200 KW PV Solar Array (generates all electricity needed for the communityâ€™s operation. - High Performance Envelope (Passive House Certification: see below) - Low-flow fixtures and faucets which reduce water consumption by 50% - Integrated Design (maximize efficiency by taking a holistic approach to design and construction) - Superior Air Quality (low or no-VOC materials in conjunction with passive and active ERV ventilation) - Interior bicycle storage for all residents - LED displays of energy and water consumption within the complex in all public areas - ZIP/ Philly Car Share parking and electric charging ports within the South parking lot - LEED & Passive House Certification (Third party verification: accountability to meet project goals)
SHAPING THE SITE
1. Activate the street with appropriate retail uses
3. Create a “new ground”, or garden landscape, at the second level
5. Create a 100% “pervious” site with 100% Green Roof coverage, so that stormwater is managed naturally
2. Provide sufficient parking at grade only, but eliminate the car from sight and create a pedestrian experience
4. Design “THE RIDGE” with blocks of residential units across the entire site
6. Generate all power necessary for the community on site with a significant Solar PV array
Along with incorporating all of the design guidelines within the RFP (ie, setbacks, Ridge/ Calumet expansion, curbcut, parking, service, loading, streetscape elements and signage), our proposal, RIDGE FLATS named after both the site’s street address as well as the natural landscape that has inspired it’s design, is a mixed-use residential/ retail “sustainable garden community” that takes it’s planning, architectural and sustainable design strategy from six basic principles:
RIDGE FLATS Ridge Ave & Calumet St Philadelphia 2011 Developer: Onion Flats Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: BLOX Sustainable Building Systems
Designed to be the first, multi-family Passive House certified Zero energy project of its kind in the United States
RIDGE FLATS’ itention is to become Philadelphia’s first Net-Zero-Energy mixed-use residential/retail community and the country’s largest. RIDGE FLATS intends, therefore, to achieve net zero energy consumption and net zero carbon emissions annually, with all energy required for heating, cooling, lighting and domestic hot water generated on-site. As a model of sustainable development, our proposal articulates an urban, social and financially sustainable strategy that matches its environmental commitment.We have carefully considered the requirements as articulated in the RFP as well as the requirements of this site from an urban planning and community engagement perspective. Critical to the design intent of RIDGE FLATS is the creation of a pedestrian oriented and landscaped residential community that reconnects this currently blighted site back to its adjacent Fairmount Park and Schuylkill River neighbors. As the image below shows, the “new ground” created at the second level acts as a main entrance to all residential units, an idyllic and relaxing community garden as well as a viewing platform to the River, running/biking trails and the Park. Another significant design concern of RIDGE FLATS was how it could act as 1. a “gateway” into the East Falls community, 2. a transitional buffer between a heavily travelled vehicular Kelly Drive and the pedestrian oriented Fairmount Park trails, 3. a place of “pause” and reflection along the River for joggers, bicyclists and neighborhood residents.The image below communicates our intentions to meet those goals.
Our proposal incorporates a variety of high-sustainability strategies, including: - Intensive and extensive green roofs over 100% of all built area (storm water management, urban heat island, & habitat creation) - Sustainable Materials (renewable, recycled content, locally sourced) - 200 KW PV Solar Array (generates all electricity needed for the communityâ€™s operation. - High Performance Envelope (Passive House Certification: see below) - Low-flow fixtures and faucets which reduce water consumption by 50% - Integrated Design (maximize efficiency by taking a holistic approach to design and construction) - Superior Air Quality (low or no-VOC materials in conjunction with passive and active ERV ventilation) - Interior bicycle storage for all residents - LED displays of energy and water consumption within the complex in all public areas - ZIP/ Philly Car Share parking and electric charging ports within parking lot - Passive House Certification (Third party verification: provides accountability)
Clockwise from bottom left: birds eyerenderingofprojectwithview of green roofs, solar panels, and interiorcourtyard;above:plansof project; Opposite page bottom: renderingsoftheinter-connecting courtyardsandpedestrianwalks; middle: physical model views of project; above right: aerial plan view of project in context with neighborhood showing courtyards and solar panels; above left: facade rendering on 4th Street
DUCK FLATS 818-824 N. 4th St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2008 Developer: Joint venture partnership between Onion Flats and Domani Developers Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc. Designed to be LEED-H Platinum Certified
Formerly a storage facility for the “Ride the Ducks” tourist company, this site seemed ideal for an “affordable” community in a Northern Liberties that is currently unaffordable for most. Secondly, a significantsitestrategywastoeliminatethepresence of the automobile in favor of open, green, pedestrian community space. Circulation to all units is from exterior walkways and stairways which double as places of community interaction and dialogue. The project is designed for fabrication in a steel and concrete modular factory. 25 dwellings
140 THE GIVEN
Read the city with intentionality and respond by acknowledging the fundamental building blocks of its fabric
THE GIVEN SITE
WAREHOUSE THE CAR
RE-CONFIGURE THE MODULE
URBAN ROOF = GREEN ROOF = LIVING ROOM
Opposite Page : renderings of interior spaces of unit above: plans of project; This Page: renderings of the inter-connecting courtyardsandpedestrianwalks.
THE SKY AND THE EARTH
This page below: vignettes of the courtyard spaces as they define the ground floor plan and itâ€™s relationship to the dwellings surrounding them; middle: floor plans; top: images of physical model and how it relates to Capital Flats 1 and Thin Flats across the street; Opposite page top right: site plan; bottom: Hancock Street rendering.
CAPITAL FLATS II 152-158 W. Laurel St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2009 Developer: Onion Flats Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: JIG Inc. Designed to be LEED-H Platinum certified The second stage of Capital Flats creates the atmosphere of a family compound.This project is informed by the desire to have the ground floor act a continuous interior/exterior playground for children to run and play among Grandma’s place to the north, Mom and Dad’s place in the center, and Uncle Johnny’s place to the south. All parking spaces for both Capital Flats 1 and II are underground, accessed by a car elevator at the southwestern edge of the site. The project is designed for fabrication in a steel and concrete modular factory. 8 dwellings
This page: vignettes of elevated green streets, paths, private and community gardens. Opposite page bottom: site plan; above: conceptual diagram of stitched structures.
MOSS FLATS 850 N. 3rd St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 2009 Developer: CNO Properties Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: TBD
Situated on a 34,000-squarefoot site in the heart of Northern Liberties, this project attempts to create a pedestrian garden community one story above grade with parking and a relocated day care center. Conceptually, the site is “wrapped” from 3rd Street to Orianna Street with a new green landscape upon which a modern, pedestrian-oriented, residential community can prosper. Green roofs, private gardens, communal vegetable gardens, balconies and decks, and with them people, barbecues, lounge chairs, bicycles, potted plants, and baby pools occupy the spaces between the three blocks of“stitched”structures in an intentionally urban and collective manner.The project is designed for fabrication in a steel and concrete modular factory. 42 dwelling units 75 parking spaces 1 day care center
Clockwise from bottom left: birds eye sketch of project with view of green roofs, solar panels, and interior courtyard. top left & right: physical model of project in context; bottom right: rendered sketch of interior courtyard space which filters light into the living spaces and the floating walkways which bridge the two buildings. Opposite page bottom right: 3D rendering of theâ€˜wonky wallâ€™facade from street view. above: aerial plan view of project in context with neighborhood showing green roofs and solar panels.
4th FLATS 1036-38 N. 4th St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia TBD Developer: 1036 4th Street Associates Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: TBD Nestledbetweensingle-familyhomes,thisformerfactorysitestitches together 4th, George, and Leithgow Streets and offers a challenging juxtaposition of scales, programmatic elements, and streets, which helps to create the many “faces” to this project. The 4th Street “face” takes some initial cues from Ben Franklin’s “busy body” (a voyeuristic, monitoring mirror prevalent on Philadelphia rows).This allows inhabitants views of the sidewalk, the neighbors, and the sky simultaneously while challenging the passerby to reconsider initial readingsofdensity,height,andprogram.Thisrelationshipisinverted with the courtyard“faces”that completely and unabashedly open to the shared exterior terraces of circulation and dialogue within the flats’ community. The George and Leithgow Streets “faces” quietly hover above the ground while participating in the intimate and frequent “stoop” dialogues of these tree-lined streets. 151 5 dwellings
This page clockwise from bottom: perspective sketch looking south-east from George St ; elevation rendering of facade on 4th street. top left: 3D rendering of ‘wonky wall’ from street view top right: 3D rendering of courtyard and the floating walkways connecting the two structures. Opposite Page: sectional study of both the light filtering effect of the ‘wonky wall’ and its framed views. left: plans of 4th flats units and the interconnecting courtyard space.
Clockwise from bottom left: concept sketch of project with view of green roofs in context with neighborhood. top left: concept sketch of project from street view; top right: 3D rendering of project with light filtering facade bottom right: rendered view of balconies leading up to green roof deck. Opposite page clockwise from bottom right 3D rendering of project corner from Susquehanna street bottom left: 3D rendering of projectlookingeastdownThompsonstreet. above right aerial plan view of project in context with neighborhood showing green roofs. above right: 3D rendering of project looking west down Thompson street. 154
THOMPSON TRIPLETS Colona, Thompson Sts., + Susquehanna Ave. Fishtown, Philadelphia TBD Developer: Deceased Architect: Plumbob Llc. Builder: TBD The challenge of this project begins with its rare and evocative setting within the heart of Fishtown. Straddling three streets yet prominently positioned on one, this project explores the “exposed” condition and unlikely meeting of two rows at two corners. What emerges is the opportunity to experiment with the row as a “wall dwelling” rather than a “thin space.” The “wall”is approached as a filter for light, circulation, communal participation and dialogue. 3 dwellings
WILMINGTON Market St. btw 2nd + 10th St. Wilmington, Delaware On-going... Developer: Buccini-Pollin Group Architect (Master Planning): Plumbob Llc. Builder: TBD In 2007 we were approached by Buccini/Pollin to create a “vision” for a nine-block stretch of one of the most historic downtown sections of Wilmington,Delaware. For years our client had been takingcreativedevelopment andarchitecturalrisksontheChristinaRiver port ofWilmington and owned a significant portion of the commercial space downtown. The group was interested in both linking the corporate downtown with the river and inspiring a new generation of urban dwellers to settle in this strangely vacant (at least after 5:00 p.m.) city. Our client’s bold and comprehensive passion to repopulate the downtown of a significant North American city was both infectious and crazy enough to capture our kindred spirit. While this is very much a project in process, we have initiated a master-planning exercise with a number of objectives:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Restoration of the historic context of Market Street Inclusion of a vibrant mix of commercial, office, retail and residential uses to create a sustainable community Commitment to open/community space and “green links” that connect Market Street to the more desolate King and Shipley Streets Dedication to “sustainable” modes of thinking and building Connection of a corporate downtown with its waterfront Support the significant cultural and historic institutions anchored in this community. Create an infusion of residential dwellings, which re-situate this historic section of Wilmington within a contemporary and reconsidered image of the city.
The master plan, therefore, requires a“master team,”or as we have dubbed it,“DreamTeam,”of architects, planners, and landscape architects from NewYork, Philadelphia, and Delaware, chosen for their experience and innovative work within similar urban contexts throughout the country. This“team”has been assembled at an early stage, sites have been divvied-out, and preliminary ideas proposed so that this comprehensive vision may be cohesively communicated and achieved. 225 dwellings (approx.) ___sf commercial space
800 BLOCK 6 FLOORS 15 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL
800 BLOCK 7 FLOORS 8 RESIDENTIAL, 2 RETAIL
600 BLOCK 7 FLOORS 54 RESIDENTIAL, 4 RETAIL
600 BLOCK 12 FLOORS -TOWER 4 FLOORS - TOWNHOUSE 78 RESIDENTIAL, 8 RETAIL
400 BLOCK 8 FLOORS 14 RESIDENTAIL, 2 RETAIL
200 BLOCK 4 FLOORS 6 RESIDENTIAL, 2 RETAIL
100 BLOCK 8 FLOORS - TOWER 8 RETAIL SITE: 80’ X 100’ 5 FLOORS - ROW BLDG. 5 RETAIL
MARKET STREET RE-IMAGINED
600 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 54 RESIDENTIAL, 4 RETAIL. NO. OF FLOORS: 7
800 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 2 RESIDENTIAL, 2 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 1, 4
C O U RT YA R D T H R O U G H - B L O C K WA L K WAY R E TA I L S PA C E 2
13 12 11
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
200 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 6 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 4 / 50 FT
MARKET STREET R E TA I L S PA C E 1
M A R K E T S T R E E T E L E VAT I O N
We imagine the groundplane becoming an urban lanscape with pathways emphasizing the existing through-block connection and creating a special courtyard relationship to the Third Street renovation project. We i m a g i n e d t h e b u i l d i n g a s a kind of “Kunsthalle”, a creative pavilion that becomes the heart of an emerging design district. A ground floor coffee shop and gallery could activate the inner and outer zones of the site with live/work loft space above. The building sets back on the south side to create a surprising invitation for pedestrians, but also to provide loft spaces above with natural light penetrating on three sides. The boxy top of the buildng looks to stepback from the historic streetwall so as not to interfere with the domain of “history” while the mesh-like underbelly of the building glows brightly at night, inviting visitors to explore the secret garden.
220 MARKET STREET - WILMINGTON, DE //
800 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 15 RESIDENTIAL, 2 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 6 / 72 FT
The 220 Market Street site is special given the adjacent historic context and the many opportunities the site provides to “connect” people in new and unexpected ways.
200 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 3 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 4
BUCCINI POLLIN GROUP
800 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 15 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 4
3RD STREET PROPOSED UNITS: 16 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 4 / 50 FT
700 BLOCK: PROPOSED UNITS: 5 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 4
800 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: ALOFT HOTEL; 135 rooms NO. OF FLOORS: 4 NO. OF ROOMS: 240
S I T E # 13 Gateway East 102 MARKET STREET SITE SIZE: 8000 SQ FT PLOT DIMENSION: 80’ x 100’ PROPOSED UNITS: - 8 RETAIL 2500 SQ FT TYP. NUMBER OF STORIES/HEIGHT: 8 / 96 FT.
800 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 5 RESIDENTIAL, 1 RETAIL NO. OF FLOORS: 3
100 BLOCK PROPOSED UNITS: 8 FLOORS COMMERCIAL NO. OF FLOORS: 8 / 96 FT
PHYSICAL WORK Onion Flats 111 west norris street philadelphia, pa 19122 www.onionflats.com
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