Open activity and attractive opportunities for public involvement serve both to connect community members with each other and to establish a unique identity in the larger common. There are five separate buildings organized around an open atrium, inviting public involvement through an impressive bridged opening on the north face, 65 feet wide and 20 feet high.
The "jewel" of the project is set at the centre of the atrium - the "Gastrodome". This is a large, self contained building with a 30 foot sloped glass ceiling. The original plan was for this building to be a restaurant, but its wonderful north light makes it a spectacular art gallery.
The perimeter of the atrium is entirely commercial in character, with several offices or shops having storefront exposure both in the atrium and on West 2nd.
Every unit in the building overlooks the atrium. The Gastrodome is the lowest building in the project, and its sloping north wall ensures that no shadows are cast in the open space. This also allows every unit excellent exposure to sunlight.
We have used a variation on the interlocking cross-section pioneered by LeCorbusier in Unite d'Habitation both to expose every unit to the atrium, and to open them at both ends to facilitate natural ventilation. The interlock provides a double height space and a mezzanine, and also allows two double loaded corridors to serve four stories, which increases efficiency.
There are two powerful counter-weighted elevators, one located in a glass shaft on West 2nd, the other in the atrium. The elevators are designed to engage the interest of the occupants, encouraging them to look around and perhaps at each other, rather than awkwardly staring at their shoes. All of the elevator equipment, including the cables, counter-weight and motor rooms, will be visible from the elevator car.
Landscaping throughout the development is in some way edible, with apple and cherry trees, as well as a mix of berry bushes and various herbs.
The general organization
of the development is intended to create an animated central focus, providing
an architectural impetus to mix building users with the public at large,
with details conceived as small surprises that put people at ease and act
as a social lubricant.
N E X T_ P A G E: The Audience