Going up: The case for vertical use integration

Submitted by Katy Tomasulo on Tue, 08/27/2019 - 14:02
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"}]],"markups":[["a",["href","http:\/\/www.fxcollaborative.com\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.wsp.com\/en-US","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/conferenceonarchitecture.com\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.fieldoperations.net\/home.html","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/77greenwich.com\/","target","_new"]],["sup"],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/www.sunnysideyard.nyc\/","target","_new"]],["i"]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Dense, vertically oriented design offers a sustainable solution to the population and affordability challenges facing many US cities, architects say."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"If you challenge architect Jack Robbins, AIA, that designing for density equates to people living on top of each other, his typical reply is \u201cPrecisely.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Robbins makes no apologies for his belief that vertical use integration is a key solution to addressing current and looming sustainability and housing affordability issues. \u201cDensity is our future,\u201d says the partner and director of urban design at "],[0,[0],1,"FXCollaborative"],[0,[],0,". \u201cThis is what we should be designing for.\u201d"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Weighing the benefits "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cWe\u2019re pushing the notion of density because it\u2019s sustainable,\u201d Dan Baer, senior vice president at "],[0,[1],1,"WSP USA"],[0,[],0,", told an audience at the "],[0,[2],1,"AIA Conference on Architecture"],[0,[],0," 2019, where he was speaking on the topic alongside Robbins and James Tenyenhuis, AIA. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cPeople who live in dense cities have per capita a fraction of the carbon footprint of people who live elsewhere,\u201d notes Robbins, who believes designing for density can be achieved in a way that\u2019s beneficial for all parties. \u201cNew Yorkers [have] between one-third and one-sixth the carbon footprint versus the average American.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It\u2019s not necessarily that New Yorkers are more environmentally conscious. \u201cCities are, simply put, a sustainable way of accommodating more people,\u201d says Tenyenhuis, architect and associate at "],[0,[3],1,"James Corner Field Operations"],[0,[],0,". \u201cCities use fewer resources, less infrastructure, and they balance the needs of more people with less stuff.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Maximizing infrastructure as much as possible helps alleviate the burdens of unaffordable housing, Robbins says, and is an alternative to forcing lower-income families farther from job centers and transit. \u201cIf you can take existing urban areas and densify them, you can serve a larger population with the existing infrastructure and increase supply of housing.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Generational shifts are another driver of the trend toward vertical density. Millennials are less interested in suburban environments, Robbins says, and are looking for the amenities that urban, mixed-use environments offer. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThey grow up sharing their lives online \u2026 so sharing a wall with a neighbor might be easier,\u201d he says. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Leading the way"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Vertically integrated projects take many forms, but some of the largest blend public and private spaces to the benefit of both sides, including easing budgetary constraints. FXCollaborative\u2019s "],[0,[4],1,"77 Greenwich"],[0,[],0,", a slender tower under construction in Lower Manhattan, includes an elementary school in the bottom levels with 90 condo units above. Similarly, the firm\u2019s 35XV project on 15"],[0,[5],1,"th"],[0,[],0," Street in New York houses a private school under residential. The developer has a guaranteed tenant in the lower floors, while schools get built faster than they typically might. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Religious institutions are another potential collaborator, as these types of projects allow them to monetize their land to support their missions. In one case, FXCollaborative is working with La Hermosa Christian Church to rezone its property in Harlem to develop a 33-story mixed-use property above."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"But perhaps the most prominent examples are public-private partnerships centered around transit\u2014in use or abandoned. Railroad and highway infrastructure often creates voids and barriers in the urban and economic fabric, Baer noted at A\u201919. Repositioning or repurposing infrastructure opens up much-needed land to accommodate growing residential and workforce populations that are well served by transit. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Large developments like "],[0,[6],1,"Hudson Yards"],[0,[],0," on New York\u2019s West Side, a massive merging of residential, commercial, cultural, retail, and green space situated above a rail yard, provide precedent for other projects to come. At "],[0,[7],1,"Sunnyside Yard"],[0,[],0," in Queens, of which Baer\u2019s firm has consulted as engineers, a master planning process currently underway will help determine how best to build atop the bustling 180-acre transit hub as a means to address the city\u2019s \u201cgrowing population, strained infrastructure, and rising rents.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In Atlanta, the proposed Georgia Multimodal Passenger Terminal would combine office and residential on top of a bus and train station in an area once home to only rail yards and parking lots. Vertical separation would place rail below, create an activated street level, and ensure smooth circulation of buses up and off the street. A porous skin undulating around the station levels would naturally ventilate the bus area, while a park extending up and over aims to connect the sides and offer green space to building users and the greater public. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Ensuring livability"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Indeed, architects recognize that making such projects successful relies just as heavily on ensuring those spaces are livable, attractive, and accessible, most often through connections to the outdoors and nature. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cPublic realm and outdoor public spaces are essential for dense living,\u201d says Tenyenhuis. \u201cLandscape enables density, but dense living needs landscape: Living in a city can be tough, and people need places to restore themselves\u2014to play, relax, replenish, and access the natural environment.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The conscious incorporation of public and private green and gathering space can take many forms, from literal green space incorporated throughout a multi-use complex to Hudson Yards\u2019 Vessel, a soaring outdoor spiral staircase that has become an Instagram darling. "]]],[1,"p",[]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In other cases, it\u2019s maximizing access to existing city resources and amenities."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cWhat dense living does is pressure designers to rethink leftover, undesirable spaces and create new connections and new forms of public space that integrate architecture, landscape, and infrastructure,\u201d Tenyenhuis explains. Think New York\u2019s beloved High Line or the current reintegration of Seattle\u2019s waterfront with the city\u0027s downtown core and Pike Place Market; these popular attractions for residents, office workers, and tourists alike maximize space and promote vitality. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Collaboration is key"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Designing for density will likely never be without its challenges or challengers. Collaboration\u2014between everyone from land owners to city officials to developers to architects to current residents\u2014is crucial both to getting projects approved and pulling them off successfully. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThe fundamental part of working with large multi-disciplinary teams is an overarching vision,\u201d Tenyenhuis advised attendees at A\u201919. \u201cwhether this idea comes from one party, or from collaboration, it helps to have the whole team progressing toward an overarching goal as they work through smaller details.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cArchitects are in a service industry; we\u2019re not funding the projects\u2014someone else has to initiate it and fund it,\u201d Robbins says. \u201cFor us, it\u2019s about convincing those people who are the initial catalysts for projects about the value. And that value has to be, especially for the private sector, a dollar value. Show that this project, even though it is more complicated and even though it doesn\u2019t follow a standard template, will result in greater returns.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[8],1,"Katy Tomasulo is director of AIA\u2019s corporate content studio and has been writing about design and construction for 19 years. "]]]]}
Dense, vertically oriented design offers a sustainable solution to the population and affordability challenges facing many US cities, architects say.
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35XV in New York, designed by FXCollaborative, combines a private school on the lower levels with residential units above.
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design for density, FXCollaborative, James Corner Field Operations, WSP USA, transit-oriented development
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