Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – February 2015

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Check out our weekly news summary “Sun, Shadow & Urban Development” at

Is full height glazing on the way out for Australian commercial buildings? | Architecture And Design

Floor-to-ceiling glass in large-scale commercial buildings has been on trend for the last ten years and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

This trend is seemingly in direct competition with the sustainability movement that also has interest from a variety of parties including developers, investors, government and consumers because in general increasing glazing means an increase in potential space for solar heat gain and glare and therefore more money spent on mechanical cooling, better glass and frames, or shading devices.  

This paradox has resulted in better glazing products entering the Australian market such as low-e glass, double glazed units (DGUs) and thermally broken framing, particularly as buildings are increasingly being marketed on their energy performance as well as their looks.

Although studies do show that from an energy efficiency, daylight and comfort perspective, punched windows perform better than unshaded full height glazing, market demand will see floor-to-ceiling glass continue to be specified for Australia’s high-rises…

2,172 condo units were completed in Entertainment District in 2014. 3,473 now under construction: via @BuzzBuzzHome

County planners will deal with  wind issues via @michigansthumb

BAD AXE - County planners are moving to the Huron County District Courtroom for their monthly meeting this week, giving room for both a full agenda and more seating.

On tap are plans for a 75-turbine wind park, a developer’s response to four complaints of shadow flicker and noise from turbines, and a report from an acoustics firm hired to draft regulation on turbine noise for the county.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the district courtroom of the county building, room 105.

“I don’t like to have standing-room-only at a meeting like that,” said Chairman Clark Brock.

Planners regularly meet in the board of commissioners room in the county building. But attendance at past county meetings has topped capacity and poured into the hallway, as residents, developers and local leaders continue to step forward to speak on wind energy issues.

Brock says Wednesday’s meeting won’t be a spot for public input on Deerfield Wind Farm, the 75-turbine spread Colorado-based developer RES Americas has planned for Huron, Dwight, Bloomfield and Lincoln townships. The county deemed areas suitable for wind development in 2011, and Development Manager Brad Lila said in January that RES Americas has spent about $3 million pursuing the project so far.

Instead, planners will decide if the project meets zoning requirements.

“Their (RES Americas’) timetable has been set for a few years,” Brock said. “If they want to move forward in the spring, they have to have it approved.”

RES Americas’ plan arrives at a time when county leaders are pursuing a moratorium on wind energy for at least six months. Steve Allen, attorney for the board of commissioners, said last week that the county could take some breathing room to update a wind energy ordinance before any new projects breaks ground.

“I don’t look at it as unusual timing,” Brock said.

As for shadow flicker complaints, “we hope that the energy companies have a response,” Brock said, adding that several issues have been resolved.

Also on the agenda is further review of Geronimo Energy’s 50-turbine Apple Blossom Wind Farm set for Winsor and McKinley townships, which was granted conditional approval in December.

Wednesday will mark the first change of venue since a special meeting for airport zoning attended by about 15 people at the Expo Center last March.

Condo plans looking up in Little Italy | Ottawa Sun

Ottawa condo

The race to the sky in Little Italy is on.

Claridge Homes has broken ground on its 45-storey Icon condo at the northeastern corner of Carling Ave. and Preston St.

Next week, council's planning committee will consider an application from Richcraft Homes to build a multi-tower high-rise complex at 845 Carling Ave. next to the O-Train station. One tower is proposed to be 55 storeys, which would make it the tallest in Ottawa. The other two towers would be 45 and 18 storeys. There would be 1,120 units and a connection to the O-Train station.

The Richcraft development, which would take the place of a car dealership, is a couple of years in the making. The original application capped the tallest building at 48 storeys.

The company and city have settled on about $3.3 million that would fund community improvements, according to a planning report. The money would help fund the train station access, streetscape features and a pedestrian bridge over the tracks at Hickory St.

City staff are suggesting politicians approve the plan. Planning committee will consider the application next Tuesday.

New 50 Story Tower That Could Block Views At Escala Condominiums


By jeff_reynolds – SeattlePI

You may recall that just 2 weeks ago we wrote about 3 new towers that have Escala surrounded. Well, just days after our post, we learned that a 4th tower may be constructed that will have a huge impact on 40% or more of the 31 story 2009 built Escala condominiums. The new site is where the Icon Grill currently sits at 5th and Virginia (see below). The proposal calls for a 50 story multi-family site. So if this project breaks ground it would be the second 50 story project proposed for this block – Altitude Sky Tower at 5th and Stewart is currently in planning. See the photos below or reference our past post describing each project…

In our opinion, this could have a lasting impact on property values. Our reasoning is really simple. On the east-side of the building, this is not only an issue of view loss, but the shadow effect – literally the loss of natural light. Escala is only 31 stories. The two proposed towers that will border the north and eastside of the Seattle condo building are both projected to be 50 stories. There will be some corridor views in the south 1/3 of building see below – but unfortunately, if these towers move forward, the majority of the views and privacy (on North, Northeast and East) will altered. There is a space between the Westin Hotel, but with two 50 story towers being built right next to the building, we could see similar impacts to what happened to the Cosmopolitan years ago.

Planning committee approves Ottawa's tallest building near Dow's Lake

Richcraft sky condo carling avenue

A massive three-building condo development on Carling Avenue near Dow's Lake, which will include the city's tallest building yet, has been approved by Ottawa's planning committee.

The Richcraft project at 845 Carling Ave. will be called the Sky, featuring a 55-storey tower, along with a 45-storey and 18-storey tower.

Richcraft said it could be five years before construction begins, citing a weak condo market.

The complex is to be built on the west side of Preston Avenue, opposite a previously approved but not yet complete 45-storey Claridge tower on Carling Avenue, which up until now was the tallest building approved in Ottawa.

"Well it's definitely cutting edge, it's a change in direction, it's the highest and second highest buildings in our city. It's almost like a growing up phase," said planning committee chair Jan Harder. "It really raises the bar on where Ottawa is going."

Recent changes to the Carling-Preston community design plan paved the way for the supersized structures, which will be built on a major arterial road and next to light rail.


No road through Queen Juliana Park

Richcraft has promised $3.4 million in "community benefits" as part of the development, including building a connection to the Carling O-Train station, a contribution toward the Hickory Street pedestrian bridge, and burying hydro wires along surrounding streets.

A plan to ease traffic by linking Sherwood Drive to Prince of Wales Drive, which required cutting through Queen Juliana Park, was struck from Richcraft's application after protests from the community and their city councillor, Jeff Leiper.

City planner John Smit agreed the road link was "not necessary for this project to move forward."

Concerns about traffic and parking remain. The proposal calls for 728 parking spots, even though it's anticipated that 60 per cent of trips to and from the development will be by foot, bicycle or public transit.

"Less parking should be a principle underlying all the development in this area, and it would be a win win for the city. Fewer cars, less traffic to manage," said Kathy Kennedy of the Civic Hospital Community Association.

Kennedy also urged for access in and out of the complex to be restricted to Carling Avenue, to keep traffic away from quiet side streets.

"Our residents have been reporting traffic problems and traffic speeds that are well beyond what their small local streets are designed to accommodate," she said.

Richcraft's chief operating officer, Steve Grandmont, told the committee there were only about 500 condo sales in Ottawa last year. He said depending on market conditions, the development could include fewer condo units and more hotel rooms or office space.

Ottawa city council will vote on the proposal Feb. 25.

Here's What New York Will Look Like in 2018 via @intelligencer

Real estate website City Realty has some architectural renderings of how Manhattan's impending skyscraper boom will alter the city's famous skyline, and the photos are pretty futuristic looking.

The renderings show 53 West 53rd, the mixed-use tower designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, that will sit adjacent to the MoMA. But they also depict several other midtown-area projects that are slated to be completed by 2018…

See how Manhattan's new skyscrapers will cast shadows on Central Park

Right now, midtown Manhattan is in the midst of a construction boom, with eight 50-story-plus residential towers going up (or recently completed) in the area just south of Central Park. The tallest one, called Nordstrom Tower, will be the second-tallest building in the US when it's finished in 2018.

These slender luxury condo towers — built to give residents beautiful views of Central Park — will obviously change the look of Manhattan's skyline in a major way. But a study by the Municipal Art Society of New York simulated another way they'll change Midtown's aesthetics: by casting shadows.

The authors of the study calculated the shadows cast by each of the new buildings at particular times on September and December 21st…

The Society doesn't specifically oppose these new projects, but thinks that New York's zoning regulations — which were mostly written fifty years ago or more — should be updated. Zoning laws currently restrict building heights based on the width of the street (in order to make sure some sunlight reaches the ground), but Central Park isn't taken into account for this area.

However you feel about zoning and height restrictions, though, it's pretty interesting to look at these renderings — and see how Central Park will look in a few years, once these towers are finished.

Elenberg Fraser & Hecker Guthrie Team Up With BPM To Create Iconic Tower

Shadowplay Tower

Melbourne property developer BPM has unveiled a revised development plan for 105 Clarendon Street.

The dormant Southbank site is set to be home to Shadow Play, a 1,260 square metre, 61 level tower.

Set to stand at 61 levels total, the tower will feature 52 apartment levels sitting atop a 9 level podium. The defining feature of the tower will be its sculptural form containing undulations in the building skin that will reflect light to mimic movement.

Shadow Play was designed by Elenberg Fraser with interior design by Hecker Guthrie.

150 car spaces within the podium will accommodate the 546 apartments. The ground floor will potentially house a restaurant while the top floor will be utilised as a resident amenities level.

Characteristic of BPM, a company specializing in architecturally iconic developments, Shadow Play will be a revolutionary building in Melbourne’s central business district that will provide a visual experience for viewers.

BPM’s website explains their belief that the tower will become an iconic structural sculpture in Melbourne.

’Shadow Play’ will form a landmark ‘gateway’ to Melbourne’s South Melbourne and CBD. Constantly morphing and changing as the viewer moves around the building, the sculptural form creates a beautiful ephemeral experience. Undulations in the façade give the illusion of movement across the building skin whilst also practically working to maximise views out across Melbourne.

“The podium design is activated through residential apartments to the Clarendon St and City Rd corner. A layered and semi-transparent articulated mesh is stretched across the main corner of the building which is designed to provide privacy to the apartments and allows for a highly effective natural ventilated car park to Haig Lane and City Rd,” BPM’s project description said.

Shadow Play follows a movement in modern office architecture towards visually creative constructions. It will expand BPM’s contribution to inner-city projects with their previous impact being largely in low and mid-rise residential sites.

The tower is expected to be completed in 2018.

Fire engulfs Dubai's Marina Torch, one of world's tallest apartment buildings | Yahoo News

A fire erupted early Saturday morning at the Marina Torch in Dubai, the 79-floor skyscraper that is among the world's tallest residential buildings. According to a report in the English-language Gulf News, hundreds were evacuated from the building but high winds hindered firefighters' initial efforts to contain the blaze. It has since been extinguished, according to local witnesses.

Resident Kathryn Dickie told ABC News that the building's fire alarms started blaring about 2 a.m. She lives on the 13th foor.

"The guards were pretty frantic," she said.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries in the blaze, which was believed to have started around the 52nd floor. The building is part of the densely populated and highrise-filled marina district, popular among Dubai's ex-patriate population.

Those nearby have flooded social media with frightening and spectacular images of the fire.

This design attempted to minimize shadow & sun glare >

29-sty tower to be built on Dallas Arts District tract | @dallasnews

Developers will build a 39-story residential tower on one of the last vacant sites in the downtown Dallas Arts District.

The project at Flora and Olive streets is right next door to the Museum Tower and a block south of Klyde Warren Park.

The development will have 370 luxury apartments, 39 artists lofts and about 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space on the one-acre site between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Meyerson Symphony Center.

“It’s a dense, urban project,” said Dallas architect Graham Greene, one of the partners in the project. “We took our inspiration from what has been done in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in their downtowns.

“It helps complete the Arts District — we have storefront retail all along Flora,” Greene said. “It adds a population of 400 to 500 residents, which is huge.”

Greene is teaming up with apartment developer ZOM Holdings USA, La Reunion Texas, a local nonprofit, and METROarts Properties Ltd. to build the Atelier/Flora Lofts project on land he has owned since 1995.

The property, now a parking lot, has long been considered one of the most desirable development sites in the Arts District.

Florida-based ZOM has already built one high-rise in Dallas — the 20-story Mondrian at Cityplace — and has apartment towers to its credit in Austin, Miami and Orlando.

“Graham Greene talked to a lot of different developers about bringing someone in to co-develop this site,” said ZOM senior vice president David Kubin. “We were in a little bit of a competition based on who would come up with the best design to complement the Arts Distract.

“We anticipate we will start construction in the fourth quarter of this year,” Kubin said. “It will be a 24- to 28-month build out.”

Greene had originally planned on constructing his artists lofts project in a six-story building on Flora. A tower was planned as a future phase.

“Instead of doing it in two phases, we are doing it all at once,” Greene said. “Doing it all in one phase makes for a better-looking building.”

Designed by Boston-based architect Add Inc., the thin tower will sit on top of the six-story loft and retail building.

“They have come up with a design that is classic modern; it isn’t trying to be a superstar,” Greene said. “It fits well with the contemporary architecture in the Arts District.

“We’ve gone to go to a great deal of trouble to not reflect on our neighbors and set the building back to open the views,” he said. “It’s a wedge shape that fits very nicely with the other towers — Trammell Crow Center and Museum Tower.”

Unlike Museum Tower, which has a reflective glass skin that has been the source of a long-running controversy, the Atelier/Flora Lofts building has a masonry exterior with inset balconies. Much of the glass is recessed into the face of the building.

“It’s more than 100 feet shorter than Museum Tower,” Kubin said. “We’ve tried to minimize the impact on the neighbors from sun glare and shadow.

“We’ve oriented the building in such a way to reflect sun away from the Nasher.”

The Atelier/Flora Lofts is one of a handful of high-rise residential buildings on the way in the area around Klyde Warren Park.

Trammell Crow Co. and MetLife have announced a 32-story residential tower to be constructed as part of their Park District project at Klyde Warren Park and Pearl Street.

StreetLights Residential is building a 23-story apartment tower about three blocks away near Maple and McKinney avenues.

Atlanta-based developer Novare Group just opened a 24-story rental residential tower on Woodall Rogers Freeway just west of the park.

At least three apartment towers are also being considered in the 75-acre Victory Park project on the northwest corner of downtown.

Mid-rise workshop coming to Ontario | Construction Canada

The Canadian Wood Council’s (CWC’s) WoodWorks program is hosting mid-rise workshops at three locations throughout Ontario in early March.

On March 3, the group will hold its first workshop at the Delta London Armouries in London, Ont., followed by events March 4 at the Paramount Event Venue in Woodbridge (in the Greater Toronto Area [GTA]), and on March 5 at Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa.

“Delegates who attend any one of our three workshops will be the first to receive a copy of our new mid-rise reference guide,” said Marianne Berube, executive director of Ontario WoodWorks. “The guide goes through the new Ontario Building Code provisions related to mid-rise and combustible construction to help explain the provisions and provide a better understanding of what is acceptable in Ontario.”…

Activists Take Aim at Shadows | Manhattan, New York, NY | Local News

Olive Freud is rallying the community again, and the activist is willing to do whatever it takes – including following the lead of the late icon and preservation advocate Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – to call attention to her cause.

In 1987, Onassis teamed up with the Municipal Art Society and joined with over 800 fellow New Yorkers to demonstrate against office towers planned for Columbus Circle. To show the potential effect of the proposed 68- and 58-story buildings, the protestors, stretching from Columbus Circle to Fifth Avenue, opened hundreds of black umbrellas in a wave, symbolizing the shadows that would engulf the south end of Central Park.

“One would hope that the city would act as protector of sun and light and clean air and space and parkland,” Onassis said at the time. “Those elements are essential to combat the stress of urban life.”

While Onassis and her fellow activists succeeded in bringing attention to their cause and ultimately limiting the scope of the buildings, it’s clear that hers was only the first volley in an ongoing fight to preserve the city’s public spaces. Now Freud, who lives on the Upper West Side and serves are president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, is prepared to take up the mantle, and said she’s thinking of recreating the umbrella stunt. She’s successfully led grassroots campaigns against what she and fellow advocates single out as irresponsible – and, she says, sometimes illegal – development. Her latest victory, which she shared with fellow West Sider Cleo Dana and parks advocate Geoffrey Croft, among others, came when Fashion Week was escorted out of tiny Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center. The city agreed to settle the lawsuit brought by Freud and her allies when it became clear to a judge that the city’s agreement with the organizers of Fashion Week violated a state law protecting park space.

Now Freud is taking aim at the more nebulous but no less urgent matter of shadows, and the gargantuan buildings casting them into Central Park.

While she’s not the first person to gripe about the effects the current and planned mega-towers in midtown, Freud wants to muster robust support and get major zoning changes approved. Many critics have focused on the sky-high prices these condo units fetch – many cost tens of millions of dollars – creating pockets of mega-wealthy residents. Freud, though, seeks to stir outrage against the environmental effects of the buildings themselves.

“Developers want to build and the mayor wants more housing. There isn’t anybody who seems to be thinking about the environment,” Freud said. “When you put one of these buildings in, all these trucks have to come through. [There’s an impact on] traffic, infrastructure, sewers, the garbage system. Nobody talks about that. The developers run this city, there’s no doubt about it.”

Freud hopes that focusing on the environmental impacts – of congestion, traffic, noise, diminished sunlight – generated by the towers will draw enough support to push city officials to alter zoning regulations that allow many of these residential buildings to be built without a public review process.

“There’s a strong element in this city that doesn’t like what’s going on [with these developments],” Freud said. “I think you can catch people’s eyes and attention with the shadows.”

While the shadows may certainly affect people’s enjoyment of the park, a spokesperson for the Central Park Conservancy said that current and future shadows cast by buildings would have no negative effect on flora and fauna. On a recent frigid weekday afternoon in the park, several people said they don’t much notice particular shadows from buildings, but would still be in favor of limiting development around the park.

The full petition (see sidebar) includes eight specific demands and asks that people sign and forward it to their appropriate city councilperson – Dan Garodnick on the East Side and Helen Rosenthal on the West Side – or to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Kate Wood, president of the preservation group Landmark West and a signatory of the petition, said that many people in the city don’t realize that these super-tall towers can be built as-of-right, which is why it’s important to draw attention to the issue before construction starts.

“What we’re seeing now is an unprecedented scale of development in the city, and what some people thought was confined to midtown in terms of mega-development is beginning its creep up the Upper West Side,” Wood said.

Wood pointed to a pair of 400-foot high residential towers built on Broadway between 99th and 100th streets, in 2007. The Ariel East and West towers, as they were called by developer Extell, shocked nearby residents so much that they rallied for local zoning changes to limit the height allowance on Broadway, and got them. Activists are now hoping to stir up the same outrage and action to get results for the whole of Manhattan, before more towers are built.

“This is really a grassroots effort of citizens who want to save their city,” Freud said.

Quincy Point residents say proposed apartment building is too big - The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA

QUINCY – A group of Quincy Point residents are objecting to the size of an apartment building proposed for an unused site across from the old Quincy shipyard.

Developer David Crocini wants to erect a five-story building at 116 East Howard St. that holds 164 apartments and measures in at about 300 feet in length and 70 feet in height. The building would be three times as long and nearly twice as tall as the current building on the site, a vacant structure that once housed administrative offices for General Dynamics.

“I think it’s a good idea, but I would just like to see it scaled back tremendously,” Ann Croke, a Des Moines Road resident, said.

Quincy Point residents spoke out against the proposed size of Crocini’s apartment building Wednesday during a planning board meeting. The neighbors, along with Ward 2 City Councilor Brad Croall, who represents Quincy Point, said they want the size of the building and the number of apartments reduced due to concerns about traffic, aesthetics and the potential that a shadow would hover over abutting condominiums.

However, those who voiced concerns agreed that some type of residential development would be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood, located directly across the street from the former Fore River Shipyard.

“I don’t think anyone is in objection to the concept. What we’re trying to do is figure out a size that makes sense for the neighborhood,” Croall said.

Crocini’s original design for the apartment building called for 184 apartments and 301 parking spaces. The original blueprint was for a building that was 350 feet in length.

The developer, after hearing concerns from the city’s planning department, has since agreed to reduce the number of apartments by 20, reduce the length of the building by 50 feet and scrap their plan for an entranceway off Winter Street over traffic concerns.

After Wednesday’s planning board meeting, Crocini said there are other large residential buildings in the area, such as the Faxon Commons off Southern Artery, that are much larger in size and hold many more units than what he’s proposing.

“We think this is the right project for the site,” Crocini said.

Crocini said he’ll work with city planners and neighbors to try to address their concerns.

The city’s planning board will continue the public hearing for Crocini’s proposal at a later meeting, either in March or April. The board won’t vote on the project until the hearing has ended.

The project also needs approval from the zoning board of appeals because of its large size.

Helen Shiner, sales manager for Jack Conway Real Estate, spoke in favor of the project, saying Quincy is in dire need for more rental units. She said the current supply isn’t meeting market demand.

Cheers, Ralph

No comments:

Post a Comment