Congratulations to all the 2018 AIA Columbus Architecture Award winners!
AIA Columbus received 54 submissions. A big thank you our sponsors, members, and guests who made it a memorable evening!
View photos from the event here.
The View on Grant is an urban, mixed-use residential project in a recently resurgent neighborhood of downtown Columbus with warehouse conversions and 2 college campuses. The project includes the adaptive reuse of an existing 5 story cast-in-place concrete and masonry structure (ca. 1902) with a 3 story, cantilevered rooftop addition and a 5-story north extension. The new use includes 86 market-rate apartments with indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, including a public coffee shop in the resident lobby and a semiautomated mechanical parking system. The rooftop addition is constructed of light gage metal framing above a structural steel transfer floor.
The design premise is a parabuilding that presents a vertical addition as a parasite to the host structure. The bright metal cladding of the addition provides contrast to the dark painted brick warehouse structure and its 12’ cantilever and shaped roof edge create a profile that takes advantage of the long views of the site from various vantage points around the city. Excised portions of the addition that provide common and private terraces are contrasted in bright orange as are the large steel plate shrouds at the building entry and café.
The café occupies what once was the building’s loading dock and reintroduces the building’s industrial heritage with a steel beam canopy and a repurposed iron gantry system at the ceiling and stair railings.
The project was technically challenging in many ways, requiring various types of zoning easements including a public right-of-way encroachment for the entry fins, sidewalk café, awnings, custom lighting, and 10’ cantilever of levels 6-8, and no-build easements over the roof of the adjacent structure that allowed the full restoration of west-facing windows. Exterior fire shutters were also required to protect openings facing west on levels 2-3 of the existing building. The existing freight elevator shafts were utilized to their fullest potential for a new elevator, new electrical service and refuse chute, and the bathrooms of the northwestern units in the north addition. Most challenging was the transfer of the existing south stair in the southwest corner to an internal stair that allowed southwest corner on levels 6-8 to be used as living space and outdoor patios. This required a transfer through and behind the original monolithic concrete freight elevator shaft, ultimately eliminating a column under the cantilevered section of the building.
“Another successful project that ties the old and the new. Such a strong addition to the downtown skyline we especially appreciated the clean cut addition to the existing warehouse. The thoughtful hospitality spaces were also noted. Signs of active life throughout upstairs found nicely courtyard color to separate old and new.”
Project photos (credit Feinknopf Photograpy)
To provide convenient access to their fleet of corporate aircraft, The Connor Group, a national real estate investment firm, chose the grounds of the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport for the home of their new headquarters. Located at the busy intersection of Austin Boulevard and Springboro Pike, the building is ideally situated in a high growth area of suburban Dayton, Ohio and serves as an iconic statement for the firm’s brand. The impetus behind the concept for the building was the owner’s love of adventure, aviation and the spirit of collaboration. The end result is a sleek, sculptured celebration of 21st Century materiality. The building’s angled and sloped envelope changes as one travels around the building. The play of sunlight on the building’s aluminum skin is reflected both inward and outward to allow an artful expression of the building’s textured surface. The hangar was designed to hold a three-car garage, six airplanes, INDY CAR and Mastercraft M23 Boat. Unique features include an ACM panel system similar to the Connor Group Headquarters and polycarbonate wall / daylighting system.
The Connor Group Aircraft Hangar was completed in 2018 with an approximate square footage of 17,000 SF. Moody Nolan provided Programming, Architecture, Construction Administration, and graphics. The new building includes more than 17,000 square feet of hangar, business and storage space, according to Montgomery County records. Its height of more than 40 feet was made possible after the township last year increased the cap for the tallest structures at the airport (excluding control towers) to 50 feet. Inside are 13 rooms, including the 14,597-square-foot hangar, county records show. The rest of the space is occupied by a 355 square foot lobby, two offices, a pantry, a vestibule, a garage, and two storage areas, among other areas, records show.
“The dramatic profile and incredibly pristine design really pushed this one over the top. It’s a luxurious program, to be sure, but the architectural drama was about a strong simple approach. Formal clarity, restraint, crispness, quality of light beyond the norms of hangar vernacular careful details, difficult to achieve.”
Project photos (credit Feinknopf Photography)
Wilson Road Trailhead | WSA Studio
The new Wilson Road Park serves as a major trailhead for the Camp Chase Rail Trail and is a point of connectivity for bikers between Cleveland and Cincinnati. The design of the park is based upon research of the historic use of the site, and takes advantage of a railroad spur to organize sports fields and community shelters. The shelter design is inspired by its adjacency to U.S. Route 40, where totum signs proliferate the landscape, beckoning travelers to take rest. Similarly, the shelter at Wilson Road incorporates a form which references these signs to attract bikers to take respite at the park. The project team worked closely with not only the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, but also local business groups, the community of cycling enthusiasts, and the West Side Columbus community as a whole. The team facilitated community and stakeholder meetings and the design is informed by this process. The 47-acre park includes an open-air shelter with picnic tables, bike racks, and a bike-repair station.
“We loved the supersized word strategy for this very simple structure. The project showed a clear eyed combination of architectural simplicity and artful community engagement. The jury liked the proportions and materiality liked the lightness of sign structure.”
Project photos (credit A.J. Brown)
Columbus Metropolitan Library Northern Lights Branch | DesignGroup
The core mission of this branch was to provide its community, with its large and diverse immigrant population, inspiring spaces for community programming and education. In service of this, the building is organized around a “Main Street” space containing welcome and customer service functions, public lounge spaces, flexible study areas and children’s programming zones. This space contains “perches” for communal conversation among parents while younger family members participate in children’s programming or the library’s very popular Homework Help services. The Homework Help space, already one of the busiest of its kind in the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) system, has seen an 84 percent increase in visits since the new facility opened. The building’s meeting rooms were provided with folding partitions that allow them to be opened into one larger community gathering space. This space accommodates larger educational programs as well, such as free English classes for speakers of other languages – the classes held here are the largest of their kind in the county.
The design team was challenged, by a very lean budget, to make use of an existing structure while doubling the size of the library facility. This existing structure sat at a 45 degrees bias to the orthogonal intersection of Cleveland Avenue, challenging the design team to come up with a language for the exterior that was cohesively integrated with the unusual shape of the existing building and allowed for simple site circulation while inculcating a vibrant new identity for the branch. The language of the existing 1992 exterior was a complex and assertive interpretation of Georgian architecture defined by a cruciform gable-ended roof structure, patterned red brick, and dark glass within a dense perimeter colonnade. The facility may have reflected the community at one time, but no longer felt open and approachable to, or inspired a spirit of optimism among, the New-Americans who now call Maize-Morse home.
The solution was to remove the existing gables entirely from the original building and to completely reconfigure the existing interior in service of CML’s 2020 Vision Plan program. The clerestoried “Main Street” becomes both a daylight-filled programmatic connector and as a transparent hyphen, transitioning between the new addition and the transformed existing structure. The material palette fosters a dynamic contrast between the two halves of the building, with the existing patterned brick simplified with a bright white masonry coating and the new addition clad in a dramatic dark brick. While the use of brick ties the material palette together, the specific brick choices further the contrast between new and existing: existing brick is a Jumbo height used in multiple orientations and bonds, while new brick is an Ambassador size (modular height, double modular width) utilizing a simple, linear stacked bond.
The desired impression of the final design is of a very quiet building nested into the site landscape, deceptively small from the exterior, and expanding into a large, light-filled interior volume as you cross the threshold of the building entrances.
“This ingenious reconfiguring of an existing library opened up a much bigger space to the community and allowed this public space to become part of the street scape rather than separating from it. It was a very smart way to deal with a complex problem and is a good model for future addition/renovations. Through the use of color, clerestory and strong interior moves a moribund library was reborn as a much bigger and more exciting place for engagement.”
Project photos (credit Feinknopf Photography and Matt Carbone)
The MicroTower Parking Booth is part of Bold Booths, a public art program in downtown Columbus that reimagines the parking booth, an overlooked occupant of the most banal of urban landscapes, as a disruptive artifact, both art and architecture, curious and exuberant. The MicroTower re-creates the parking booth as a new tower on the city’s skyline, realized at a scale both tall and small, its proportions and minimal, monolithic nature mimicking the office towers that surround it. The ambiguity of its perceived scale produces a surreal presence. Nevertheless, at 40’ in height, it assumes the role of both urban landmark and sign for the business of urban parking.
The MicroTower’s interior is utilized as a simple key depository and sometime hangout space for parking valets, but its role goes beyond parking. Due to its location as a site frequented daily by commuters, the booth also serves as an urban concierge, providing highly-accessible urban services to address a range of needs involving health and safety, nutritional eating, convenient shopping, alternative transportation and technology & entertainment. The urban concierge operates as a pop-up retail space with the ability to provide a range of interchangeable services, temporal in nature and responsive to changing opportunities and needs.
The steel shipping container, the staple of the shipping industry, is in overabundance in the US due to our trade deficits in a global economy. Costing more to ship back to foreign countries than to manufacture new ones abroad, they have accumulated in shipyards and trucking depots by the millions. Inexpensive and readily available, these containers (also known as Intermodal Steel Building Units, or ISBU’s) offer an ideal solution to the construction of the MicroTower.
The containers’ dimensions, roughly 8 feet by 9 feet by 40 feet, easily accommodate the space required by a parking attendant and the ancillary space for the additional program. The steel container was installed on-site vertically with an insulating polycarbonate cladding and glass storefront entry replacing the plywood floor, now the south exterior wall. An overhead door was installed on the north façade for access to the urban services.
“This project incited all sorts of comments and theories, once we realized the creative genius of using an existing shipping container, putting on its end and reinhabiting as a form of public art we were all entranced. Despite its incredibly low budget this project has a great pop art potential for connecting some of the less inhabited parts of town that are inhabited by cars.”
Project photos (credit Feinknopf Photography)
Merit Award (Unbuilt)
Neighborhood Entrepreneurial Housing Initiative | JBAD
The Entrepreneurial Housing Initiative project was initiated by JBAD as a design and real estate development proposal in response to the endemic problems of absentee landlords and substandard rental housing in economically challenged urban neighborhoods by providing opportunities for neighborhood residents to own and lease apartments. Resident owners benefit by acquiring property management skills and experience, rental income and equity in their property. Neighborhoods benefit from the expansion of their owner-occupied housing base and the long term, vested interests in their communities.
With the specific goal of implementation through a prototype project, JBAD formed a non-profit organization, Betterhood, Inc. in order to pursue funding and assemble the appropriate development, financing, property management and education partners for the project. A prototype site has been identified in the King-Lincoln neighborhood of Columbus, project partners have been interviewed and project financing structures have been negotiated. The design itself has received a provisional patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The dual and complimentary goals of this initiative are 1) to improve economically challenged urban neighborhoods through an infill multi-family residential project with a mixed ownership structure and 2) to improve the lives of the residents through a social program for entrepreneur landlords.
Ownership Structure and Building Configuration
The design solution involves a series of urban row houses with private rear yards and garages, each configured to accommodate a first and second floor owner’s unit and second and third floor rental units. This row house/apartment configuration is intended to provide a “landlord residence” with income-producing apartments located directly above. The owners enter their units at street level, front and rear, while access to the second and third floor apartments is provided independently through separate, connecting corridors instead of the historically typical disruptive internal stair or the “after-market” external stair. So the ownershipis vertical while the access is horizontal.
These apartment corridors also connect to the common area circulation of an adjacent 3-story apartment building with whom they share common amenities (entry lobby and mail center, community room and roof deck, green space).
This design is intended to operate in concert with a social entrepreneurship program to teach qualified neighborhood residents the fundamentals of apartment renting (marketing, lease writing, bookkeeping, maintenance, insurance, taxes, dispute resolution, etc.). In an incremental process, the entrepreneur landlords would be expected to achieve a level of proficiency in the management of their own property with the goal of investing their newly acquired expertise and financial equity in the ownership and management board of the adjacent apartment building, eventually assuming full ownership and management of that property. Financial assistance targeted for the purchase of the townhouse/apartment property would be repaid with a portion of the apprentices’ rental income. The ultimate goal, however, is the expanded investment by these new landlords community-wide by purchasing, improving and leasing derelict properties and improving their own neighborhoods, one property at a time.
The site depicted in this project is an actual site although the concept is intended to be widely applicable to typical urban settings. The townhouse component of this project, consisting of the owner-occupied residences and two separate apartments above, responds to the typical rhythm and scale of a dense, urban residential street with 20 foot frontages and two and three story structures. The plan accepts the conventional urban rowhouse configuration identified by dwellings fronting the street with private rear yards and garages facing rear alley. The apartment block also follows urban convention as a modest three story structure positioned at the street with common green space to the rear.
The townhouses and apartment block feature a consistent two-story brick base. The third floor apartment structures above the townhouses alternate between forward and rear positions using the connecting corridor as a datum and project slightly from the building face below. These conditions, along with the consistent use of standing seam metal cladding at the walls and roof, produce an iconic image of the detached, autonomous single family house in the context of a dense and diverse urban infill development.
“A very interesting way of using the traditional shape it is surprisingly not monotomous, it has a lovely rythym. It is very thoughtful with clusters that are ingenious.”