Rise of the Mid-Rise

More than 20% of the 62 units in Solea are designed as live/work residences for local micro-businesses in this emerging Washington, D.C., neighborhood. The LEED-ND pilot project includes ground floor commercial space, as well as upper-floor units outfitted with double entrances and movable walls to create office space. The U-shaped building is a concrete podium topped by stick-built construction and clad in corrugated metal and stucco, with two levels of underground parking. And it’s affordable: 35% of the units are reserved for households making less than 50 percent of the area median income. Project: Solea Condominiums, Washington, D.C. Architect: Sorg Architects Builder: Hamel Builders Developer: Jair Lynch Development Partners

Originally this site held two disparate elements: a historic but crumbling brick warehouse and a 40-foot-deep hole leftover from a previous commercial project that fell through. The resolution, which combines adaptive reuse and new construction to create 76 attached residences (a blend of two-story townhomes and flats) is a perfect marriage of old and new. “Rather than doing something overly referential or historicist with the new building, we designed it for contrast,” explains architect Scott Lee. Offsetting the warehouse’s old brick, the new structure uses a modern vocabulary of horizontal wood siding, stucco, steel, and glass. Project: Union, San Francisco Architect: SB Architects Builder: Taisei Construction Corp. Developer: Palisades Development Group

Designed as workforce housing for families earning 20% to 50% of the area median income, Trestle Glen is a transit-oriented apartment community adjacent to the Colma BART station. The GreenPoint rated property integrates a number of green features, including solar panels to preheat domestic hot water, bio-swales that naturally filter rainwater, and a community recycling program. During construction more than 80% of waste generated was recycled and diverted from landfills. The 2.7-acre parcel was once a mobile home park housing 42 individuals and families; now the same site serves 119 families, and a second phase of development has 32 entry-level townhomes in the queue. Project: Trestle Glen, Oakland, Calif. Architect: KTGY Group Builder: BRIDGE Housing

Rising up from two vacant city lots, these twin mixed-use buildings form a portal to Chicago’s revitalized Wicker Park neighborhood. Ground floor retail space in each building steps back along Division Street (a busy retail corridor) while the residential units up top are outfitted with cantilevered decks that overlook a quieter side street and green space. The mostly glass facades are interspersed with cedar “fins” that add warmth, conceal the structural steel frame bracing, and carry over into the interiors of the residential units. Project: Division Street, Chicago Architect: Studio Dwell Architects Builder/Developer: Ranquist Development

Described by the architect as a “landscraper,” this assemblage of 170 affordable and 54 market rate apartments and townhomes occupies an entire block in a semi-industrial part of San Francisco. It’s a massive structure, but it doesn’t feel foreboding, thanks to alternating materials and roof lines that break its facades into human-scale vignettes. The building’s street edges are lined with active mixed uses, and the site includes an art-lined green space. It’s also flanked by a path for walkers and cyclists that connects to Mission Bay and downtown. Project: 888 Seventh St., San Francisco Architect: David Baker Partners Contractor: Roberts-Obayashi Corp.

This 135-unit building is the crown jewel in a larger plan to bring urban living to a rapidly growing county outside Dayton, Ohio. The building blends residential and ground floor retail space in a design that incorporates a concrete podium topped with wood-frame construction. Ever mindful of the need for flexibility, the architects inserted internal mechanical shafts through the residential units to allow for future restaurant locations within the retail spaces. Project: Gilbert Court at The Greene, Beavercreek, Ohio Design Architect: Torti Gallas and Partners Architect of Record: Meacham and Apel Architects Builder: Messer Construction Co. Developer: Steiner and Associates

Located in the heart of Pasadena’s central business district, this distinctive building (which includes 55 loft-style condo units over ground-floor retail) sits just across the street from a major light-rail stop. That position allowed the developer to reduce the parking requirements and add a bit more density and building height. Variations in scale, massing, window placement, and color give the structure a lively presence that befits its urban neighborhood. Project: The Dalton, Pasadena, Calif. Builder: American General Constructors Developer: Champion Development Group Architect: Studio One Eleven at Perkowitz Ruth Architects

Commissioned by the Salem United Methodist City Society, Salem House is a $9.5 million, 60,000-square-foot project in central Harlem that combines affordable housing with commercial and community facilities. The building spans 130 feet in width, but doesn’t feel monolithic thanks to a segmented facade treatment that evokes the rhythm and proportions of the narrow building structures that line an adjacent boulevard. To stay on budget, the architects specified a window wall system that mimics a curtain wall, as well as a primary facade that alternates between red brick panels with punched window openings, and aluminum and glass window wall panels. Project: Salem House, New York, N.Y. Architect: RKT&B Architects Developer: Phipps Houses Group Builders: HLS Builders Corporation and Selnick/Harwood Consulting

Santa Barbara isn’t a place one expects to find affordable housing—which is partly what makes this clever little gem so spectacular. The 12 pretty apartments fit right into a historic district known for its authentic Spanish style architecture. In fact, they make it better. Transforming a blank wall between a parking garage and commercial building into an active streetscape, the project caters to low-income residents with units ranging from 485 to 602 square feet. The building enjoys private balconies overlooking a public plaza and library. Project: Casas las Granadas, Santa Barbara, Calif. Architect: Peikert Group Architects Builder/Developer: People’s Self Help Housing

Public spaces are the organizing framework for this 4.78-acre village, which layers upscale townhomes, flats, live/work units, and retail in a neighborly setting that was formerly occupied by a hotel. The approach, which some might classify as “urban light,” accommodates 96 residential units, but maintains a comfortable scale with intertwining pathways lined with rock gardens and native plantings at eye level. Certified by Scottsdale’s green building program for multifamily dwellings, Safari Drive makes judicious use of deep overhangs, thermal mass construction, tight building envelopes, a neighborhood-wide hydronic loop heating and cooling system, and naturally weathering materials such as oxidized Cor-Ten steel and concrete block. Project: Safari Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz. Architect: The Miller|Hull Partnership Builder: Okland Construction Developers: Vanguard City Homes and The Wolff Co. Landscape architect: JJR Floor

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