Overcoming Design and Build Issues
December 17, 2017
Rarely is it that there’s not some challenge confronting architects and designers for the built environment. It might be a tricky client with a list of competing demands. The budget may be shifting – and less than ideal to accomplish all the necessary goals. And site, of course, is always an issue, from how much of it you have to what topographic stressors exist.
Take, for example, narrow sites like that facing the Laureate Park development in Lake Nona, Florida. Teensy might be an apt adjective: BSB Design had just 35 feet in width in which to create an attractive, livable home plan for the neighborhood. Tucking outdoor space at the back of the home might have created a situation in which usability became an issue. Instead, BSB Design turned to an age-old solution – a courtyard placed midway between two building forms.
There’s very little that attracts more than water: It’s recreation, it’s calming, it’s expansive. It’s also difficult to design around, particularly when the site is an infill. And residents nearby water often become protective of the view, especially when they fear that access might turn into an issue. The coastal residents of Dunedin, Florida, had all of those fears over a planned structure, now named Victoria Place. What BSB Design did was draw them in with a streetside conviviality that has created a welcome way to build community.
History has a way of pulling on our emotions, especially in the built environment: Residents may believe that old is best, and new may disrupt the fabric of a neighborhood. In East Sacramento, BSB Design listened to those fears on a site known as The Creamery at Alkali Flat. Their modern-day solution offers a respectful nod to the past, with varying colors and textures that help tie those new homes into the historic Victorians surrounding them.
A narrow site, an almost untenable slope, and an exacting client: It sounds like a recipe for a difficult design process. But in fact, this Contemporary Custom Lake Home in Wisconsin used all those tests as proving ground for what would become a stunning approach to lakeside life, a home with an expansiveness and orientation to an enrapturing view that belies the architect’s constrictions.
Any infill project must be respectful of the spaces and places around it – otherwise it is destined to fail. The multifamily Flats at Austin Landing found itself in possession of a narrowly bound space – near an interstate quadrant – and a community worried that the development’s size would create a shadow-prone view for surrounding buildings. BSB Design soothed those worries – and smoothed out the design and development process – by performing shadow studies to assure that the building’s size wouldn’t adversely affect structures already there.