The following is a guest post submitted by Matthew Denker.
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Welcome to the first post in what will be an ongoing series called Filling In. One of the key elements of any great city is a tightly knit urban fabric. Whether you’re in New York City, San Francisco, or our own beloved Rochester, building an appealing city scape at a human, walkable scale promotes health, wealth, and wisdom. We’ve also learned that parks next to parks next to barren windswept plazas don’t put butts in seats, as they say. With that in mind, Filling In aims to explore vacant or underutilized pieces of Rochester in an effort to rebuild or strengthen our built environment. The aerial photo above was taken in 1929, when downtown was dense and energetic. And here is a reminder of what we’re up against…
Looks like an excellent place if you’re a car. If you’re reading this though, you’re probably not. Let’s make it a better place for people.
This week we’ll look at 18-26 Exchange Blvd. Currently the site of a tiny Chinese restaurant that would fit easily into our new development and temporary day time storage for about 56 cars.
There’s so many spots downtown begging for something, it was hard to pick just one. This lot is particularly bothersome, though, because it’s surrounded by other successes. It’s the last hole on a block that has seen a serious resurgence. Since there aren’t many blocks downtown missing only one thing, this is a good place to start.
This column will generally include a massing diagram for a potential site, a rendering of a similar development elsewhere, and a short description of the site’s programming.
Let’s start by looking at a massing diagram for a residential tower with retail on the first floor.
For 24 Exchange (2-4-X for marketing purposes!), the design is for an 8 to 9 story tower on top of a 20’ single story podium. This offers an unbroken street wall on Exchange (the street shown in the massing diagram), for a good pedestrian experience. It also creates private outdoor space for each of the apartments on the second floor.
Each full L-shaped floor will have 7 apartments, all facing west or south. The east and north interior faces will be windows, but will be the hallways for resident access. The 10th floor will contain two larger apartments, and the roof of the east wing will be common outdoor space for all 58 apartments. The interior portions of the podium offer opportunities for resident amenities, such as a gym, a party room, and a library.
The whole building will be approximately 60,000 square feet. I would expect the units to be rentals, but the layout lends itself to a combination of rentals and condos if the market supported it at the time.
From an exterior perspective, this building offers an excellent opportunity for an envelope to transition from masonry to glass. This will allow the building to connect and fit in nicely with its neighbors. The interior façade should be lightly colored to reflect more light back on the interior of the block. For example finishes and size, 24X would compare to this student housing being built in Madison, WI.
Come back next week when we explore another underutilized space in our great city.
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Tags: development, downtown, downtown Rochester, Exchange Boulevard, Exchange Street, Exhange, Filling In, infill development, Matthew Denker, Rochester, Rochester NY, urban design
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 7:58 am and is filed under Reader Submitted Stories, Rochester Images, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
I love that you are doing this series! When you look at downtown, it’s hard not to get discouraged (especially when you look at the contrast between that 1929 photo and the current one). Taking on one vacant lot at a time makes it seem much less daunting.