In a prior post titled “Designing Apartment Amenities for Millennials,” we referred to special challenges and the solutions we came up with in designing multifamily amenities in urban areas. Often, the problems presented required us to think more holistically, to work more collaboratively, and to always be the strongest advocate for the exterior experiential environment.
Here are a few examples:
- Cantilevered decks: In Atlanta, Emory Point Phase II and Paces Camden’s courtyards, architectural layout, pool and deck size codes, owner program and amenities created a handful of challenges for the landscape architectural team. Complicating matters, both projects’ courtyards are on structural decks, surrounded on three sides by building. We came up with a solution to cantilever the amenity deck over street sidewalks (Emory) and forest edge (Paces Camden) to deliver more space and provide a sufficiently dramatic experience.
- Lack of pool depth: At Park Central, in Nashville, Tennessee, we were initially confronted with a site plan that required multiple level decks in a tiny space to access the pool, which had to be “raised” due to clearance issues with the parking structure below. By working collaboratively with the architect, parking deck consultant, structural engineer and owner, we rearranged the parking orientation below, so that the structure worked to allow us to sink the pool flush into the deck (and maintain needed clearance) and eliminate the multiple levels that made the deck seem even smaller. Additionally, we worked with the architect to rearrange some exterior units that resulted in a dramatic floor-to-ceiling window overlooking Nashville’s scenic Centennial Park.
- Hurricane NOA’s: At Columbus Center (Coral Gables, FL), we are currently completing documents for what will be the city’s tallest residential structure. Its fifth floor rooftop amenity deck is a blend of Coral Gables tradition with a modern twist. In this environment, pavers, trellis, furniture and other amenities all had to pass muster for hurricane proofing, hence the designation “NOA” for “Notice of Acceptance.”
- Health Code inertia: Swimming pool review typically falls under local Health code review. However, pool shape, look, feel — i.e. the experience — is often shaped by features such as infinity edges, flush edge recirculation, exotic materials, underwater sunshelves, waterwalls, etc. While “best practices” cry out for uniformity, one jurisdiction will allow one item while another nearby forbids it. For example, At Emory Point Phase II, we worked with a specialized pool consultant, the owner, architect and structural engineer to get the local health department to approve a unique raised tile clad “bathtub” style spa pool. And at Haven at Avalon, we convinced Fulton County to reinterpret their codes to allow pedestal pavers of rooftop pool decks, creating a dead flat pool deck and all hidden drains.
- An Elegant Swamp: At Apollo Ascend, in Largo, Maryland, local codes required significant onsite stormwater treatment as well as stormwater detention. However, we had to work also with zoning guidelines, requiring interior amenity courtyards to provide significant stormwater detention/treatment in highly stylized courtyard amenity spaces. We accomplished this objective through a sustainable series of Zen/rain garden planters that fit the overall design motif and met the stormwater code.
What solutions can we come up with for your property?