Our commercial development proposal for Sachs Properties’ Parcel 312 consists of several distinct elements: a four-story office building, an eight-story office building, a 3 level parking garage, and a central common unifying green space.
The four-story building is positioned to the southern end of the site, while the eight story building is positioned toward the center of the site to minimize its exposure to surrounding areas. The two buildings are then organized for a strong common relationship to each other and basic pedestrian circulation by the establishment of a unifying central green space. It is the heart of the development and establishes a sense of place and community for the inhabitants of the site. This central space has historical precedents in Roman forums, the Lawn at Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, and countless small American town squares. The space can serve as an outdoor room for public art, organized social activities, or simple lunchtime retreats. Strong pedestrian connections are maintained not only through the common green space to each of the buildings, but out to surrounding areas with generous sidewalk connections to the Parkway and small scale commercial development across the street.
The buildings derive their image from the refined use of a limited palette of simple, elegant materials. Building materials are chosen for their lightness, transparency, and openness for an appropriate sense of scale in their community. The building façades are composed primarily of glass in an intensely horizontal system of alternating bands of clear, striped, and solid white glass from floor to ceiling at each level. The clear glass has a low-E coating for energy conservation to reduce solar heat gain. The striped panels of glass are made with a very delicate ceramic frit coating on the back of the glass to give a “screen-like” quality. The floor levels will have a clear glass panel with a solid white panel set several inches behind to create a “shadow-box” effect. The horizontal mullion system that supports the glass will have extended “blade-like” profiles to partially shield the glass on the south façade from mid-day sun angles and reinforce the horizontal image of the buildings. The buildings will appear to have a very delicate and abstract screen-like quality with patterns of shade and shadow that will change over the course of the day. The clear glass will also lend the buildings a more inviting image of transparency and openness, in lieu of the more anonymous and imposing character of more solid materials of reflective glass.
Each building is crowned by a unique drum-shaped “shield” on the roof designed to capture and enclose the potentially unorganized and unsightly elements such as mechanical equipment, stairs, and satellite dishes.