On Friday, we had a critique of our schemes for the Silver's building by several local architects and city officials familiar with the building. I received lots of helpful feedback and got a good direction of how to proceed with design development.
I first spoke with Sidney Gray, the owner of the building, and his wife. They both seemed to like what I did with the building, and appreciated the thought I put into the design. The only piece of criticism I got from Sidney was to think further about how the tenants will access the storage I have placed on the third floor.
I next spoke with Lee Mortensen, the Interim Director of Downtown Greensboro. She thought that my circulation and space planning was well thought out and really liked my idea of repainting the Silver's mural and placing historic art prints into the circulation spaces. She told me to think about adding communal space for the apartment tenants, as many young professionals seek the downtown area for the social aspects. She believed the communal space would be a draw for my target users. I plan on revisiting the apartment circulation spaces for ways to add in a communal space.
Jo Leimenstoll, my studio professor, then gave me feedback on my deliverables. Jo suggested that I think of adding a balcony to the back corner apartment on the second floor to give much a much needed connection to the outdoors as well as to brighten up the alley. I believe a balcony would be a great solution to make an apartment with few windows more appealing to a tenant. Jo also suggested that I use a garage door for getting bikes in and out of the bike shop to the alley as a hands-free solution for transporting bikes. This would definitely be more effective and hassle-free than a swinging door. Jo also told me to think of an original title for my project besides "Reimagining Silver's" in order to convey my concept.
I then talked to Jerry Leimenstoll, a local architect. Jerry told me to look to my concept Haiku for all of the answers for redesigning this building. Jerry told me that by the end of the project, I will be able to look at my Haiku to know where to put every single light switch. I had never thought that a conceptual poem could give that much direction for designing a space, but he really inspired me to look to my concept for all of the answers. I am going to think about how hybridity and my haiku can instruct me on how to make every decision. I am hoping to be a better conceptual designer by the end of this project.
Hugh Sutphin, a local architect, encouraged me to think about the building in 3 dimensions, with time being the 4th dimension. He implored that this building is a living organism, and to think about what people will really be doing in and around the building and how they will really use it. Hugh told me to really take advantage of having 3 sides to the building. I think I will try to make more connections to outside and downtown in response to this feedback, in order to make it appeal to more to people who want to be in downtown Greensboro.
Lauren Postlmayer, an Iarc grad student, recommended that I give both of the commercial spaces access to the lunch counter that I currently have as part of the pharmacy. I thought this was a good idea to give the lunch counter more business and allow people who have been riding bikes all day access to a good lunch. Lauren also suggested that I switch the position of the circulation and bike shop office in order to give a more straight path outside.
Anna Hambly looked at my concept and my project and asked me why I really wanted to keep the old charm of the building. I thought that this was a good thought-provoking question to ask. While I couldn't pinpoint the exact reason at the time, thinking about the answer to this question will make me more passionate about my concept and this project.
Katie Moyer, like Jo, also suggested that I leave the garage door to access the outside from the bike shop. I will investigate if I can leave the current garage door opening and if/how a new door should fit inside.
Matt Weikert suggested that I continue more of the glass facade down the Washington Street side of the building to take advantage of the outside wall and let in more light. This may be a good solution to connecting the building to the outside, but I worry about compromising too much of the existing history of the building. Matt also told me to do more research on the building code and see exactly how long my stairs need to be. This may free up more room in my circulation spaces. Like Sidney, he told me to think about stairs that light to the roof to access storage. Matt also gave the idea of switching the mechanical space in the basement with the storage that is on the roof. He thought that the shared storage may get too hot on the roof in the summer, and that putting it in the basement may be easier for the tenants. This was an interesting idea that I will consider, but I would have to rethink the circulation to allow apartment tenants access to the basement.
Overall, I was very happy with the feedback that I received, and I am excited to move forward on the project with so many fresh perspectives.