We believe in urban density. We think that our cities should condense so that our nature might sprawl. The L.I.A is a chance to, as it’s said, put our money where our mouth is. On a relatively small site with an existing office building and parking lot, we’ve planned a 5 story structure for 19 units. The twist? DiLoreto Architecture is a tenant in the existing office building. Yet we ourselves brought this notion of density to the owner and it is a chance for us to prove its tenability.
So with self-interested hearts we set our minds to the ideas of minimal impact and compatibility; our primary design exigency is how to erect this new building without killing the old. So our first notion is to build a new structure so in tune with the existing that one might imagine they were once one unit until some gentle quake made a fissure. This new fissure represents a transformation in light and relationships for the old building and we want to take that transformation and not just make it acceptable, but make it additive.
So we brainstormed top lit slits that occur in our world; we thought of the streets of Europe and the alleys of New York City. But as north-westerners we found our inspiration in gorges. And as Portlanders, we thought of Oneonta. We mirror the existing window screen to create a canyon. We use the same reflective materials and grating to mimic the light play that happens through the trees in a gorge. We imagine window boxes to drape greenery directly referencing the nature. And at the ending L of our gorge we design a hike’s reward in the form of a water feature. Our waterfall takes a third of the roof water during rainy days and runs it down a wall screen to a pool that eventually funnels to the storm water system.
We like our little 2-story office building and we take seriously the impact that 5 stories directly adjacent will have on its light and relationships (we also raise the new structure to retain sight-lines to the street and environs). And moreover we want to demonstrate that building densely does not have to be a compromise but rather can be an inclusive endeavor that makes the most out of our footprints and adds texture to our lives.
Withheld at owners request