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thedude

This is a nice project, but man do any local landscape architects ever use pavers? The massive amount of concrete used in the plaza looks ok new, but within a few weeks it will start to crack. Concrete does not age well when used as a surface. Throw some cobblestone down and with minimal care it will look great 100 years from.

brian wethington

thedude; Well, as one of the designers of the plaza, I'll address your concerns. Pavers cost more than concrete. A lot. Cobblestone costs considerably more than concrete. The plaza was funded by the owners and partially from a stormwater grant from BES (last I heard) and was not required to be built. It could have remained a simple access way to the greenway trail, but the client worked with BES to find the money to do something a bit more and provide an attractive greenway access plaza that accomplishes multiple functions. Because Clay Street was not abandoned (it is a prescriptive easement that can be withdrawn), cost of materials that could be removed at some point was an important consideration as well as the fact it is a fire lane with specific loading requirements (ie much thicker pavers and base than a typical pedestrian plaza would allow for).

In an effort to budget for better material on the surface, Group Mac and GreenWorks worked hard to incorporate existing materials on the site. This included grinding the existing asphalt as sub base for parking and the plaza, and utilizing the building walls that were removed for the additional windows as seat walls, stormwater planters, and art pieces (kudos to Linda Wysong). Many materials, including pavers, cobbles, wood, stone, etc. were considered during the design process but the reality of the budget led us back to the use of concrete.

Oh, and yes, we do use pavers and cobblestone when appropriate and the budget and the design allow for them.

thedude

Thanks Brian! Would you know why cobblestone is more expensive? Is it the labor or materials? I know that the city has piles of cobblestone saved from the pearl road work they did a few years back. Its a shame that this great stones have to sit in a pile out of site when it could be incorporated in great projects like this.

brian wethington

It's really all in labor. Also, it can only be used in very specific situations as the city is very protective of that cobble because of the limited supply. Most of the cobble still has 100 year old mortar that has to be chipped off and the cobble prepped to be reused.

Jeff Reaves

Brian, great to see you comment on the design of the RiverEast Center building.
As owner, architect and occupant of the building, the evolution of the design has been fun, hair pulling and rewarding.

The use of larger window sections vs. smaller pane windows was based on the following:

First reason was the acoustical issues related to road noise from the Hawthorne Bridge on the north and the elevated I-5 roadway to the west and the rail service to the east. This caused us to replace the glazing with triple pane glass in many façade locations and the need to replace the existing window frames with a thermal break window system.

Second reason was we felt if we could not reuse the existing window systems than we should develop a window system design that did not confuse old from new.

In regard to cobble stone - I visually like the idea but we bike riders really don't like riding across such an uneven surface. I envision this plaza will become a major bike and pedestrian connect from Ladds Addition to the waterfront.

ws

It seems as though there are modern thermopane window systems with the mullion between the panes of glass. Aparrently, you can even get them with internal roll down shades. I have to say I know next to nothing about these, but I did just recently see an ad for them in some glossy homebuilding quarterly that I can't remember the name of.

Convolooted

ws,

I encourage you to see an example of an interior mullion or munton window in person...they are less than desirable in my opinion, nothing more than applied decoration.

ws

Convolooted, ...I'd probably agree. I was just thinking that from a distance, in some situations, it might help to partially sustain the multi-pane effect Brian Libby referred to. Maybe.

ben

that's exactly the problem with bad "preservation".

let modern be modern, let old be old. we build differently now, why does it have to look like we don't?

Brian Libby

I should clarify: I'm not arguing that Group Mackenzie and their contractor(s) should have chosen the multiple-pane windows to achieve more of a historic look. I just think that from an aesthetic and purely visual standpoint, I like the single-pane look better. It livens up an otherwise pretty plain facade with more energy, I think. However, this is still an excellent project, and I think Jeff Reaves's explanation makes perfect sense (thanks Jeff). Sometimes function wins out, and sometimes form, ya know? And this aesthetic preference is mine alone - maybe others prefer the single-pane window look anyway.

ws

Well, that's my thinking. A certain form might be chosen purely for the preferred or beneficial effect it creates rather than out of a reflexive obligation to any particular architectural period or style.

Convolooted

Brian,

I agree and I'm a big fan of the industrial sash look with several divided lites...especially with a middle section that pivots out or in.

zilfondel

I personally feel that the glazing system chosen for the renovation fits extremely well... even though I too personally like the classic multi-paned industrial windows. See that building on SE Division street, the brick one right by the train tracks for an excellent example.

Apparently there is another way to preserve the single-paned windows: use it as an exterior layer, and place a double-paned window inside of it, so it acts more like a triple-paned system. Forgot where I read about the application of that, unfortunately...

aunt mary helen

i can only look and see a remarkable improvement which will be enjoyed by tenants and passerbys for many years to come.Congratulations. Mary Laidman

J.J. Garcia

building looks fantastic, but obviously a poor design decision was not including enough bathroom facilities inside. Too bad.

Mike Jeffrey

I have visited this building several times since the renovation..it looks very nice. Also, I noticed that every time I am in this building, it is very clean. Kudos to the cleaning staff, anyone know who they are?

urban platter

I worked in this building for 1.5 years and despite the LEED Gold accretion hoo ra ra, there are still kinks to work out with the heating and cooling. It was not uncommon to see people walking around with blankets wrapped around them because of the frigid temperatures. Also the light sensors didn't always work, the idea is that if it is bright enough outside that the lights turn off saving electricity. We were often left to work in a dimly lit office space. I guess this is the trial and error for innovative green technologies. I say this with out complaint and more than happy to be a guinea pig, but to bring everyone down to earth. There are still kinks to work out with LEED, it's not the almighty saving grace of the build environment.

urban platter

I worked in this building for 1.5 years and despite the LEED Gold accretion hoo ra ra, there are still kinks to work out with the heating and cooling. It was not uncommon to see people walking around with blankets wrapped around them because of the frigid temperatures. Also the light sensors didn't always work, the idea is that if it is bright enough outside that the lights turn off saving electricity. We were often left to work in a dimly lit office space. I guess this is the trial and error for innovative green technologies. I say this with out complaint and more than happy to be a guinea pig, but to bring everyone down to earth. There are still kinks to work out with LEED, it's not the almighty saving grace of the build environment.

urban platter

I worked in this building for 1.5 years and despite the LEED Gold accretion hoo ra ra, there are still kinks to work out with the heating and cooling. It was not uncommon to see people walking around with blankets wrapped around them because of the frigid temperatures. Also the light sensors didn't always work, the idea is that if it is bright enough outside that the lights turn off saving electricity. We were often left to work in a dimly lit office space. I guess this is the trial and error for innovative green technologies. I say this with out complaint and more than happy to be a guinea pig, but to bring everyone down to earth. There are still kinks to work out with LEED, it's not the almighty saving grace of the build environment.

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