Searching for a new home for their congregation, my client sent me the address of a building in Richardson. Built in 1976, the building hasn't been touched in over 40 years, which can be good and bad. Built as a martial arts studio, the layout is simple and functional while the woodwork throughout is impressive, the kind rarely seen in similar-type buildings today.
Here's a peek at one of the design ideas we are working on for the exterior. It's a balancing act to present practical solutions that meet the client's goals: sanctuary space that can grow with their congregation, updated building systems, and an updated, modern exterior. And did I mention creating a welcoming and inspiring space to worship? I'm to excited to see how this develops!
We're excited to see our latest healthcare project break ground out west. Construction started in July on this 5,000 square foot medical center. Located in central El Paso, the medical office is designed to accommodate a family medical practice with additional administrative office space. Construction is expected to last twelve months. See more of the design here.
Not long ago, a client approached me about developing a commercial building on a lot in Frisco. It had some tricky zoning which required a manner of density and building systems that my client ultimately did not have the budget for. Hence, the project never went forward. Too bad really, small live/work buildings have emerged as a valuable asset to the urban core, reshaping the way we perceive urban living and working.
These versatile structures blend residential and commercial spaces within a compact footprint, offering a range of benefits to both occupants and the surrounding community. Small live/work buildings contribute to the vibrancy, efficiency, and sustainability of the urban core, fostering a thriving ecosystem of creativity, entrepreneurship, and community engagement.
PROMOTING ECONOMIC VITALITY:
Small live/work buildings play a pivotal role in driving economic vitality within the urban core. By integrating residential and commercial spaces, they provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, artists, and small business owners to live and work under one roof. This co-location eliminates the need for a separate office or studio, reducing costs and enhancing productivity. The close proximity of living and working spaces fosters a stronger work-life balance, enabling individuals to pursue their passions while minimizing commuting time and expenses.
FOSTERING CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION:
The compact nature of small live/work buildings creates an environment that promotes collaboration, interaction, and the exchange of ideas. The presence of diverse professionals, such as artists, designers, and tech entrepreneurs, within a shared space cultivates a rich and dynamic ecosystem of creativity and innovation. Informal networking, impromptu collaborations, and interdisciplinary problem-solving thrive in such environments, often leading to the birth of novel ideas and projects. This creative energy spills over into the broader urban core, contributing to a vibrant and culturally rich community.
ENHANCING URBAN DENSITY & SUSTAINABILITY:
Small live/work buildings offer a sustainable solution to urban density challenges by efficiently utilizing limited space within the urban core. These buildings maximize land use by vertically integrating residential and commercial functions, minimizing the need for sprawling developments. By concentrating living and working spaces in close proximity, small live/work buildings reduce the carbon footprint associated with commuting, as residents can walk or use alternative modes of transportation to reach their workplaces. This compact and sustainable living model contributes to the overall environmental resilience and resource efficiency of the urban core.
REVITALIZING NEIGHBORHOODS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT:
Small live/work buildings have the potential to revitalize underutilized or neglected areas within the urban core. By attracting creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists, these buildings inject vitality, diversity, and economic activity into previously overlooked neighborhoods. As residents actively engage with the local community, they contribute to the development of local businesses, cultural initiatives, and social connections. The result is a sense of place, identity, and community pride, transforming the urban core into a thriving, inclusive, and livable neighborhood.
Small live/work buildings have emerged as a valuable asset to the urban core, enhancing its vitality, creativity, sustainability, and community engagement. By seamlessly integrating living and working spaces, these buildings promote economic activity, nurture innovation, optimize land use, and contribute to the revitalization of neighborhoods. As cities continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of their inhabitants, embracing the potential of small live/work buildings can unlock new opportunities and reimagine the urban landscape as a more interconnected and prosperous space.
This is a project that has been on the boards for a while. It is to be a pool house that gives my client's expanding family the space they need to spread out. It is designed to have two bedrooms, a living space for TV and gaming as well as a small kitchenette. I've situated the 3-piece bath to be accessible from both inside and out. Plus there is an outdoor shower & storage rooms for all your blow-up-unicorn floaty. Unfortunately, the project has languished as the pool is worked out. Oh, to have that problem! As the temperatures in Dallas begin to reach into the 90s, I wish I had my own pool to cool down.
The Casita is just over 700 square feet which is fairly large for a backyard guest house. The size and function has raised some flags as we sort through the City of Dallas' requirements & restriction for accessory dwelling units (ADU). In 2018, the City of Dallas created two paths by which a homeowner can legally rent out small apartments, or granny flats. Since then, there remains some confusion of what is allowed. The explosion of short term rentals in North Texas & the strife they have stirred up has not made the water any clearer. But lets take a look at what the ordinance actually says. Here is a good article that explains it all. Basically, the new ordinance enables a homeowner to seek approval to rent a secondary dwelling. It doesn't enable construction per se.
A quick summary of those items directly related to the form and construction limits of the ADU:
I love these tiny homes & would like to design more! I'd like to do one that has a more open living space with less need for a private/separate bedrooms. Maybe with a more sleek, modern look. We still have our shipping container in the back yard. We have been rethinking the design purpose for a while; a small little apartment would be cool. What do you think?
Here's is a peek at a project that is currently on the boards. For this exercise, we concentrated on utilizing triplex homes to provide an affordable alternative to the single family home, otherwise known as the missing middle.
The concept of missing middle housing types revolves around the need to bridge the gap between single-family homes and high-density apartment buildings. In neighborhoods that predominantly consist of detached houses, incorporating duplex and triplex homes can offer a valuable solution. These housing types provide a middle ground by offering multiple units within a single building while maintaining a sense of individuality and scale that aligns with the character of a neighborhood. Duplexes and triplexes can be designed to blend seamlessly with existing homes, ensuring architectural coherence. By introducing such housing options, neighborhoods can accommodate a greater diversity of residents, including families, young professionals, and older adults, fostering a sense of community and promoting socio-economic integration. Here's a great resource by CNU to learn more.
Here's a look at out latest project which opened this spring! Located in the DFW metroplex, this is a small medical office building for a single health-practitioner's family practice. While each project is different, for this one we were there from the beginning. We helped evaluate properties to purchase, prepared & submitted documents for a zoning change, and then brought together a full design team for the design & construction phase. This is our passion and our expertise.
Small medical office buildings offer a unique and specialized environment for healthcare practices. These compact facilities are designed to accommodate the specific needs of medical professionals, providing a convenient and accessible space for patients. Despite their size, small medical office buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and technology to ensure efficient and high-quality care. They often feature a range of amenities such as waiting areas, examination rooms, consultation spaces, and administrative offices, all within a compact footprint.
I'm sure you've seen some really fancy, grand ideas of how to revitalize a sleepy neighborhood that has seen better days. The solution often comes with a hefty price tag that keeps the execution out of reach. For this little exercise, we new we had to keep things simple & keep improvements to the level of a can of paint and some twinkle lights. Baby steps.
This particular area is tough as it is divided by a four lane highway. Still we kept to the easy first steps & concentrated on adding vibrance, places to gather & a clear walkable sidewalks. Ideally, we can add density to the area by adding residential to the south of the highway with vital retail to support it to the north side. Taking these first small steps will add momentum to revitalize businesses in the future to add to the urban fabric.
Construction is wrapping up on our small, little medical office building. Looks good, right? I'm excited to get some professional photos done once all the punch items have been corrected. I believe the developer has already found a tenant so I'm excited to see this building come to life soon!
This was a fun exercise I did at the end of last year. You may recognize the building. This is the addition we designed a few years back. The two buildings were built to infill the giant hole left when the anchor tenant grocery store backed out while the rest of the center was built in the 80s. Completed at the end of 2021, Fresenius Kidney Care moved into the medical space right away. The retail space remains empty.
This exercise was obviously done to entice a tenant. The first illustration shows how we can add two drive-up ATMs at the front of the shopping center next to the soon-to-be-improved pole sign. The other two renderings illustrate the location & size of possible building signage. It also shows how we can modify the storefront to accommodate the walk-up ATM.
In my line of work, I get to work with a variety of people in all different fields. While I tend to concentrate on commercial work, I do take on the occasional residential project. This particular project is something of a rare hybrid: a residential additional to accommodate a fine art conservation studio. The client is wrapping up construction with their chosen contractor & sent me these photos which I wanted to share.
The project entailed adding both a two-car garage + an art studio. This was not just any back yard studio either. To serve the client's future business endeavor, the space needed to hit several conditions: appropriate lighting, large open space to accommodate large pieces of artwork, a secure vault for storage, a photography room, office space and storage to properly store supplies & precious artwork. Quite the laundry list of items to squeeze into the back yard. Luckily I was able to work with a true professional that knew exactly how they needed to operate to be successful. We worked hand-in-hand to arrange a space that would meet their high standards. And I think the contractor did a great job executing the project.