Ann Phillips of Quinn Evans Architects talks adaptive reuse and guidelines for a project in Detroit, MI. She’ll go into site analysis, fire ratings, and everything involved in this adaptive reuse project.
Hi, my name is Ann Phillips and I'm a staff designer here at Quinn Evans Architects in Detroit, Michigan. I'm recently licensed here in the state of Michigan and I'm gonna talk to you today about an adaptive reuse project in Michigan.
So in this case with the site plan, this is a very conceptual preliminary site plan of this site where we're trying to figure out if this building, which is vacant now, a vacant warehouse, used to be an old stove factory, now getting turned into apartments or condominiums. Currently this site is all just lawn. How would we design it and program it so that it becomes an amenity to the tenants who are living in the building?
So, what actually before we move into the bubble diagram of laying out the building, it's really understanding what is the building, what's its structural system, and what is the building telling us it wants to be? So what is the dimension of the column grid, what can we fit in terms of not only units in this case, but also parking, and also amenities, other amenities that tenants may want, such as an exercise facility, or perhaps having commercial on the first floor. So once you get a full understanding of what the building is, and sort of what it wants, so to speak, then you move into really analyzing what can we fit within the building structure, within its shell, and what can we sort of push, structurally, we go through all these different testings to figure out, can the slab hold more, if we wanted to build up, could the slab hold more.
So, if your building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and this is the nomination for not just this building but the district in which it's in a national historic district, if your building is within a national historic district or on the National Historic Register, your building is considered historic. There are also other local titles that it can have that can consider it to be historic but there are tax incentives associated with that. So, you can get ten percent to twenty percent of a tax credit from the federal government.
As incredible of a detail as that is, it's likely not going to be a feature that's usable for the building, for its future use, so some things get sacrificed in order to make the building a usable thing, but there are no hard and fast rules. It really is just about the client and the goals of the project, what the client wants to get out of the project and then what the building is going to be used for and what makes the most sense. We typically just, I mean here, like here and me personally as an architect, I always want to save as much as possible just out of the fact that, to avoid waste.
So, if it's something, like say they put an addition, not in this case, but if they put an addition on in the 1980s and it has nothing to do with what the original building was and it no longer serves its purpose, you know, that's probably likely to go, but in the case of this, very little is actually going away and we've actually talked about rebuilding the parapet that was here 'cause as you can see, it's no longer there. So in some cases, using history to inform what the building becomes in its future life is a really helpful tool.
If they want to provide covered parking for all of the owners or if having covered parking is something that gets tacked onto your unit. If you purchase your condo and for an additional amount of money you get to purchase a covered parking. And then they could also have on-street parking or have parking on one of the surface lots.
When we get there, there's this whole life safety plan where you figure out distances and what's required for people to be able to have access to egress, that's how they get out of the building in an emergency, so the code dictates all of that in terms of wall assemblies or how your wall is put together, what the wall construction is made up of. Is it a steel stud, is it a wood stub, is it two layers of gypsum wallboard, is it one layer, is there insulation, is there a resilient channel? There are myriads of solutions and of ways to assemble a wall and the life safety, the building code, is what will determine how much of a rating your walls need.
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