Just a short walk from light rail and immediately adjacent to a City of Tempe bike path, the Valor Apartments will offer residents and their families safe, quality housing with an urban, sustainable, and transit-oriented design. Special attention has been paid to creating walkable environments and dynamic façades facing the street and the City of Tempe bike path. Both incorporate ground-floor commercial and a welcoming, friendly, tree-lined street frontage that will not only ensure an active community for the residents but will also contribute to a vibrant and walkable City of Tempe. Resident common space is located in the building’s northwest corner, opening directly onto the street and adjacent to a new parklet located just on the City’s bike path: imagine parents gathered in the grass watching as their children play on the playground and perhaps a father grabs a quick package of paper towels or buys an ice cream cone with his daughter in the project’s integrated ground floor store frontage.
In addition, five three-story, market-rate live/work town home units not only open directly to a deep sidewalk along the street –in the spirit of Jane Jacob’s advice – but also feature glass roll-up doors for small retail or office space to open their business to the street. What if a small flower shop opens in the spring with flowers flowing out onto the street? What if an artist sold her work on a fall afternoon showing her vibrant canvases to the city? What if a beginning fashion designer sat with his machine humming as ASU students almost bike past but instead stop to look at his colorful racks of dresses? Any of these could be possible.
This compact, urban infill site will include:
One, Two and Three Bedroom Apartment Units
Live/Work units facing 8th Street
Parklet with outdoor play area
2nd Floor shared sun balconies
Private balconies for each unit
Resident services office
Screened, resident on-site parking
This diverse mix of unit types and amenities are organized around a central courtyard elevated to the second floor that will offer residents two options – a quieter, more intimate setting in the interior courtyard as well as a second-floor balcony that allows residents to overlook the more public parklet below. Tucked beneath, and screened by lush landscaping, green screens and ground-floor retail, resident parking will offer the convenience of the car without impeding the project’s urban focus.
Balconies and an outdoor lifestyle figure prominently in this design. Each unit is given its own outdoor balcony with its own unique view overlooking the city, the parklet or the interior courtyard, while outdoor community gathering spaces are located throughout the project on shared exterior sun balconies.
The overall building massing is developed to step back from the street with four stories facing the street to the north and one additional story added to the southern wing. This not only helps to minimize height along the street, creating a friendly main street frontage, but also uses the building form to create shade. This sustainable gesture will naturally shade more units, contributing to increased energy efficiency and extending the seasons when residents can comfortably gather in the central outdoor courtyard.
Sustainability has also been considered in the project design. Not only will the Valor Apartments’ proximity to light rail and integrated bike parking encourage residents to utilize all modes of transportation, but energy and water savings have also been incorporated. Rooftops are designed so that they can easily accept solar – the north wing’s roof has been angled so that it is within the ideal range for solar sun angles while the southern wing’s flat roof can also easily accept panels. Rain chains will gather roof water into grade-level planters directing water to on-site plantings that can drink the water before it is sent into the city system. Windows have been designed considering solar orientation. Glazing is set deep into the façade so that the building naturally shades the glass from direct heat gain throughout the day. Extended balconies offer additional shading – and as a result increased energy efficiency – to the building by stopping direct sun from penetrating the building’s exterior skin. In addition, building framing will be designed to maximize building insulation helping to create an efficient building skin that keeps the summer heat out and the winter warmth in. These are only a few of the sustainable features to be designed as the project progresses.
In collaboration with Athena Studio
Location: Downtown Tempe, AZ