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Making every square foot count

August 15, 2019

Shawn McCormick

Greenwich Village is a neighborhood of art and culture that continuously reinvents itself with a spirit of discovery and independence. The charming tree-lined streets, beautiful parks and cafes have been home to generations of artists, designers and musicians, creating a community that is always evolving and inspiring. Something that has yet to evolve is parking, which is in critical demand. However, residential developers and parking experts are teaming up to create state-of-the-art solutions that blend safety, security and efficiency. 


An innovative example of this is 12 East 13th Street. Transformed with an strong architectural vision, it is uniquely suited for contemporary loft-like residences. Expansive floor plans provide largely-proportioned, but flexible, living spaces, while four bays of oversized windows across the 67-foot-wide street front provide a striking source of natural light. 


Completely updated with a new structural envelope and state-of-the-art mechanical systems, the building has been re-clad in a burnished orange-red Roman brick. At the top, a crown of curved glass rises from behind the cubic form of the original structure, turning the building into a work of art.


Inspired by New York’s first apartment buildings with one residence per floor, the design evokes spacious loft-style interiors that flow with light and air. Wide great rooms extend across the entire front of the building. The design expresses the building’s industrial heritage, redefined through contemporary sensibility and materials, with large rooms, divided by a series of sliding, full-height glass doors. 


 


Addressing Complex Parking Needs in an Innovative Way


While Greenwich Village is a neighborhood of discovery, you’re not very likely to discover a parking spot anytime soon. Like much of Manhattan, this neighborhood has competitive street parking, near-constant construction, tight garages and every square foot of available space becomes more valuable by the minute. 


Not only would future residents of 12 East 13th Street demand perfection from an interior design and construction perspective, they would need a safe, secure and easy-to-access space to park their vehicles. A limited floorplan left no space for a ramp to the second-floor parking deck, so the designers incorporated a state-of-the-art robotic parking system to automatically park and retrieve residents’ cars. 


When residents arrive home, they use their smartphones to open the garage door. Once inside the parking bay on the first floor, they simply exit the vehicle and it is swiftly sent upstairs to the second-floor parking deck with the touch of a button. Since each residence has its own parking space and the door is a heavily used access point, it was important for the designer to find a fast, reliable and secure rolling door with a compact overhead unit. 


“Not only was functionality a major concern, but we also needed a custom closure solution that worked with the overall exterior aesthetic of the building which is rooted in neighborhood context,” said Eugene Flotteron, AIA, principal, CetraRuddy Architecture. “We collaborated with an industry leading rolling door manufacturer to develop a solution is both functional and architecturally sensitive.”


 


Problem Solved


Overhead space wasn’t a major concern as the first-floor parking bay lacked a ceiling, which allows the automated parking system to lift the cars to the second story. This allowed the architect and rolling door manufacturer to develop an ingenious alternative.


Instead of the standard metal rolling doors or grilles that grace the first floor of buildings throughout Manhattan, they designed a custom panel that attaches to the bottom of a roll-up service door that is anchored on the second floor. The panel matches the architecture and design of the other exterior doors and windows on the first floor for a seamless aesthetic. When closed, it looks just like the rest of the façade. 


When the rolling door on the second floor is raised, it coils into the hood. This pulls the panel attached to its bottom bar up to the second floor, providing access to the parking bay. The door hangs there until it is lowered back down. Since the panel doesn’t need to coil, it can remain one, rigid piece of material. When closed, the panel is “invisible” to passersby, only known as the entrance to the parking bay by residents and owners. This adds a sense of privacy and security. 


While invisible on the outside of the building, due to its location on the interior wall of the second-floor parking garage, the rolling service door plays an integral role in the function of the parking bay. Manufactured from slats of formed galvanized steel, it is made to last for more than 50,000 roll up cycles. Its commercial-grade construction requires minimal maintenance for the lifetime of the door, ensuring residents are never left stranded. 


In addition, a safety light curtain adds another level of protection, ensuring that the motorized door and panel will not close on an object. If an object enters the path of closure, this entrapment protection device will stop the door or grille from closing and return it to the fully open position.


A Winning Combination 


The reliable and long-lasting service, customized to include the additional panel on its base, provided a winning combination of design and functionality for the architect, facility manager and future residents. 


As building professionals struggle with shrinking floorplans and limited space in major metropolitan areas around the country, solutions like this help to create new and ingenious alternatives to traditional options for rolling doors and grilles in parking facilities.


The custom manufacturing capabilities of leading rolling door companies mean that architects and designers have a world of opportunity awaiting them. If they can dream it, chances are designers and engineers can make it happen.  


Shawn McCormick is with Architectural Design Support, CornellCookson. He can be reached at shawn.mccormick@cornellcookson.com. Parkplus supplied the automated parking system.



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