How can a building embrace urban living?

On a site along the main street of a small US city, we proposed a design that would fit into the urban context to create a series of comfortable dwellings without turning its back to the social and commercial activities at street level.

Traverse City is a small city at the head of Grand Traverse Bay, branched off from Lake Michigan in the American Midwest.

The site is on Front Street which runs along the bay. Characteristic of small cities in North America, the street features low rise shops and restaurants on both sides before quickly transforming to residential houses one block beyond.

In order to contribute to this character of the site, the design proposes a wide frontage of shops at street level, allowing the street life to run continuously along the street without interruption. The lobby to the apartments is blended into the streetscape to integrate the building into the site.

The ground floor is further set back from the adjacent building’s frontage in order to create a semi-outdoor space into which social activities may spill onto. The commercial spaces could adept the areas for outdoor seating or other similar activities, enriching the urban street life.

In order to create dialogue between the building and the street, balconies at the apartments look onto the main street and allow residents to step out and watch the social activities on the street while creating a recess to enhance interior privacy.

Carparks are located to the rear of the building in order to preserve the front for social activities and interaction.

Traverse City, US