Bold Architectural Statement

Oct. 1, 2016
The Riverton Community Housing cooperative was presented with an opportunity to build a new student housing structure near the University of Minnesota. The end result is a building with an active facade—it’s bright and fun with a cohesive and modern design.
Urbanworks Architecture
CHALLENGE:The healthy construction market in Minneapolis presented Riverton Community Housing cooperative with an opportunity to build a new student housing structure near the University of Minnesota, in the Dinkytown section of campus. The tight site with busy car and pedestrian traffic was one of the larger challenges in the project. The solution was to move the parking below grade and combine it with the neighboring building. “We needed to provide parking to satisfy the neighborhood zoning but not many students have cars,” says David Haaland, AIA, vice president, Urbanworks Architecture, Minneapolis. “We had to make a conscious decision about how much parking would be available.” The soil composition was another project challenge. “It was a clay-based site which we had to remove and replace with clean sand. It took about a week to accomplish, but we couldn’t let this slow down the project,” says Dan Ackmann, project manager, Frana Companies, Hopkins, Minn. INFLUENCE:Because the building would be located in an area with many student housing facilities, the owners of this project wanted it to stand out—physically and competitively. The city of Minneapolis restricts the types of façade materials on buildings specifying only durable materials in its zoning districts—a thin fiber cement product would not be allowed. SOLUTION:Minneapolis building code requiring only durable façade materials lent itself to a great use of Nichiha Illumination Panels in a 66-unit six-story building featuring a dramatic yellow façade that stands out in the Dinkytown area of the University of Minnesota. The team looked at several color options, including blues and greens, but chose to go with yellow. “We wanted bright colors. We ended up with three custom colors of yellow Nichiha Illumination Panels,” says Devon Lundy, AIA, project architect, Urbanworks Architecture. Yellow was the ideal color to contrast another student housing building and library nearby. By using Nichiha’s Color Xpression System, Urbanworks Architecture was able to make the exact variation of yellow in which they were looking. null

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