Maximizing Compact Building Design


June 2006

This is the first in a 3-part series from DeStefano Architects on smart growth and beneficial urban design.
It's no secret that land is at a premium. That means, as architects and planners of urban development we need to design for the best use of each square inch.

The newly opened Hilton Garden Inn is a good example of the balancing act that often goes on between the developers "wish list" and the realities of zoning restrictions. This project presented challenges that were overcome with a number of strategies utilizing Creative Compact Building Design. One example is that the marketplace demanded over nine foot ceiling heights, to make the project financially viable the developer needed five floors and both needed to be accomplished within the zoning ordinance height restrictions. To accomplish the task DeStefano Architects along with its consultants performed an "Integrated Systems Analysis".

This type of detailed analysis examines the cost and square footage requirements of mechanical, sprinkler, and electrical systems which work within tight floor structure thicknesses. State of the art building systems are researched and utilized to provide solutions acceptable to the developer while creating a highly marketable and profitable structure. The result was a very unique structural system that incorporates an alternative floor framing system. This allowed the internal systems to be tucked into a cavity maximizing the space and creating a soffit as an architectural detail.

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