heartwood and seedling (update)

Perspective rendering of Block 136 proposed central courtyard and its interaction with the street edge (Mithun)

A few more details have emerged on the proposed Block 136 project set to replace the existing PNCA Goodman building next year. The dual buildings have caused a little stir amongst neighboring residents, who mostly oppose the height bonuses the developer, Security Properties, is proposing. The height issue is a little odd for this location as the 150′ proposal is about mid-height for existing Pearl District buildings, will cast no new shadows on nearby Jamison Square, and is fully within right to build with allowable bonuses. Public perception however is still viciously negative, it doesn’t help that the organized opposition creating their own ‘renderings’ of the project that are all grossly misleading as their versions are roughly set at 225-300′ and not 150′ as proposed (for example, note how the 161′ Lovejoy Apartments and 222′ Park Place’s roof lines do not match the perspective whatsoever).

View of the SE corner of the proposed Block 136 development (Mithun)

I have some concerns about the street level treatments, especially those facing 12th Avenue. The ground floor material feels squashed and a little lifeless. The courtyard and 13th Avenue building ground levels are far more inviting and open. The same glass-reinforced cement siding that gives the tower base a cold feeling on 12th wraps full-height into the courtyard, which is unfortunate, but the remaining landscaping, wood elements, and concrete dock create the bones for a very welcoming public place. As the project is still in its infancy, such concerns will probably be addressed in design review.

Perspective view of the proposed Block 136 courtyard (Mithun)

The ‘heartwood and seedling’ narrative appears to be lost on the tower portion, as the aluminum and glass curtain wall system proposed is pretty standard. I have higher hopes for the low-rise facing 13th. The darker brick, thick cuts, and more industrial feel call more toward ‘heartwood’ and the existing neighborhood aesthetic.

Perspectival elevation of the Johnson Street side of the proposed Block 136 buildings (Mithun)

I am definitely in favor of the proposed massing, as the alternative could be a squat full-block slab without a public courtyard. I especially like the step-down to 13th Avenue, the district’s activity corridor, and how the the bulk of the floor area is split into two distinctive forms. I also hope that the ‘heartwood’ becomes office instead of housing (its currently up in the air) for the area could use more mixed-use as the Pearl District fills in.

Conceptual plan of Block 136’s courtyard, the proposed wood benches are supposed to mimic logs floating in a river (Mithun)




One response to “heartwood and seedling (update)

  1. Pingback: heartwood and seedling III | places over time·

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