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The Grant Street Co-operative 17th Avenue and Grant Street Denver, Colorado
Thesis Report Richard Karnai
College of Environmental Design University of Colorado May 15, 1981
'able of Contents Introduction The Neighborhood Site Features Program
Applicable Codes and Requirements
Marketing and Financing
References and Acknowledgments Appendix
The Grant Street Co-operative is an urban residential nixed use development being proposed by the Denver Housing Corporation, which is a non-profit instrumentality of the City of Denver's housing Authority. Composed of three hundred and fifty dwelling; units, a health club, tv;o restaurants, retail shops, professional office spaces and a day-care center, the development will become the initial step toward implementing: the Denver housing Authority's lousing Development Stratcgicc (ID) Program. The purpose of the program is twofold: 1) to increase the opportunities of families from all income levels to acquire housing, near downtown and 2) to encourage residential redevelopment in and around downtown Denver in response to the growth, of Denver, and to the change in living patterns. The program for the Grant Street Co-operative is consistent with those goals; it will be a mixed-income housing project, co-operatively owned by all its residents; arid it is located
Avenue, a location very near the heart of downtown Denver.
The development is situated at a critical edge of the city
between the expanding downtown Denver
'ice tower complexes to
the west, and to the east, the existing smaller scale residential community, known as the tor u11 Gapi tol hill neighborhood. As
an initial project to Denver's housing strategic:
Street Co-operative becomes a model for future housing developments near downtown and therefore, it must be responsive to the urban design and development of the areas which would be impacted by it.
The project site is in the area known as the North Capitol Hill neighborhood which is defined as an area bounded on the north be East Twentieth Avenue, on the east by Park Avenue and Downing Street, on the south by East Colfax Avenue and on the west by Broadway. The neighborhood is comprised of fifty blocks of Denver's city grid planning, totaling two hundred and twenty five acres which includes a network of nineteen streets. It is an area of a variety of land use, housing types and people; it is close to downtown Denver, City Park and inner city cultural, medical and commercial facilities; and it contains many significant historical buildings. It is also an area in transition, hoping to revitalize its housing stock which had become depleted through the pressures of downtown Denver office expansion and Hospital expansion resulting in speculation and demolition of the housing stock for parking lots.
History of the Neighborhood
The neighborhood has a very early beginning, becoming a part of Denver's corporate limits through the Territorial Session Laws of 1864. H.C. Brown (who is also noted for having constructed the Brown Palace Hotel) was the first to develop land in the area recording his subdivision, the H.C. Brown Addition, in 1868.
The development consisted of eighty acres of residential use, typical lot size twenty-five feet by one hundred twenty-five feet. Adjacent to and east of Brown's Addition, the Clements addition was recorded in 1870. (As a footnote, the Grant Street Co-operative is located on property half on Brown's Addition and half on Clement's Addition.)
Through the Territorial Session Laws of 1874, the remainder of North Capitol Kill became a part of Denver and with the recording of the Park Avenue Addition in October of 1874 the platting of subdivisions within the area was essentially complete.
By 1900, the area was beginning to establish itself as a "fine, stable residential area with sixty-five percent of its
blocks developed," (6:1) and throughout the early years of the Twentieth Century enjoyed continued growth with thirty percent more of its blocks being developed. The majority of residences in the area were characterized by narrow frontages, deep yards, and were constructed of stone or masonry. Swallow's Addition, a resubdivision of the Park Avenue Addition, was recorded in 1887, and became a residential area for Denver's wealthy and socially prominent. Currently, this block is bound by Clarkson and Emerson Street and 16th and 17th Avenues, and contains many fine historic examples of Denver's part.
The north Capitol Hill area was first settled by the more affluent of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The population grew throughout the 1930's and 40's, reaching its peak in the 1950's. With the popularity of suburban life, the area then began to decline in population continuing through the 60's and 70's. Currently, the area is one of Denver's smallest residential neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Service Facilities
Being an area of a variety of land uses, there is an abundance of service oriented facilities within the North Capitol Hill area or within a one mile radius of the Grant Street Co-operative. These service facilities are important amenities for any type of residential development.
Parks. One facility that the North Capitol Hill area desperately lacks are neighborhood parks. The closest park is Cheese-man Park, a community park, at 12th Avenue and Franklin Street, within one mile of the project site. City Park at 17th Avenue and York Street is within 1% miles of the site.
Schools. There are two elementary schools which serve the neighborhood, Emerson Elementary at 14th Avenue and Ogden Street, and Wyman Elementary at 17th Avenue and Williams Street. According to 1978-79 enrollment statistics, Wyman is under capacity and Emerson is slightly over its capacity. Wyman is 1 mile and Emerson is )?_ mile from the project site. Horey Junior High
School, located at York Street and Colfax Avenue is within 1 mile of the project site. Other schools in the area are Central Cathol High School and the Boettcher School for the handicapped. The Auraria Center for Higher Education, composed of the Community College of Denver, Metro State College and the University of Colorado at Denver, and located at Speer Boulevard and Colfax Avenue, is within a 15 minute bus ride and a 10 minute car ride from the project site.
Hospitals. The majority of hospitals and related health facilities are located near the northeast corner of the North Capitol Hill neighborhood, within a Vz to 1 mile distance from the project site. There is St. Luke's Hospital at 20th Avenue and Park Avenue, Children's Hospital at 18th Avenue and Downing Street, St. Joseph's Hospital at 18th Avenue and Franklin Street, the Franklin Medical Center at 19th Avenue and Franklin Street, and the Presbyterian Medical Center at 19th Avenue and High Street The Denver Clinic is located at Colfax and Washington Street, within )i mile from the project site.
Libraries. The Main Denver Public Library is located at 13th Avenue and Broadway, a distance of % mile from the project site.
Retail/Commercial/Services. There are many retail, commercial, and service oriented (laundromat, barber shop, beauty shop, etc.) facilities spotted throughout the North Capitol Hill Area -along 17th Avenue and Colfax, and the retail/commercial areas of downtown are within a % mile walking distance from the project site.
Supermarkets. There is a Safeway Grocery Market at 20th Avenue and Washington Street within mile of the project site. Recently, in November of 1980, a Safeway Grocery at Colfax and Washington Street, nearer in proximity to the project site than the other, closed its doors, much to the dissatisfaction of the area's residents. There are a few smaller 'Ha and Pa' groceries within the North Capitol Kill neighborhood one which is directly opposite the project site along 17th Avenue.
Amusement. The Ogden Theater at Colfax and Ogden Street is the only movie house within the area.
Religious Facilities. There are eight major churches in in close proximity to the project site. Most noted is the Central Presbyterian Church at 17th Avenue and Sherman Street, one block from the project site, which has provided much leadership in emergency and social service needs of the community. The church is also housed within a very significant historical architectural landmark.
Transportation in the neighborhood.
Vehicle circulation. The project is situated in the midst of Denver's one way street pairings which were created to facilitate the commuters rapid transportation into and out of downtown Denver, from and to the outer lying suburban residential areas. This policy to accommodate commuters has served to promote the deterioration of Denver's inner city housing stock while encouraging the suburban life. The Grant Street Co-operative site is bounded on all its three sides that face a street by one way arterials Seventeenth Avenue which travels east out of the downtown with 13,100 vehicles per day, Logan Street which travels north with 9,050 vehicles per day, and Grant Street which travels south with 11,600 vehicles per day. These streets are all considered major arterials by the Denver Traffic Engineers and have an average capacity of 17,500 to 35,000 vehicles per day.
Mass Transit. The RTD Transit Center at Colfax and Broadway, and the Sixteenth Street Mall transportation system is within a /< mile walking distance from the project site. Local buses directly serving the site are the number 12 bus which travels
north-south from North Valley Shopping Center to Cinderella City Shopping Center, and the number 20 bus which travels east-west from Aurora to Lakewood. A bus stop is located directly in front of the project along 17th Avenue.
Dike Paths. There is an existing Bike Route linking downtown and City Park along 16th Avenue.
Land Use in the Neighborhood
There is a wide diversity of land use and activity that occur in the North Capitol Hill Area, giving it a nice urban mix. However, recent land use trends in the area have created a handicap rather than an asset to the area, endangering the stability and residential quality of the neighborhood. Between 1970 and 197S, residential uses have decreased in favor of commercial and office uses and uses devoted to parking. In two years alone, there has been an alarming increase in percentage of land use devoted to parking from 25% in 1978 to 40% in 1980. There are tremendous pressure from downtown Denver to expand into the neighborhood and therefore generate land use turnover, resulting in the myriad of parking lots arising due to speculation. As a result, the neighborhood needs to establish a balance of mixed activity to maintain the residential livability it should be able to enjoy.
Housing in the Neighborhood,
The housing stock in the North Capitol Mill neighborhood exhibits a wide variety of architectural styles; there are examples of Victorian, German Romantic Revival, and Gothic architecture in the area. Across Grant Street from the site, on the corner of 17th and Grant, stands a handsomely old Gothic house. South of the site on the corner of 16th Avenue and Logan Street sits the historic landmark, the Fisher Mansion.
The neighborhood is dominated by an older housing stock,
70% of which was built between 1900 and 1939, and 15^ built prior to 1900. There has been no significant new housing developments in the area, but conversions of large older homes into apartments is common. The majority of residential units are renter, while the owner occupied units has been steadily decreasing between 1960 andl976.
Deterioration and blight victimise a majority of the neighborhood's housing stock, although there has been an increase in renovation of houses, thus upgrading the character of the community.
But, vacant and vandalized buildings still create an unsightly blight in the neighborhood; some of which still offer new housing potential. Government programs can stimulate the rejuvenation of this existing housing stock.
Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Neighborhood
Besides presenting a wide variety of facilities, services, land uses, and housing, the North Capitol Kill neighborhood also contains a wide diversity of people, showing varied age, ethnic and income characteristic's. This area is the smallest residential neighborhood in Denver with an estimated population in 1976 of 4,810 down from 5,334 persons estimated in 1970. There are a couple of reasons for this decline: (1) the decline of average household types, a national trend, in city and suburb, and (2) the demolition of housing structures for surface parking lots.
Half of the neighborhood consists of young adults (working people in their twenties and thirties) and one quarter consist of elderly (65 years or older'), which is higher than the city norm of 1255.
The ethnic composition in the North Capitol Hill area is currently estimated to be "50/3 Anglo, down from about 90';) in 1970, with Spanish surname 30?) and Black 17;)." (7:4)
The average income of families within the area was $5,387. well below the city norm of $9,654. which may be due to the high proportion of elderly who live in the area and who are generally on lower, fixed incomes than the rest of the city.
The area is affected by one of the highest crime rates in the city, thus possibly accounting for some inhibitions to invest in the neighborhood. North Capitol Kill faces "different problems of crime prevention from purely residential neighborhoods because of the numerous businesses, commercial, and institutional activities, as well as a large transient population. Recognition of who has legitimate activities and who does not is more difficult than in strictly residential neighborhoods." (7:5)
Potential crime areas
in the neighborhood are created by
the isolated parking lots, areas surrounded by vacant lots,
and areas where office conversions of former housing have resulted
in unobserved spaces after dark.
In conclusion to the neighborhood analysis, the community seems able to absorb the impact of the project. There is good accessibility to the services of downtown, as well as the abundance of services provided by the community. The ar'ea has all the necessary service facilities needed to create quality housing.
The project will also benefit the neighborhood by putting a more stable population into the neighborhood, giving more eyes to watch the street and cr'eate defensible space as well as stabilising the population.
The site for the Grant Street Co-operative currently contain 2 small office buildings, a gas station, and a large surface parking lot. None of the existing buildings are historic structures or over 50 years old; each is slated for demolition. The legal description for the site is: lots 1-10, Elock 62, H.C. Brown's Addition and lots 1- 15 and the North 10 feet of lot 1.6, Block 301, Clement's Addition. The following plans define the site dimensions and utility facilities.
Climate. Denver's location at the eastern foot of the Rocky fountains results in the extremely mild weather it enjoys.
The climate is sunny, and semi-arid; extremely hot or cold weather is usually short in duration. Typically,"spring is the wettest, cloudiest, and windiest season. Stormy periods are often inter-sperced by stretches of mild sunny weather that removes previous snow cover.
Summer precipitation, particularly in July and August, usually falls mainly from scattered local thundershowers during the afternoon and evening. Mornings are usually clear and sunny. Clouds often form during early afternoon and cut off the sunshine at what would otherwise be the hottest part of the day. Many afternoons have a cooling shower.
Autumn is the most pleasant season. Local summer thunderstorms are mostly over and invasions of cold air and severe weather are infrequent, so that there is less cloudiness and a greater percent of possible sunshine than at any other time of the year. Periods of unpleasant weather are generally brief. Precipitation amounts to about 20 percent of the annual total.
Winter has least precipitation accumulation, only about 11 percent of the annual total, and almost all of it snow. Precipitation frequency, however; is the higher than in autumn. There is also more cloudiness and the relative humidity averages higher
than in the autumn. Y/eather can be quite severe, but as a general rule the severity doesn't last long." (12:1)
Soils, Topology, and Vegetation
Underneath the asphalt paving of the parking lot, there lies river terrace gravel, and approximately thirty feet to thirty five feet below there is a layer of claystone bedrock. A cairson foundation is recommended. (A soils survey was not available; however a soils engineer from Chen and Associates hypothesized that the above conditions might prevail based upon knowledge of soils within the vicinity of the site.)
The site slopes at a gradual 2.5% from the southwest end to the northeast end of the site, as indicated on a following drainage plan.
There is no existing quality vegetation that can provide a natural amenity for the site.
Spatial Requirements and Descriptions Area of site: 82,750 S.F. = 2.0 ac Building Area Summary:
Residential: 361,010 S.F.
Retail: O /ICC O y hOO
Health Club: 15,750
Day Care: 3,700
Parking Garage: (350 parking spaces) 116,144
Subtotal: 508,914 S.F.
Mechanical Space: (5/j) 25,446
Total: 534,360 S.F.
There are 350 residential units consisting entirely of one and two bedroom units. Twenty percent or 70 units will be MUD Section 8 Assisted, for lower income families who are subsidized by the Federal government; thirty-five of the assisted units will be designed for handicapped tenants.
The unit distribution is as follows:
1 Bedroom - Section 8 20
1 Bedroom - Section 8, handicapped 20
1 Bedroom 100
2 Bedroom - Section 8 15
2 Bedroom - Section 8, handicapped 15
2 Bedroom - 1 Bath 101
2 Bedroom - 2 Bath 79
The FKA minimum size approximately 500 S.F.
requirement for a one bedroom unit and "consists of (a) a living-dining
room (a separate dining room is very rare), (b) kitchen area,
(c) bedroom, (a) bathroom, (e) an outdoor terrace is optional." (3:389) The Housing Assistance Administration Department of HUD recommends 550 S.F. for a one bedroom unit allocating the spatial requirements as follows:
Area Name Square Footage Guideline
Living Room minimum 145 S.F.
Living Room Dining Room 170
Kitchen Dining Combination 70
Guest Coat Closet 4
Linen Closet 4
Kitchen Work Top 4
Kitchen Shelvina 30
General Storage 25
(20% should be rear Kitchen)
Bedroom Closet 10
There we11 be a wide range of individuals who will occupy the one-bedroom unit, such as married couples with or without children, elderly persons, and singles.
The FIIA minimum size requirement for a two bedroom unit is approximately 650 S.F., and "consist of two bedrooms, living room, dining area (usually part of the living room), full kitchen bathroom, and possibly an outdoor terrace." (3:392) The Housing Assistance Administration Department of HUD recommends 720 S.F. for a two bedroom unit allocating the spatial requirements as follows:
Area Kane Square Footage Guideline
Living Room minimum 155 S.F.
Living Room Dining Room 185
Square Footage Guideline
Kitchen Dining Combination SO
Guest Coat Closet 6
Linen Closet 5
Kitchen .l/ork Top 6
Kitchen Shelving 36
General Storage 30
(20% should be rear Kitchen)
Bedroom #1 125
Bedroom #1 Closet 10
Bedroom #2 100
Bedroom #2 Closet 8
The occupancy of the two bedroom unit will usually be singles
living together, married couples without children who use the other
bedroom as a study or den, married couples with one or two children,
or a family with an older relative.
Allocation of 3,465 square feet for speculative retail shops shall be provided. There shall be included within the space one male and one female restroom. The male restroom shall be provided with 2 v.rater closets, 1 urinal and 2 lavatories. The female restroom shall be provided-with 3 water closets, and 2 lavatories. There shall be 2 drinking fountains. The average size of a retail shop is 12 feet to 15 feet wide by 50 feet to 60 feet long.
Allocation of 3,700 square feet for speculative office space shall be provided. There shall be provided one male and one female restroom. The male restroom shall include 2 water closets, 1 urinal and 2 lavatories. The female restroom shall be provided with 3 water closets, and 2 lavatories. There shall be 2 drinking fountains. The possibility that the restrooms may be shared by the office spaces and retail spaces is very feasible. In any
case, however, the minimum plumbing facilites standard required by the Denver Building Code shall be followed.
The average efficiency of office to support spaces is 70% with size requirements of a typical office being 25 feet to 30 feet in width from an exterior wall.
Allocation of 5,145 square feet of speculative restaurant space shall be provided with 1,792 S.F. of restaurant space in the Health Club.
An approximate space breakdown of the different activities in the smaller restaurant is as follows:
Activity Square Footage
Kitchen 252 S.F.
Dining 1,396 S.F.
Ear 144 S.F.
The restrooms for the restaurant shall be shared with the Health
The larger restaurant shall be provided with the following approximate square footage allocations for the different activities Activity Square Footag'
Kitchen 590 S.F.
Dining 2,313 S.F.
Restrooms 450 S.F.
Outdoor Cafe 1,320 S.F.
One male restroom, consisting of 4 water closets, 2 urinals, and 3 lavatories, shall be provided. One female restroom, consisting of 6 water closets and 3 lavatories shall be provided. Three drinking fountains are needed.
Allocation of 15 health club facility.
7o0 square feet shall be provided for a The approximate square footage guidelines
for the different activities are a,
Men's Lockers and Sauna 1,400
Women's Lockers and Sauna 1,500
Indoor Pool (20 m pool) 3,500
Exercise Room 1,500
3 Racquetball Courts 4,750
Storage and Pool Equipment Room 550
Circulation (10^) 1,400
An allocation of 3,700 square feet shall be provided for a child care center. The care center shall be designed to handl approximately 50 children of ages 3-5 years. Classroom space of 35 to 50 S.F. per child and outdoor play space of 75 S.F. per child is required. The square footage guidelines for the different spaces of the day-care center are as follows:
Activity Square Footage
4 Classrooms 2,200 S.F.
Isolation Room 100
Coat Room 50
Meeting Room 400
Offices 310 Toilets (boys & girls) 240 Storage 100 Entry, Reception Area 100
There are many different types of activities which the class rooms must bo able to accommodate. The typical activities are: (l)housekeeping in which the children learn to develop and understand societal roles; (2)reading and story telling where reading skills and language development are encouraged, as well as the
general enjoyment of literature; (3)block building where the child learns relative size and shape relationships and how to work with others, articulating ideas and planning projects; (4)art, where the child can develop his artistic expression in painting, drawing, cutting, pasting, collage, clay and paper nache; and (5)puzzle and game playing where the child may learn number concepts, abstract reasoning, group co-operation, individual concentration and observation skills. The classrooms should be zoned and separated according to the different noise levels of the activities; they should also have access to the outdoor play area.
The kitchen is to provide lunch-time meals and snacks to the children. There is a possibility that an arrangement can be set up in which the restaurant can supply meals.
The isolation room is an area for medical treatment, for physical examination, and for the isolation of a child should he or she become ill during the day, keeping him or her away from the other children. Medical supplies in this area should be securely locked.
There should be two offices provided, one for the director of the program and one for general office administrational use or for the teacher to be away from the children. A conference room is provided for teacher meetings or parent-teacher conferences.
There should be separate toilet and handwashing facilities for the children and the adult staff members and visitors.
"For the children it is preferable to have several smaller toilet installations scattered throughout the building than to have one large central installation. A ratio of one toilet and one wash basin is recommended for every 8 to 10 children. The ideal arrangement is to have the toilet and handwashing rooms open directly off the playrooms." (1:30-31) The toilet facilities do not necessarily need to be separated boys from girls. The toilet and handwashing facilities, to the children.
themselves need to be accessible
For the adult staff, one male restroom, consisting of 1 toilet, 1 urinal, and 1 lavatory, and one female restroom consisting of 1 toilet and 1 lavatory shall be provided.
The program provides for only 350 parking spaces, one space per dwelling unit. The zoning ordinance, however, requires a total of 592 parking spaces for all the uses in the building. Opposite the project site, on the northwest corner of the intersection of Seventeenth Avenue and Grant Street, United Bank in proposing a public parking facility which can accommodate parking for the Grant Street Project. The project will be submitted to the Denver City Council as a Planned Unit Group so that 350 parking spaces may be feasible.
An allocation of 25,446 square feet or 5% of the total building area shall be provided for all mechanical, electrical, and telephone equipment. For a project of this size a central mechani. cal system seems to be the most economically feasible.
Applicable Codes and Requirements Building Code
The design and construction of the project must comply with the 1376 Denver Building Code. The location of the project determines a fire zone three designation which allows all types of construction; however, the size and nature of the project requires that it be classified as Type I construction which permits unlimited floor area and height. The occupancy classifications are Cl, FI, F2, G3, and 112 requiring an occupancy separation of 2 hours between H2 and G3, and a 1 hour separation for all others. Floors and Roofs must have a fire rating of 2 hours and the structural frame must have a 3 hour fire rating protection. There are two exits required. Sprinkling is a requirement.
The project must comply with the 1976 Denver Zoning Ordinance regulations. As indicated on the following zoning map, the project site falls within the B-3 and R-4 zone.
A B-3 zoning classification permits office, all types of business, commercial enterprises, certain industrial, and multiple dwelling uses. All structures must be set back a distance of "not less than five feet from each front and rear line of the Zone Lot and not less than five feet from each side line of the Zone Lot" (8:385.4.8-4(2)), except that unwalled porches, terraces, and balconies may extend five feet into front and rear setback spaces. The maximum gross floor area of all the structures excluding the off street parking, must not exceed the area of the zone lot on which the structures are located.
Ho part of any structure "shall project up through bulk limits which are defined by planes extending up over the Zone Lot at an angle of forty-five degrees with respect to the horizontal (a pitch of one foot additional rise for each foot additional setback) and which planes start (1) at horizontal lines which are co-directional to the center lines of all streets abutting the Zone Lot and pass
through points ten feet above the mid-point
of such center lines between the boundary lines of the Zone Lot extended, and (2) at, if no alley abuts the Zone Lot, a horizontal line which is co-directional to the rear line of the Zone Lot and passes through a point ten feet above the mid-point of such rear line of the Zone Lot; and if the rear line or lines of the Zone Lot are established by an abutting alley or alleys such planes shall start at horizontal lines which are co-directional to the center lines of such abutting alley or alleys and pass through points ten feet above the mid-point of such center lines between the boundary lines of the Zone Lot extended." (8:385.8-4(3)) A R-4 zoning classification permits high density, multi-family, office, and limited commercial use. The front setback requirement is to be not less than 10 feet from each front line.
The rear setback requirement is to be not less than 5 feet for detached accessory structures and not less than 20 feet from each rear line of the zone lot. The side setback requirement of zone lots thirty or more feet in width shall be not less than 7 feet and 5 inches from each side line of the zone lot. The space resulting from the setbacks on the front and side are to be used for landscaping, except on the side, if the setback measures 21 feet or more, that setback space may be used as parking for vehicles.
No part of the structure "shall project up through bulk limit: which are defined by planes starting (1) at horizontal lines which are co-directional to the side line or lines of the Zone Lot and pass through points thirty feet above the mid-point of each such side line or lines, and (2) at horizontal lines which are co-directional to the center lines of all streets abutting the Zone Lot and pass through points thirty feet above the midpoint of such center lines between the boundary lines of the Zone Lot extended, and (3) at, if no alley abuts the Zone Lot, a horizontal line which is co-directional to the rear line of the Zone Lot and passes through a point thirty feet above the mid-
point of such rear line of the Zone Loi
and if the rear line or
lines of the Zone Lot are established by an abutting alley oj alleys such planes shall start at horizontal lines which are
co-clirectional to the center lines of such abutting alley or alleys and pass through points thirty feet above the mid-point of such center lines between the boundary lines of the Zone Lot extended, and which planes extend up over the Zone Lot at an angle of sixty-three degrees and twenty-six minutes with respect to the horizontal (a pitch of two feet additional rise for each foot additional setback) until such planes intersect a vertical line thirty feet horizontally distant from the various points of beginning as above set forth, at which point the angle of the bulk plane shall change from sixty-three degrees and twenty-six minutes to ninety degrees or true vertical." (8:381.2.5-4(3))
The gross floor area of the building excluding garage space shall not be greater than 4 times the Zone Lot area on which the structure is located.
Seven off-street loading berths must be provided. Each berth shall be at "least ten feet wide, thirty-five feet long and fourteen feet high." (8:399.11.4-2)
The offstreet parking requirements are as follows: (1)
Dwelling or multiple units, Class One, provide 1% off-street park-
, Class Two, one off-
s floor area; (3 )Communi ti-
area of the Zone Lot
)Retail and Re s taurant,
for each 200 S.F. of
one off -street parking
space for each 500 S.F. of gross floor area. Use
Parking Spaces Required
Residential Day Care
Community Recreation Center Retail and Restaurant Office
525 space: 6
To insure maximum flexibility and provide more spatial freedom and possibility, and with the nature of complexity and size of the proposed project, submitting it as a Planned Building Group to the City and County of Denver is advisable. The Planned Building C-roup Procedure "is intended to permit diversification in the location of structures and to improve circulation facilities, and other site qualities while insuring adequate standards relating to public health, safety, welfare and convenience in the use and occupancy of buildings and facilities." (8:400.1) The Zoning Ordinance requirements are to be used as guidelines and can be waived if just cause and reasonable alternatives are proven.
A Zoning Ordinance regulation that must be abided is the Rocky Mountain View Preservation Ordinance which in order to be waived must be approved through a separate variance from the Planned Building Group. The purpose of this ordinance is for the "protection and perpetration of certain panoramic mountain views from various parks and public spaces within the City and County of Denver" for the interests of prosperity, civic pride and general welfare of the people." (8:429.26 A) For this particular project site, the view must be preserved from City Park and the natural History Museum. According to the limitations on construction, the building height must not exceed an elevation of 5,415 feet above mean sea level or a height of 147 feet which is approximately 15 stories high. In the past, a variance which allows a project to waive the Mountain View Ordinance has been very rare. However, for a public agency (the Denver Housing Authority) to obtain a variance of the ordinance is inconsistent with the purpose of creating ordinances.
larketing and Financing
Over the past decade, the City of Denver has experienced a vast amount of growth as evidenced by the continuing development of office towers in the downtown core. However, while providing for the increased expansion of office space, there also needs to be a coinciding growth of housing to accommodate these new office workers, especially near downtown. With the change in lifestyles, as a national trend; ("more women in the labor force, later formation of families and single parent families, more emphasis on personal health, recreation and leisure time and continuing drop in the birth rate") (10:1); and also with the economy drastically altering our commuting lifestyles, near to downtown housing offers many advantages.
Near to downtown housing provides many amenities for its residents. The variety of close service oriented facilities, close shopping, and closer distance to work give near to downtown housing an attractiveness not really considered in the past.
The people who would be attracted to this market are "people moving to Denver who need housing immediately" (10:2) This population would create the major market force. Employment projections by Downtown Denver, Inc. and the Denver Planning office indicate a substantial increase in employment population. Between 1977 and 1985, an increase of 25.9% of new jobs created in Denver is expected by the First National Bank of Denver. By the year 2000, there will be an estimated quarter million people working downtown. Downtown housing needs to be developed by the City of Denver to provide quality housing for these future residents.
A secondary market is created by those people who want to move near the downtown area from the suburban areas of the city. Energy costs and changing lifestyles have necessitated people to reconsider the possibilities of living within the downtown region.
The downtown housing strategies developed for the Denver Housing Authority have isolated certain areas of Denver and concentrated energies into developing a balanced market strategy
k balanced market strategy
for housing for those specific areas.
emphasizes a mixture of housing and services to attract households of all types, single households, households with children, elderly households, young adult households, and households from different economic and social backgrounds.
The Grant Street Co-operative is located in an area selected by the Housing Strategy program as a prime section near the downtown core to develop the balances market strategy. And as indicated in the neighborhood study the North Capitol Hill area needs housing desperately to help stabilize its population. The neighborhood can accommodate and wants more housing.
The Housing strategy for this area is described by Susan Saegert (15:28-29) as follows: "The population of this development is expected to be among the most diverse of the first stage developments including 15% upper-middle income and 35% moderate income families, 40% singles and 10% elderly, some couples and some single persons.
Major concerns will involve devoloping a highly used intensive, yet attractive residential environment. Minimal ground-level and outdoor space will be available suggesting that views, terraces, visual diversity and quality and service amenities will be particularly significant. The first stage will not cater explicitly to households v/ith children but this will occur as development moves toward the neighborhood.
The needs of residents in this area suggest a two-pronged development. One would emphasize the mixed use of space on Capital Walk to provide restaurants and other urban amenities, probably on second floor space or as ground level use of office buildings and mixed office and residential buildings. Late-hour and convenience shopping would appeal to the singles and childless couples who would be a sizeable proportion of the residents. Second, expansion of services available in the neighborhood for grocery shopping and other basic needs would be expected to occur.
The close proximity to office locations combined with a
high proportion of adult, leisure oriented households could make this area very attractive to downtown employees; thus information from the employer-employee survey will have bearing on this market. Additionally, corporations should be made aware of housing opportunities in this area for their employees. Since this site links the business section to a neighborhood, the neighborhood community should also be involved both through information on development plans and through participation in housing and services development adjoining the two areas."
Host of the development in the area is expected to come from
the private sector. However, to begin implementing the program,
public assistance might be necessary to encourage development
in the right direction. High land costs, low rental structures,
and high financial risk in terms of attracting the projected
population market result in inhibitions by the private sector
to develop housing near downtown. Public assistance can perhaps stimulate housing development in the projected areas by offering write-downs to offset high land costs, and by possibly providing demonstration projects, to create a downtown housing market.
The Grant Street Co-operative is projected to attract mainly small or childless families, and is intended to establish a mix of people with different economic backgrounds by providing 20%
HUD section 3 assisted housing. There will be a wide range of expected income levels of households, being at least 015,000 per year, and for the assisted families an expected income level of $12,000 per year. The expected tenure in the development is 5 to 3 years while the expected tenure for the assisted units is 4 to 6 years.
The project will be developed by the Denver Housing Corporation, an instrumentality of the Denver Housing Authority. The Housing Corporation will develop and market the project, as a co-operative and then create and transfer the co-operative stock to the Grant Street Co-operative Association, a non-profit co-operative association which will be responsible for the retirement of the construction loan and for the management of the project.
A co-operative is a member owned corporation in which the
stock in their dwelling complex in proportion to the value of their residential unit, membership to the co-operative gives exclusive rights for that member to occupy a dwelling unit in the development, and to participate in the operation of the co-operative. The Co-operative association is responsible for payment of mortgage, maintenance, operating, and other costs and thus releases the member of any direct liability for these costs; however the member is obligated to pay his proportionate share
of the corporative's budget mortgage, taxes, utilities, maintenance, etc. The purpose of a co-operative is to instill the resident with a feeling of homeownership, thus creating a interest in the co-operative community, giving stability to the occupancy of the complex. Resident ownership of the development entitles him to the same benefits in terms of tax deductions as an owner of a house or condiminium. The deductions would be proportionate to his share of the real estate taxes and mortgage interest paid by the corporation. The tenant member can either sell his stock back to the corporation or to another perspective tenant.
The expected charges for different unit compositions range from a downpayment of $2,000 $3,000 with monthly charges ranging from $575 to $650 for a two bedroom, and for a one bedroom a downpayment of $1,500 with approximate monthly charges of $500.
The assisted units will require downpayments of $500 for all units with monthly charges of $450 for a two bedroom and $410 for a one bedroom unit.
The project will attempt to be developed under normal development conditions, that is there will be no land write-offs or government subsidies to help fund the project.
The Grant Street Co-operative offers a prime opportunity to set a precedent for the quality of future near to downtown housing for the North Capitol Hill neighborhood. The fact that it is being proposed by a City of Denver agency establishes it as a model to use as a guideline for future developments proposed by the private sector; therefore, the design of the project must be consistent with the existing urban fabric of the neighborhood, as well as respond to the needs of its residents. Currently, the urban tissue of the neighborhood is fragile, being in a state of transition and desiring to stabilize its residential population. The design can either damage the existing residential quality by not respecting the community or enhance it through a conscious effort to relate to the existing urban fabric of the neighborhood.
The purpose of this thesis is to explore the possibilities of integrating the project into the North Capitol Hill area, suggesting possible guidelines for developing housing goals for the area that are consistent with the existing urban context.
The design of the Grant Street Co-operative will address those issues and set a standard for developing future housing.
The density requirement suggest, perhaps, a high-rise residential development; I will attempt to propose instead a high-
density low rise alternative based on attitudes respectful of urban consolilation. I will also challenge the proposed density requirement if it threatens the quality of residential life in the development as well as in the community, and propose an alternate solution to any conflicts that arise.
The development must not only respect the urban context but also respect the needs and wants of the people who live there.
The intent of a co-operative is to impart a feeling o:
ownership" and the design must respond to that need. The purpose of this Thesis is, also, to explore the architectural signs and symbols which define privacy and territoriality in expressing the home's sovereignty; and to explore the organization of dwellings and spaces to provide another level of experiences, the
social interacion of the residents, promoting a sense ox community. Therefore, a clear distinction between public, semipublic, semiprivate and private zones must be understood, by all visitors as well as tenants. The clear recognition of different areas within the development promote a sense of security and ownership, reducing crime and maintenance by defining spheres of territorial influence of the inhabitants. Visual access of all areas is also important in maintaining a high level security.
The design of the Grant Street Co-operative can well become a model for near to downtown housing in.Denver, as well as in the Worth Capitol Hill neighborhood. The designer must be aware of the existing urban context so that his project does not become isolated from the surrounding community. The designer must also be aware of the needs and wants of the project's users and respond to those desires and dreams. He should strive to define and promote the quality of urban design, by questioning and exploring alternatives to those issues. That is the purpose of this Thesis: to question and explore alternatives to urban design issues and the quality of urban life.
The American Dream and Mass Housing
How Has Modern Architeure Failed to Respond?
Recently, there has been much criticism of the failure of Modern Architecture to have responded to its user- inhabitant. Initiated in the early 1960's by the team of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, other architects like Charles Moore and Robert Stern, and architectural historians like Peter Blake and Charles Jencks, have Joined the bandwagon, beginning to question, doubt and therefore denounce the principles laid down by the Masters of the Modern Movement in Architecture- Le Corbusier, Mies Van Der Rohe, and waiter Gropius. The issues are complex and at times, the findings have been contradictory, for there is a broad range of interrelated elements involving politics, industrialism, technology, big business, and soclo- economic values, to name a few, which have led to the development of the Modern Movement and its present state of crisis. This paper will focus on the architecture of the Modern Movement and its relationship to the problem of housing, which is, in itself a very broad and dynamic subject..
Housing can be divided into two categories: first, the custom house for a private client, usually from the higher Income level and.secondly, mass housing which can be subdivided into two other categories: l) the suburban dwelling for an anonymous client, usually from the middle Income level and 2) public housing, also for an anonymous client, but
usually from the lower income level. Of the two major categories, I will concentrate mainly with mass housing and Modern Architecture, for I feel that with custom housing, the client approaches the architect in a personal manner to design his or her home, and often the two share the same values and aesthetic code. The crisis between mass housing and Modern Architecture arises because of a conflict in the different 'taste' values held by members of that anonymous client or often times, the popular culture, and by the members of the Modem Architecture elite.
According to Venturi, the Modern architect resents the values of the middle-class suburbia because to the Modern architect the 'symbolic decoration of the split-level suburban sheds represents the debased, materialistic values of a consumer economy where people are brainwashed by mass marketing and have no choice but to move into the ticky-tacky, with its vulgar violations of materials and its visual pollution of architectural sensibilities, and surely, therefore the ecology.'* The vulgarity with which the Modern architect has found middle class social aspirations led to his Ignorance of the importance of the meaning of symbolism in middle class suburbia, and in fact, most of the suburban dwellings are designed, not by architects, but by developers who have carefully studied the consumer housing market. Thus,
to Venturi, the Modern architectbecause of his idealistic views of 'how society should be' and his 'Heroic' and 'Original' attitude, has taken himself out of the suburban dwelling market and, therefore, has not helped himself nor society. Instead, the Modern architect has concerned himself with the problem of housing the poor, or better known as public housing, where he can willfully Impose his values of the right way to live or of the 'good life' onto those less fortunate. This 'Heroic' and 'Original' attitude and the inability to remove his social blinders, has served to cause the Modern architect's undoing and Is ultimately the root cause of the present dilemna facing Modern architecture.
Before we can deal with the crisis, we must first understand the fervor of the time in which mass housing was conceived. The concept of mass housing coincided with the development of the Industrial Revolutions In the nineteenth century. People began to leave the rural agricultural areas for the urban Industrial areas in hopes of improving their already Impoverished condition of living from the land. Even though the social conditions of the cities were appalling, factory work still held a much superior advantage over farm work, thus encouraging the poor to flee to the city. Through this enormous migration, there arose a tremendous need to supply housing; thus architects,at the time, were able to
unfold their grandiose schemes for low cost housing and city planning, such as Ebenezer Howard's Garden City.
With the outbreak of World War I In 1914, the Great
Depression in 1929, World War II in 1939 and Reconstruction, the concept of mass housing and public housing found its greatest evolution, especially in the Europian countries where the economic and social upheaval were most felt. In this turbulent and confused period, many architects angrily protested the violence and destructiveness of the Wars. In Germany, whose economy and social structure had suffered most severely, architects such as Hans Scharoun, Bruno Taut, Kies Van Der Rohe and Walter Gropius, in reaction to turmoil of the German state, cried out for a new order of society to establish itself from the chaos of a disruptive era. In 1919, Gropius wrote: 'the old forms are in ruins, the benumbed world is shaken up, the old human spirit is invalidated and in flux toward a new form'? These architects seized this opportunity to unravel their idealist plans for society and the key to rebuilding their culture was through a new language created from technology and rationality. Kies van der Rohe wrote in 1924: 'the industrialization of building methods (is) the key problem for architects and builders. Once we succeed in
this, our social, economic, technical and even artistic
problems will be easy to solve'. These men reached powerful
positions in their society and were most Influential in the direction Modem architecture was to follow.
Thus, in this period of reconstrustion, the 'Heroic1 and 'Original' attitude of Modern Architecture developed and found its greatest impetus. Modern architects began to express their theories of a new order and new language for new era in architecture j thus they rejected all historical styles. Adolph Loos would say 'Ornament is a crime.' Mies van der Hohe, 'Less is More'. Le Corbusier, 'A house is a machine for living'. In 192L, Gropius was to write: 'The majority of citizens of a specific country have similar dwelling and living requirements, it is therefore hard to understand why the dwellings
we build should not show a similar unification as, say, our
clothes, shoes, or automobiles'. Gropius, as well as Corbusier, grasped the potential of incorporating mass production and design rationality to housing and often compared mass housing to the automobile and airplane Industries. Mass housing became a machine aesthic which derived its forms from technolgy and from the arts Cubism, Purism, and De Stilj that the Modern architects so greatly admired and considered to be part of the 'good life.' In their efforts to reform the taste valuer of the masses, the Modern architect found technology and lndustrallism a readily source, not only to supply mass housing to the outcasts and homeless of the Wars, but also
to educate them and correct their virtues. But, modern architecture's process oriented use of technology toward mass l'ous-lng, Instead of an understanding of the symbolism and meaning of 'home' to the general public was to have grim and far-reaching effects which we are only now beginning to realize.
The intent of the Modern architect may well have been humanistic in outlook, but the results have often become the contrary because their idealism was exclusive of the general population. Thus, as Charles Jencks writes: 'Modem Architecture died in bt. Louis, Missouri on July 15. 1972 at 302 p.m. (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt-Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the 'coup de grace' by dynamite. Previously it had been vandalised, mutilated and defaced by its black inhabitants, and although millions of dollars were pumped back, trying to keep it alive (fixing the broken elevators, repairing smashed windows, repainting), it was finally put out of its misery.
Designed in 1951 by Yamasaki, Pruitt-Igoe, a group of 33 eleven storey high rise dwelling units, was an ambitious public
housing project created from the U.S. Housing Act of 19^-9. It
had combined many of the principles Modem Movement, such as
Purist form, pedestrian highways in the sky, large expanses of
open space, open plan interiors, and even amenities like
laundries and nurseries? the AIA had evendistlnguised it with
an award. Yet, Frultt-lgoe remains a tragic symbol of the Modern Movement because, in its short life, it had failed to live up to the expectations of its Inhabitants, Composed in the Furist manner, 'its clean, salubrious hospital metaphor, was meant to instill, by good example, corresponding virtues in its inhabitants', but the values of its users and
their outlook on life and on what establishes a sense of home
for them could not co-exist with the Furist forms of home embraced by Modern architects. The 'Heroic' and 'Original' attitude had failed.
Architectural critics have often cited another failure of Modern architecture- the dwelling units at Fessac and similar units at Leges in France designed by one of the Masters of the Modern Movement, Le Cobusier, in the early 1900's. These units were the predecessors of the Furist language in Modern Architecture with cubical forms, flat roofs, pure white, smooth sufaces and ribbon windows. However, the inhabitants often felt that the houses were unfinished, and thus proceeded to add shutters to the windows, false cornices and eaves, pitched roofs, and other signs which they believed symbolized a sense of 'home', all destroying the intended Purist forms.
Whether or not Corbusier planned the unit's purpose in the manner shown by its tenants, from a more positive perspective, the houses offered its occupants the ability
to adapt it and reinterprete it to their liking. One resident responded, 'I bought this house in five minutes flat; I didn't like the outside at all, but 1 saw its potential at once. Its the sort of house where you could introduce all manner of combinations.'? The dwellings at Pessac and Leges had offered their inhabitants flexibility for change to fit the owners personality which is very much related to the image and meaning of 'hone' to middle-class individuals and which has so often been overlooked in theories on Modern architecture.
The residents at Pessac and Leges were not concerned with
form in itself, but for form as it affects their personality,
their social standing in their community and their own feelings as to what 'house' meant to them as individuals. On the other hand, Modern architects were Interested in form for its aesthetic implications of 'good taste', not as a symbol of personality or social status. The owners were reacting with their emotions as to what a'house is*, a reflection of their identitvj while the Modern architect saw the units as what a house means or as its underlying form and function, a place for living or shelter, not as extention of its inhabitant's personality. Thus, the Modern architects' dogma that 'a house is a machine for living* and the corresponding conflict of social values.
Modern architecture has failed to respond to the housing
needs of its users because it has refused to recognize the symbolic content and values held by popular culture. In failing t acknowledge ornament and symbolism in society, Modern architecture has contradicted itself because It has become a symbol of big business and technology} its steel and glass monumentall tv has become a hugh corporate sign enjoyed by the ruling classes. Modern architecture has become the object for an elite and has created a huge gap between itself and
popular culture; its values too misplaced for society to comprehend. To bridge the gap, architects can either educate the people about architecture, architects can educate themselves about the values of popular culture, or a combination of both.
Of the solutions, the latter two seems the most feasible.
The first has already been tried by the proponents of the
Modern Movement without success and now there seems to be a mistrust by the general public as to the purpose of architecture as evidenced by the Increasing amount of criticism. Venturi prefers to analyze the meaning behind the symbolism and ornament of popular culture and he encourages architects to do likewise. Only by examining the 'taste values' of middle class suburban America, such as Levittown U.S.A, can architects begin to understand popular culture and provide buildings with meaning to their user. Venturi and Charles Moore alike have used metaphor and symbolism to create wit and meaning in their
architecture at various levels of understanding to evoke a play of the imaglnation. Charles Jencks suggests that participation of user-inhabitant with the architect can aid in establishing an understanding between different values.
Because different people hold different values and aspirations the architect should overcode his building with metaphor and symbolism so that no matter which level an individual reads a building -from the level of pop culture, the architectural elite or somewhere in between- the individual can find meaning in that building; the builiing will speak to him at various different levels. The architect can only proceed in tils manner by opening his blinders and beginning to investigate the symbolism inherent in our Western society, not by being ignorant to societal values through idealistis theories and dogma.
The underlying point of the crisis that has developed between Modern Architecture and mass housing stems from a conflict in values between architect and user. American architects in dealing with the issue of housing must be aware of the symbolism and therefore value of the concept of 'home' to the American people; 'Hbme* represents the great American Dream, the image of country manor and cottage estate, the image of pioneering and settling spirits, the image of ownership, individuality, and personality; It represents the dreams of millions of American families. How can it be ignored?
1 Robert Venturi, Learning; Pron Las Vegas, p.153
2 Martin Pawley, Architecture Versus mousing, p. 2?
3 Peter Blake, Form Follows Fiasco, p.^-8
k Martin Pawley, Architecture Versus Rousing, p.83
5 Charles Jencks, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, p.9
6 Ibid, p. 9
? Sam Davis, The Form of Housing, p. 214
Becker, Franklin, Housing Messages. Stroudsburg, Dowden, Hutchinson, and Boss, Inc,, 197?
Blake, Peter, Form Follows Fiasco. Boston, the Atlantic Monthly Press, 19?7
Davis, Sac, The Form of Housing, New York, Van Nostrand Helnhold Company, 1977
Jencks, Charles, The Language of Post-Nodern Architecture,
New York, Rlzzoll International Publications, Inc., 1977
Moore, Charles W., Allen, Gerald, and Lyndon, Donlyn,
The Place of Houses, New York, Holt, Reinhart, and Kinston,
Pawley, Martin, Architecture Versus Housing, New York,
Praeger Publishers, 1971
Venturi, Robert, Scott Brown, Denise, and Izenour, Steven
Learning From Las Vernas, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 1977
20. Howsiftf at fossae,
lnj lc Coibiisict (fofotc)
9. A house at Lege, by Lc Corbusier (top, before; bottom, after)
The. , H*e- 'ST
flEMO C.TT-= F ^uA>*
Denver is at a critical stage in its evolution as a city. It is a "boom-town", growing very rapidly and it seems growing out of control. There is an Incredible influx of people moving into the Denver region who are creating a need to be housed. The Grant Street Cooperative is a project proposed for the North Capitol Hill area which attempts to deal with the problem of urban mixed-use-high density (1?5 units/ acre) housing. It is an Initial step to more residential within the neighborhood. As the built-form map suggests, there is much open space within the area, presumably held by speculators who are waiting for the value of the land to increase. The pressures from the expanding downtown office space eastward toward the site increase these already spiraling land values. The Grant Street Cooperative can provide the transitional edge between between downtown Denver and the North Capitol Kill neighborhood, and Increase and help to stabilize the population in the neighborhood which seemed to be losing the battle to pressures from commercial developments. The project becomes important in setting the precedents for the future growth of the neighborhood.
Figures 1,2, and 3 are massing models of the project at 175 units per acre,as prescribed by the program, contained within the volumetric constraints of the site- that is, within the two acre area and the fourteen storey height limitation. The models show the compactness of the residential units, as well as the overwhelming scale of the project in relationship to its surroundings. Within the site's context the building becomes a monument to urban
middle class living.
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Since the project's density seems to have Influenced the massive appearance of the building to its context, the density has been adjusted to 100 units per acre and the experimentation begins. To Justify an appropriate density solution the number of units is based upon British guidelines for public housing. The British standards were chosen because of the years of experience and research the British have been involved in the field of public housing. The density justification relates to the psychological and social needs of its residents, as well as the physical impact of that population on the service support systems such as schools, retail, parks, recreation facilities, etc. For example, if the the Grant Street Cooperative were to set a trend in the neighborhood for future residential developments at 175 units per acre, and the neighborhoods vacant lots were developed at the same density the new population would bring in school aged children who would overload the school system serving the area.
The massing models in figures 4 and 5 reflect schemes at 100
units per acre with the other additional facilities. However, each
scheme utilizes a highrlse with some lowrise housing. The final
solution is a high density lowrise scheme based on the philosophy
that man has an inherent need to be close to the ground. The British
public housing discourage highrise residential developments in favor
of housing not over six stories in height. The six storey height
requirement is based on several factors: 1) lowrlses are more o
econmically easy to build than special construction highrlsej
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2) a hydraulic elevatorcan be used which Is far cheaper than a geared or gearless system;3) psychologically, they feel six storeys Is the maximum height a person will walk up without taking an elevator; and U) the feeling of walking through older traditional housing in European towns and cities, and the quality of that living experience
In the final solution, there are 190 dwelling units, offices, retail shops two restaurants.(one with an outdoor cafe), health club, and daycare. Parking is all below grade; one space per unit with some additional for commercial space employees only. The major restuarant and cafe, the retail, and offices are located at the northwest corner of the site toward the downtown. The outdoor cafe overlooks a house on the opposite corner designed by architect Frank Edbrooke, and overlooks the city beyond. At the northeast corner are the comer pub and the health club. Along the north edge of the site (17th Ave.) is an arcade to shelter pedestrians from harsh winter conditions since it seldom sees direct sunlight.
The variation in the fenestration and the arcade reflect the uses contained within the building the building. The daycare is situated within the center or the heart of the site with children's play area on the southern side.
The residential units are like rowhouses stacked upon one another. They ar&ihrough units on a single loaded corridor which allow cross ventilation and light to enter on two sides of a unit.
The units are based on a 28 foot structural bay system utilizing bearing walls. The ground units that face the street have entrances
on to It to help provide surveillance of the street. In the back, these street units have small courtyards. The ground units are raised 3 feet above the sidewalk to provide the owner of a dwelling a sense of command over his domain. Units above the ground level are entered from the Interior of the site which allow a kind of visual surveillance of that area. These upper units are served by-four hydraulic elevators and open walkways on the third and fifth levels; there Is a small entry courtyard before the unit which Is raised one foot above the walkway, again trying to establish psvcological dominion of a resident over his territory. There are certain areas where the units reach seven stories in height; these are two storey loft spaces entered on one flight 6f stairs from the fifth level. These seven storey areas give emphasis to the entries into the site as well as orientation or sense of place because of the individualized gables. The seven store,'^4rea at the northwest corner symbolize*the importance of the corner as the transitional point of the neighborhood as well as the project, and it relates to the Edbrooke house across the street. The project is in tune with the scale and detail that can be found in the North Capitol
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Beers-Boguslavski, Dorothy.. "Guide.for Establishing and Operating Day Care Centers for Young Children." Child Welfare League of America, Inc., New York, 1S6S.
Davis, Sam. The Form of Housing. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.,
New York, 1977.
DeChiara,.Joseph, and Koppelman, Lee. Ilanual of Housing/ Planning and Design Criteria, Prentice-liall, Inc.,
Englewood Cliffs, II.J., 1975.
DeChiara,.Joseph, and.Callender, John Hancock, Time-Saver Standards for Building Types, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1973.
Denver Building Department, The Denver Building Code, 1976.
Denver Planning Office, North Capitol Kill Neighborhood Analysis, 1976.
Denver. Planning Office, North Capitol Hill/City Park West Plan. 1980.
Denver Zoning Department, The Denver Zoning Ordinance, 1976.
Evans,.E. Belle, Shub,.Beth, and.Weinstein, Marlene,.Day. . .
Care, How to Plan, Develop and Operate a Day Care Center, Beacon Press, USA, 1971.
Liegman, Williams, and Ellie, Architects and Planners; Stadmauer and Bailkin, Economic Development; Schnodelback, R.T., Environmett/Ecology; Farley, Richard, Urban Design;
Saegart,.Susan, Demographic/Social Planning; Nousin evelopment Strategies, Denver: the 801s, Findings and Initial Recommendations, prepared for the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, 1980.
Moore, Charles, Allen, Gerald, and Lyndon, Donlyn, The Place of Houses, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1974.
National.Oceanic.and.Atmospheric.Administration, Local Clima-olocical Data, Annual Summary with Comparative Data., Denver, Colorado, 1978.
Newman, Oscar, Defensible Space, Macmillan Co., New York,
Ramsy, Charie Graphic 1670.
s G., and Standards,
Sleeper, Harold R., A: John Wiley and Sons
15. Saegert, Susan, Downtown Housing Strategies for Denver:
Future Residents, Center for Hunan Environnency, CUNY Graduate School, New York, 1980.
Neighborhood Is Divided Over Housing Proposal
Photo by Brad Gordon
Architect Tom Clarke points out how a proposed project of the Denver Housing Authority rises above the height mandated by the Mountain View Ordineca. An areal sketch of the DHA project is also shown.
By Robert Duncan
The Denver Housing
* Authority's proposed plans for high-rise cooperative housing and neighborhood facilities in north Capitol Hill have resulted in sharp differences of opinion among various neighbors.
_ Those in the immediate area of the development are strongly supportive, while others are just as emphatically opposed. Charges and counter-charges have resulted in entrenchment of positions.
The development plans include a 28-story stepped tower and three six and seven story buildings containing 350 housing units, 20 percent of which will be for low income people. Also planned are a day care center, neighborhood stores, office space, a restaurant, and a community center with a pool. There will be fifty percent open-space and parking will be underground.
The site of the proposed development is the southeast corner of 17th Avenue and Grant Street. The properties that will be taken to make room for it will be a parking lot, a gas station, and a house converted to office space.
The crux of the disagreement is that the proposal advocated by the DHA will require a variance from the City Park Mountain View ordinance. 'This law restricts buildings on the proposed site to a height of 15 stories. The DHA, which is not a city agency and prefers to be referred to as a public benefit corporation, points out that the development will not block anyone's view of the mountains because of the taller buildings already existing downtown. The downtown area is exempted from the Mountain View ordinance.
Those who oppose the variance feel the building is too tall for the area, that a variance will set an unfavorable precedent, and, most importantly, that the DHA is trying to force its own ideas on the community without regard to what the neighborhood wants.
The only thing about which all those involved can agree is that the area desperately needs housing. Mike Sears, assistant executive director for the DHA, explained that the decision to select the Grant Street site was made only after many months of
Continued on Page 10
Continued from Page 1
studies and neighborhood meetings.
Before going ahead with the project, for which a proposal has been submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sears is looking for support from the neighborhood in getting a variance from the Mountain View law. Without that support, the status of the project is questionable.
Dan Stewart, a resident in the proposed project area and a director of the North Capitol Hill Development Corporation, is enthusiastic about the development. He believes it is essential to the economic well being of the neighborhood. In his opinion, the DHA has done an excellent job in planning and designing the project, and he strongly supports seeking a variance.
"Those neighbors living west of Downing and north of 14th Avenue will be most affected by the project and they support it," Stewart maintained. He is angered by what he feels are outsiders trying to dictate how his neighborhood should develop.
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, whose boundaries include the proposed site, recently voted to support DHAs attempts to increase housing, but not to support any variance from the Mountain View law. Marcia Hughes, CHUN's president, disagrees with Stewart, who she feels has a too narrow a view of the neighborhood.
"You have to look at all of the city in making decisions, not just at your own interests," she said. "A sound majority of our Board of Delegates voted not to support the variance," she explained, "and we feel that we do speak for the Capitol Hill neighborhood."
Tom Clarke, president of the Organization for Midtown. Improvement (OMNI), whose boundaries include the proposed project, is also opposed to the project as planned. He is upset that the DHA did not involve the neighborhood in the design process and now is "trying to sell a high-rise concept to neighborhood residents, rather than explaining the advantages and disadvantages of alternative schemes."
Clarke also questions the use of a New York architect to design the project, pointing to the apparent disregard of Denver's Mountain View law: As an architect himself, he believes that a smaller scale project, still containing 350 units, can bo attractively built without requiring any variance.
Sears, however, firmly believes that the design submitted by the architects is the best possible. "This block is a 'seam' between a downtown and a residential area," he explained, "and the plans provide a good transition between the two sections."
He defended his selection of the New York architect (Ted Liebman and Partners), with whom he once worked, stating that "Liebman had been involved with many of DHA's housing workshops as a consultant, was very familiar with Denver, and had much experience nationally and internationally in designing multifamily housing units."
As for the status of the project, it is now "on hold" explained Sears. He is waiting for a group of neighbors in the immediate i vicinity of the site to advise him whether to still seek a variance. Many of these residents, he said, "are upset over what they perceive as CHUN's unwillingness to support them." He stated that there is "noquestion the site will be purchased," but as of now he is not sure how it will ultimately develop.
'life, osi Hill
WoL. 6 hio. |$
Hwu.ii ig uUthv. ity
$25 million co-op
I I WITCH
Drawing shows the proposed Grant Street Co-op, slated for by East 16th and 17th avenues and Grant and Logan a mostly vacant two-acre site in north Capitol Hill bounded streets.
By MARK STEVENS
The Denver Housing Authority is completing plans for one of the largest residential projects ever proposed for the downtown area.
Tentatively called the Grant Street Co-op, the project is slated for a mostly vacant two-acre site in north Capitol Hill bounded by East 16th and 17th avenues and Grant and Logan streets.
Plans call for 350 residential units, a restaurant, retail shops, a recreation center, a day-care facility and offices.
St. Pauls Lutheran Church and several other buildings on the southern portion of the block will remain.
Michael Sears, assistant executive director of the DHA, confirmed Monday that the authority is in the last stage of negotiations to acquire the remaining portion of the property on the Logan Street side of thd site.
In essence,, it will be a meeting ground between the neighborhood and downtown, a real seam, said Sears. It will place a housing element in a neighborhood that is rapidly changing into offices.
The estimated cost is $25 million. The tenants, mostly middle-income, will be formed into a cooperative to purchase the development. The DHA will back out when 51- percent of the sales contracts are closed. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall.
The DHA is working with the United Bank of Denver to arrange financing. The initial equity, Sears said, will be raised with general obligation housing bonds. The master mortgage will be backed by the Government National Mortgage Association, with Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance.
Interest rates will be set at 7 Vi percent for 40 years. Initial down payments will be between |500 and $3,500, with monthly payments in the $400 to $600 range.
The DHA has prepared two designs. The first includes 342 units in a tower with staggered heights at 24, 26, and 28 stories. Three buildings would contain 108 units in stacked town houses of seven stories.
..If the DHA cannot secure a variance on the mountain-view ordinance from the city, however, it will use its option, placing 300 units in a 14-story budding that meets the view requirements but uses much more of the space on the site. If 1 the 14-story plan is used, there would be only about 50 town Jiouses.
Sears said the DHA prefers the first plan because the view ordinance would still have integrity. The tower, he said, wouldnt block any view not already blocked by downtown buildings, particularly the 36-story Amoco tower and the planned One United Bank Center. The latter is a 54-story structure west of the Grant; Street site. Construction is scheduled to begin in; January. j
Everyone recognizes that the building would take away no mountain view, Sears said; The fear is that a precedent would be set
The project falls in Councilman King Trimbles district. Trimble indicated Monday he doesnt favor a variance.
I have specific concerns about the height of that tower, said Trimble. I have no problem, with housing in that location, as long as it is not real high.
Sears said the 28-story tower concept allows 50 percent of the property to be public open space, but the lower 14-story building leaves just 10 percent for open space, with none of it available to the public.
The view is likely to be the major issue.
Its a bad idea, said Tom Clark, president of Organization for Midtown Neighborhood Improvement We were hoping that they would come in with a design that respected the ordinance. But this opens the door to high-rise buildings throughout the neighborhood.
Douglas McDonald, president of Civic Center East a group of businessmen in the area, said he wholeheartedly supports the DHA concept.
Rod Lister; an architect from the neighborhood, -also backs the DHA. Our neighborhood needs to create strong housing to counter the spread of the central business district uses -1-' parking and non-neighborhood commercial space, he said. \\ *
Lister said the 28-story tower concept is far; superior to trying to cram that amount of floor -space down on the lot, ,and added that the view variance is not a factor since the building would appear only in the silhouette of downtown.
Sears said the DHA is working with neighborhood groups. We are trying to hear out the issues, he said, and choose a course that will, benefit all. j
PÂ£^. ^ 1IB
Mayor to DHA: No Variance
By Robert Duncan
After conferring with Mayor McNichols, the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) has decided not to seek a variance from the City Park Mountain View ordinance for its Grant Street housing project.
As reported in the December edition of LIFE, DHA had proposed to build a 28-story stepped tower, which would have been in violation of the View ordinance. Buildings in thisarea... ;the project is located between Grant and Logan Streets and 16th and 17th Avenues ... are restricted to about 15 stories.
The project as now designed will consist of two 15-story buildings, which will have a total of 208 rental units, and an eight-story structure, which will have 117 co-op units.
After encountering considerable opposition from neighborhood groups, including Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, to obtaining a height variance, DHA decided to put the project "on hold" and to rethink its design.
As part of its reconsideration process, DHA met with Mayor McNichols to ask for his advice. Larry Borger, McNichol's assistant, explained the Mayor recommended the project be built within the height limitation.
Borger said McNichols was enthusiastic about having more housing in this part of the City and wanted to ensure that neither this nor future projects was slowed.
Mike Sears, assistant executive -director of DHA, characterized the final design as exciting, explaining that in addition to dwellings, there will be a variety of shops and restaurants, a day-care center, recreational facilities, open space, offices and other amenities.
Designed to be mixed income housing, downpayments on the co-ops will range from $500 to $5000; monthly payments for both the apartments and the coops will be from $400 to $700 per month.
Construction will begin this Fall.
o*4 CfififoL MILL /1e>/
Local Climatological Data
Annual Summary With Comparative Data
Narrative Climatological Summary
Denver enjoys the mild, sunny, semi-arid climate that prevails over much of the central Rocky Mountain region, without the extremely cold mornings of the high elevations and restricted mountain valleys during the cold part of the year, or the hot afternoons of summer at lower altitudes. Extremely warm or cold weather is usually of short duration.
Air masses from at lqast four different sources influence Denver's weather: arctic air from Canada and Alaska; warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico; warm dry air from Mexico and the southwest; and Pacific air modified by its passage over coastal ranges and other mountains to the west.
The good climate results largely from Denver's location at the foot of the east slope of the Rocky Mountains in the belt of the prevailing westerlies. During most summer afternoons rumuliform clouds so shade the City that temperatures of 90 or over are reached on an average of only thirty-two days of the year, and in only one year in five does the mercury very briefly reach the 100 mark.
In the cold season the high altitude and the location of the mountains to the west combine to moderate temperatures. Invasions of cold air from the north, intensified by the high altitude, can be abrupt and severe. On the other hand, many of the cold air masses that spread southward out of Canada over the plains never reach Denvers altitude and move off over the lower plains to the east. Surges of ''tld air from the west are usually moderated in their descent down the east face of the mountains, and linooks resulting from some of these westerly flows often raise the temperature far above that
__irmally to be expected at this latitude in the cold season. These conditions result in a tempering
of winter cold to an average temperature above that of other cities situated at the same latitude.
In spring when outbreaks of polar air are waning, they are often met by moist currents from the Gulf of Mexico. The juxtaposition of these two currents produces the rainy season in Denver, which reaches its peak in May.
Situated a long distance from any moisture source, and separated from the Pacific source by several high mountain barriers, Denver enjoys a low relative humidity, low average precipitation, and considerable sunshine.
Spring is the wettest, cloudiest, and windiest season. Much of the 37 percent of the annual total precipitation that occurs in spring falls as snow during the colder, earlier period of that season. Stormy periods are often interspersed by stretches of mild sunny weather that remove previous snow cover.
Summer precipitationj^about 32 percent of the annual total), particularly in July and August, usually falls mainly from scattered local thundershowers during the afternoon and evening. Mornings are usually clear and sunny. Clouds often form during early afternoon and cut off the sunshine at what would otherwise be the hottest part of the day. Many afternoons have a cooling shower.
Autumn is the most pleasant season. Local summer thunderstorms are mostly over and invasions of cold air and severe weather are infrequent, so that there is less cloudiness and a greater percent of possible sunshine than at any other time of the year. Periods of unpleasant weather are generally brief. Precipitation amounts to about 20 percent of the annual total.
Winter has least precipitation accumulation, only about 11 percent of the annual total, and almost all of it snow. Precipitation frequency, however,' is higher than in autumn. There is also more cloudi-"ss and the relative humidity averages higher than in the autumn. Weather can be quite severe, but a gener ^ rule the severity doesn't last long.
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
/ ENVIRONMENTAL DATA AND / NATIONAL CLIMATIC CENTER / INFORMATION SERVICE / ASHEVILLE. N.C.
Meteorological Dal or The Current Year
DENVER/ COLORADO STAPLETON INTERNATIONAL Ap Standard time used: MOUNTAIN Latitude 39* *5' N Longitud*: 10* 32 N Elation (wound): 523 feat Y.ar 1971
f 230*2_______________________________________________________________________ _________________________________
Month Temperature F Degree day* Base 65 *F Precipitation in Inches Relative humidity, pet. Wind i |J fi 1 |l li Number of days Average station pressure mb
Averages Extreme* Water equivalent Snow Ice pellets 1 05 1 11 (Local 1 17 time 1 23 Resultant ! If Fastest mile Sunrise to sunset J j p Â£ 9 I! li Â£ h I! Temperature *F
i! !i I l I ! 1 f f I It 1 ! h 1 5 I! SI I 1 3 i! I (b) l\ ll ll li Elev. 5332 feet m.s.1.
JAN 37.5 l*.l 25.9 55 6 0 1 1206 0 0.27 0,13 15-16 5.5 2.3 23-2* 69 53 5* 66 0* 1.0 5.9 29 NW 25 69 6.5 6 9 16 6 3 0 2 0 9 31 1 83*.7
FFB *2.2 20.5 31.* 66 23 7 17 936 0 0.27 0.13 11-12 6.2 3.1 15-16 76 5* 5* 73 0* 1.8 7.2 38 NE 20 73 6.6 * 11 13 6 2 0 8 0 7 28 0 833.*
MAR 57.0 29.6 *3.3 77 31 -3 665 0 1.07 0.67 22-23 8.6 *.5 2-3 60 39 33 53 3* 0.6 8.1 27 W 16 8* 6.4 9 8 1* 8 * 2 1 0 1 15 2 83*.*
APR 63.6 36.9 50.3 92 7 27 10 *35 0 1.82 0.86 9 4.6 *.2 9 6* 38 35 51 29 1.7 10.3 *1 W 17 78 6.* 5 1* 11 6 1 3 2 0 0 6 0 831.7
MAY 67.1 *1.7 5*.* 87 H 23 7 335 12 3. *4 1.12 30-1' 13.5 8.9 5-6 69 *3 0 61 17 1.7 9.1 5* SE 16 65 6.1 9 8 1* 12 3 5 1 0 0 2 0 833.*
JUN 80.6 59.1 66.9 95 2* 41 1 87 152 1.1* 0. *5 4-5 0.0 0.0 65 39 3* 54 16 2.0 7.6 38 N 7 67 5.7 10 9 11 7 0 7 0 it 0 0 0 837.5
JUL 90.* 59.0 7*.7 98 ?5 50 23 0 308 0.54 0.21 29 0.0 0.0 62 30 26 *3 14 1.4 8.3 3* NW 16 73 4.3 12 1* 5 5 0 11 1 22 0 0 0 838.1
AUG 85.5 53.7 69.6 9* 17 ** 15 20 171 0.24 0.11 2-3 0.0 0.0 63 31 30 52 16 1.3 8.2 *2 N 1 73 *.7 10 1* 7 7 0 6 0 12 0 0 0 838.8
SFP 81.2 *8.7 65.0 9* 6 32 21 96 103 0.07 0.07 19-20 T T 20 51 25 20 *0 17 2.* 8.1 30 S 7 83 2.5 21 7 2 2 0 1 0 7 0 1 0 837.1
OCT 68.2 37.9 53.1 86 1 28 23 366 2 1.45 1.2 21-22 2.7 1.7 22 5* 31 28 *9 16 0.9 7.2 26 NE * 7* *.0 19 5 7 3 2 0 0 0 0 8 0 839.5
NPV *9.1 21.7 37.8 78 8 8 27 811 0 0.50 0.35 25-26 6.9 *.e 25-26 66 *5 *6 63 0* 0.3 7.2 26 NW 28 56 6.0 11 6 13 5 2 0 * 0 5 2* 0 335.8
DFC 36.9 12.3 26.6 57 * -10 8 12*5 0 0.82 0.38 5-6 14.2 7.3 5-6 65 50 56 62 1* 0.9 8.4 35 NE 5 72 5.3 10 10 11 7 * 0 1 0 9 31 4 832.*
JUL DFC OCT MAY MAY
YEAR 63.3 36.1 *9.7 98 25 -10 8 6202 748 11.70 1.2* 21-22 62.2 8.9 5-6 6* 40 38 56 14 0.6 8.0 5* Si 16 72 5.* 126 115 12* 7* 21 35 20 52 31 1*6 7 835.6
Normals, Means, And Extremes
Means and extremes above are from existing and comparable exposures. Annual extremes have been exceeded at other sites in the locality as follovsi Highest temperature 105 in August 1878; maximum monthly precipitation 8.57 in May 1876| minimum monthly precipitation 0.00 in December 1881 maximum precipitation in 24 hours 6.53 in May 187 maximum monthly snowfall 57.4 in December 1913f maximum snowfall in 24 hours 23.0 in April 1885i fastest mile of wind 65 from West in May 1933k Â£
(a) Length of record, years, through the current year unless otherwise noted, based on January data.
(b) 70 and above at Alaskan stations.
* Less than one half.
NORMALS Rased on record for the 1941-1970 period.
DATE OF AN EXTREME The most recent 1n cases of multiple occurrence.
PREVAILING HIND DIRECTION Record through 1963.
HIND DIRECTION Nunerals Indicate tens of degrees clockwise from true north. 00 Indicates calm.
FASTEST MILE MIN0 Speed Is fastest observed 1-minute, value when the direction Is 1n tens of degrees.