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Acclimate is a project about the power of taking urban spaces from cars and giving it back to people. Located in downtown Bremerton, Washington, this project is the adaptive reuse of a three story, 500 spot parking garage. Originally built in the 1960s out of reinforced concrete, the structure’s original purpose was a J.C. Penney. In the late 20th century, the structure was converted into a parking garage. With a footprint of 80,000 square feet, the opportunity to positively impact the fabric of downtown is tremendous.
The project is designed as two distinct phases. The first phase involves creating public programming within the existing 152,000 square foot building. With a floor, structure, and a roof already in place and an open floor plate, these spaces would be able to be built out with relatively low investment. The second phase involves constructing four residential towers with a total area of 48,000 square feet, bringing the total usable area up to roughly 200,000 square feet. The project pushes the boundaries of what’s possible while remaining rooted in the economics and schedule constraints of developing close to a quarter of a million square feet.
The core concept of the project is the strategic and minimal intervention in an existing structure to create something environmentally sustainable, economically feasible, socially inclusive, and aesthetically beautiful. The primary strategy is the decision to reuse the existing structure. Given the world’s existing building stock and rapid urbanization of cities all over the world, adaptive reuse as a sustainable strategy is as timely as ever. In this project, reusing the concrete alone will save over 1.1 million pounds of CO2, equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 114 cars.
Fifty residences are elevated in four different towers to provide views of the surrounding context. The ultra-minimal 1,200 square feet footprint cuts down on demolition and provides the unique opportunity for every resident to have an entire floor plate as their residence. The minimal structure of the towers is accomplished through a reinforced concrete core that houses the towers’ elevator, stairs, utility chase, and a bathroom on each floor. LVL beams are fixed to the core and support the 5-ply CLT floor slabs. By leveraging the Pacific Northwest’s supply of wood, the project cuts down on embodied energy and uses a renewable resource native to the area. A double skin facade with operable shades controls heat gain in the summer and captures heat in the winter. Deep overhangs block the summer sun while allowing in the lower winter sun angles. The result is passively cooled and heated towers with dynamic façades.
Acclimate aims to be a model for maximum gains with minimal intervention. Unfortunately, many architectural projects fail due to their heavy handedness or over ambitious scope. Acclimate is an example of a small intervention that would yield incredible results for the city of Bremerton. At such an important location in Bremerton and with the rise in alternative forms of transportation, it is critical that this building be given back to the community.
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