Pavers in Action
Winners from the 2008 BIA's Brick In Architecture Awards Competition demonstrate how clay pavers epitomize the principles of New Urbanism.
Clay pavers are also instrumental in helping architects and designers with green building design and sustainable strategies. Clay brick is the most sustainable green-building material, with its combination of natural ingredients, low-maintenance requirements, extreme durability, little on-site construction waste, and ability to be recycled or re-used.
Additionally, flexible or permeable clay pavements can reduce storm-water runoff and filter pollutants. Light-colored clay pavers can reflect a significant amount of solar energy, thereby reducing the heat island effect associated with some urban areas. Flexible clay pavements allow relatively easy access to utilities or services that lie beneath the pavement, and the surface can often be restored with the original materials with no change in appearance.
Clay pavers can play a crucial role in projects that incorporate the principles of New Urbanism, a multidisciplinary approach to restoring walkable, neighborhood-based developments to our communities.
As the winning projects from the 2008 Brick In Architecture Awards "Paving & Landscape Architecture Design" category demonstrate, the use of genuine clay pavers helps transform underutilized structures and blocks into vibrant, pedestrian friendly, streetscape destinations that enrich the life of community residents and visitors.
Cady's Alley, Washington, D.C.
In the Georgetown neighborhood of our nation's capital, a single developer issued a daunting design challenge: Convert a number of small, disjointed parcels on an historic city block into a unified, hip, mixed-use destination. Five different architectural firms were commissioned to design the buildings. Together, they created a combined pedestrian, retail and residential space where the major open area throughout the parcels is Cady's Alley, a historic passageway in Georgetown's industrial past and now one of the "hottest" shopping destinations in the nation's capital.
Cady's Alley presented important design considerations. To start, it is different from other "streets" in Georgetown. The streets drain to the sides, while alleys drain to the center. With this in mind, the drainage section of the alley seeks to dramatize the passage of water down the centerline to carry the water to the alley's ends.
Additionally, it was important the designers to create the alley in such a manner that its historic character and status were respected and celebrated, although no original paving materials remained in the area. Following the example of the brick and cobblestone alleys throughout Georgetown, the decision to use brick grounded the newly designed alley to its historic past.
Third, it was necessary for the alley to serve as a pedestrian zone as well as allow for heavy vehicles to make deliveries and remove trash. To facilitate these divergent uses, the sides of the alley were paved in brick turned on edge in mimic of a sidewalk. This edge-laid brick deepens the paving, making it stronger for inevitable truck traffic, while also making the paving pattern more interesting and of smaller, more appropriate scale for pedestrians.
Today, the redeveloped Cady's Alley successfully blends function and form, creating a hardscape that properly reflects the spirit of its storied, historic setting.
To recast downtown Oak Park as an economically vibrant shopping, dining and gathering destination for the region, the village of Oak Park decided to remove a 1970s-era pedestrian mall in its downtown business district. At the same time, the village kept an adjacent street as a pedestrian mall and reopened adjacent and adjoining streets to vehicular traffic. Thus began the Marion Street Streetscape project: a nationally acclaimed testament to New Urbanism and visionary planning practices.
Village officials and the streetscape committee decided that the pedestrian mall conversion should create a unique space that would rival any other streetscape project in Chicagoland. With this in mind, the design team specified all natural materials such as genuine clay pavers, as well as green-building design principles, so that the new project not only would stand the test of time, but also would be as environmentally friendly as possible. With extreme durability and sourced through local manufacturers, clay brick pavers were a strong contributor to the sustainable practices used on this project.
The outcome of this project is nothing short of spectacular. The clay brick pavers provide a pedestrian friendly environment while easily accommodating the vehicular traffic necessary for the vitality of the area. With an overwhelming positive response from the community, the new streetscape will be a showcase for the village for decades to come.
As a result of significant interest in the New Urbanism movement, community officials in Durham, N.C., put forth a plan to improve the streetscapes in the downtown corridor. The idea was to make downtown more pedestrian, bicycle and overall transportation friendly, in an effort to attract residents, consumers and visitors. The ambitious project creates an environment of new offices, homes and business from existing buildings and urban centers. As part of this initiative, streets and sidewalks were reconstructed using genuine clay pavers.
On a practical level, clay pavers were used because of their durability, low maintenance and versatility. For example, clay pavers are naturally colorfast and will not fade over time, unlike other segmental paving materials. Clay pavers also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and can be easily removed for underground maintenance and repair. Clay pavers work extremely well in both pedestrian and vehicular applications, and the variety of available installation systems allows the streetscape to attain a unifying and beautiful look. regardless of the conditions of the surface and/or soil underneath the pavement. Put together, this combination of durability, flexibility and versatility leads to superior long-term economic value.
American Tobacco Campus Historic Redevelopment, Phases I and II, Durham, N.C.
For decades, attempts to revitalize the old industrial American Tobacco Historic Campus into a thriving, mixed-use development had proven less than successful. In fact, many in the community thought it would be more cost effective to tear down the old plant, which dates back to 1874, and rebuild. However, in early-2002, a local company chose to follow a vision and invest in its community in order to preserve and reincarnate a significant part of history on which the community was built.
The major aesthetic goal for this project was to create an active exterior environment that turned the campus into an exciting place, while preserving its historic character. Selected for its ability to unify the redevelopment, brick with a modern color blend was used as the primary building material. This blend of colors picked up the subtle color influences of the surrounding individual buildings. Because of its modular size, the design team was able to create classic patterns with bold geometry fitting of an old industrial campus. In addition, brick walls, walks and bridges connect the surfaces and amenities to the vertical rise of the brick buildings.
Today, one company's vision to rejuvenate a community has come to fruition with the successful redevelopment a mixed-use "work, play, and live" campus. The new environment has served as a catalyst for the area, resulting in continued renewal in the surrounding areas. In short, this project is an outstanding example of building re-use and epitomizes New Urbanism.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 12:19|