Denver’s west side – Highland, Lower Highland and Jefferson Park neighborhoods – continue to be among the most highly desirable places to live. Because of its desirable location near downtown, what was once known as a more affordable area is now experiencing rapidly escalating prices, hindering younger buyers from being able to afford a place of their own. OZ and NYC-based Tessler Developer have tackled this challenge with a new concept at 26th and Alcott.
OZ was tapped to design a new 14-story building that is a mix of for-sale condos and for-rent apartments. This mix is important because the goal of the project is to offer an affordable entry point into the housing marketing for first-time home buyers, set in a desirable, historic Denver neighborhood. Tenants can rent at reasonable levels until they are able to ‘move up’ to purchase a unit which also reflects an affordable market-rate price. The aim of this project is to enable younger buyers a way to jump on the home-ownership ladder.
The modern architectural character of the building will stand apart from the traditional multifamily stucco and brick occurring around Denver, instead recalling the clean lines and crisp forms of a Mondrian painting. OZ lead Designer Ari Irfano elaborates, “Piet Mondrian was a Dutch modernist who is best known for his 1920’s paintings where he reduces shapes to lines to create abstract pieces with asymmetrical balance. OZ has taken some traditional building ideas, such as proportion and base-middle-top articulation, and they have threaded into the building façade’ the theories of Mondrian. The 14-story building uses basic vertical and horizontal elements of architecture to create a three-dimensional expression of the opposing forces of positive and negative.”
With city views to the east and mountain views to the west, this location has an opportunity to supply a product that is not currently in the Denver market. At level four, expansive outdoor terraces provide gathering spaces for future residents. These amenities also have views and are being well detailed to provide enjoyable space for outdoor entertainment and socializing. The massing of the building steps down to the west, reacting to the more residential scale of the surrounding neighborhood. This allows a lower 4-story portion of the building that allows sunlight to reach the outdoor amenities and maintain views from the tower above.
The ideas on the exterior of the building are being threaded through into the interiors by the OZ Interiors team. “We are playing off of the clean lines and abstraction asymmetry to provide a story for the common areas and the residential units.” Explains Laura Hilpipre. The building will feature separate entryways, amenities, and gathering spaces for the condo owners and for the apartment tenants. Fitness and wellness amenities on-site are substantial, and high-end interior design elements run throughout. Additionally, tenants will have access to the buildings fully covered underground parking garage, concealed on all four sides by residential units so that the structure is never seen by the surrounding neighborhood.
While this building was originally proposed with greater height, more residential units and additional square footage, OZ Architecture’s thoughtful design affords the space all the desired modern amenities while bringing the previous plan down in scale. The concept plan was approved by the City of Denver recently and construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2019.