What we were able to do, however, was convince him with beautiful concept drawings that a low-rise apartment complex would indeed be an attractive option.
Our design is a walk-up apartment building with three levels. Each level contains two 1-bedroom apartments, one on each side of the central staircase that serves as the spine of the building design.
The building runs sideways across the section from west to east, with its entrance on the south side. We positioned it slightly on an angle, so that the eastern block is stepped back a bit to allow for a bit of sun on the west side during the day.
Having the main entry on the south side allowed us to have the outdoor areas for each apartment north facing – small back gardens for the ground level apartments and balconies for the homes on the second and third levels.
Approaching the apartment building from the road, you see two red brick wings (west and east) connected by a central spine – a solid pre-cast/plaster stairwell painted in a dark charcoal colour. This central spine is one of the unique design features of this project. Its curved edge and full height glazing give the building a slightly art deco style and create a real statement piece for the building’s entrance.
The dark charcoal colour of the central spine is echoed in the openings and framing details on the exterior for each apartment. The windows are another eye-catching design feature of this property.
For the rooms where we wanted more privacy, such as the bedroom and bathroom, we designed windows that are recessed in with flared edges, painted in the dark charcoal colour. This creates a beautiful accent on the windows and allows for more light in and a more open feel. But we haven’t incurred the cost of large expensive windows and we haven’t sacrificed any privacy for a design aesthetic.
For the outdoor living spaces out back, we pushed out the window frames – from the dining room on the side of the building and from the living area out the back. Also in the dark charcoal, this creates another set of frames, a statement to delineate the outdoor living areas. For the upper levels, the dark framing surrounds the sliding doors that lead out to the balconies and create the appearance that the balcony is being held up by a large angle frame.
Inside, each apartment has a simple layout, with one bedroom, living/dining area, kitchen and bathroom. The clean, elegant lines of the layout, along with the clever design work on the windows and balconies, together make every abode feel open and inviting.