Home > school, UT SolarD > studio review and UT SolarD status

studio review and UT SolarD status

i’ve been close to completely absent from studio for the past week and a half. my group has marched forward and developed the scheme that we brainstormed about the redevelopment of the Plaza Saltillo District in East Austin. the land to be developed is owned by CapMetro and is intended to become a high density development for the transit stop located there (pending the new commuter rail). high density = federal development funds. but we don’t really dig the uberdensity. it’s completely feigned – it’s like sticking Greenwich Village in the middle of upstate NY. density should grow organically. this density dropped in the middle of a low-income Hispanic neighborhood would – no matter what percentage of low-income housing they retain in the new development – bring in high income white people. we don’t think that gentrification is a bad thing, we support it and realize it is the natural way of the market. we just feel that this development would, in one fell swoop, hurt this neighborhood in such a way that it wouldn’t be able to retain its current identity.

instead, we did a study on Granny Flats / garage apartments, and discovered that if such development was encouraged in addition to a lower density development on the alotted land, we could maintain the same density that would be concentrated in the alotted land alone under the current design. we think our way is better for a number of reasons:

  • density will slowly and organically increase in the existing neighborhood
  • families will stay close to each other – the neighborhood is nearly 90% hispanic and highly values proximity to family.
  • granny flat rents can provide extra income to neighborhood families
  • we’ve also proposed the re-routing of a number of bus lines to converge on Plaza Saltillo. that would make the plaza a transit hub instead of just a train stop. that would provide ease of transfer to commuters, and turn the plaza into landmark.

    our design keeps the existing train tracks running through the middle of the site, and puts infill development on both sides of it. an elevated greenway will cover the train and provide access for the new Lance Armstrong bikeway as well as useable space to residents. retail is located on ground level and on the greenway level.

    now, UT SolarD: the house is completely assembled on the National Mall! yesterday evening all of the modules were successfully craned onto the rails and rolled together. today they were again rolled apart, roofs were lifted, and the mechanical chases and clerestory windows were installed. tomorrow solar panels and batteries will be installed, then evacuated hot water tubes, then zinc and trim. word is our house is looking pretty damn good!

    Categories: school, UT SolarD
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