The recent development of the Franklinton Arts District is an example of revitalization efforts by the City of Columbus to strengthen the urban fabric near downtown. This area contained our graduate studio site, spanning across Broad Street from the Scioto River to West Chapel Street. The site was provided to us by our professors. The unique location was 115 feet wide by 2,200 feet long with the potential to connect the north riverfront bike trail and parkland to the surrounding neighborhood.
Christina Tefend, Clark Sabula and I deployed an urban development program containing 250 units of multi-family housing, 45,000 square feet of commercial space, 60,000 square feet of amenities, 2.3 acres of public terrace, and 100,000 square feet of parking.
The Development Process
Our team started by looking at the scale of our program on the Franklinton-area site and how we wanted to organize our development program. First, we placed the commercial program around Broad Street to offer a strong connection to the surrounding context through a singular, main “node.” This node serves as the central point of origin for the development. We created two more nodes on the north and south which provides access to several elements.
Next, we stacked the amenity space above to allow accessibility but separation from the most public areas and a connection to the residential units placed above.
We began shifting the planes on the ground to create frontage for the commercial and shifting above to allow light and air in to our single-loaded corridors. Sustainable design was taken into account throughout the project with elements such as a ground source heat pump, passive ventilation, and daylighting.
Access to Neighborhoods
The long-standing flood wall and rail lines had cut off assets from Franklinton’s local population. Rather than forming a barrier, we wanted to focus on creating a space that interacted with the surrounding environment. In an effort to accomplish this, we first concentrated on the terrace level of the structure. The floors above the terrace level were raised significantly, giving this new ground plane some room to breathe and cultivated a more welcoming environment. The effort concentrated towards programming this space was to make this terrace level an oasis above the streets.
To speak to the same scale as the built environment surround the Franklinton site, we also started to melt down the residential floors onto the ground level. This move created a more familiar street presence in the neighborhood.
It’s in the Details
The third major move we detailed was the ability to have seemingly “floating” floor plates. This free plan was able to be integrated by incorporating post-tension concrete slabs along the first two floors, and a truss system above. This allowed for more shifting of the floor plates, a major motif throughout the project. The shifting of planes was deployed across multiple scales of the project from circulation paths to floor finishes.
Untimely I think this project was successful by constantly interacting with other disciplines and staying engaged beyond the site itself. We wanted to use this experience to design a building that had an impact on an entire Franklinton community.
Credit to fellow students and teammates Cristina Tefend and Clark Sabula.
Nathan Lephart, LEED AP BD+C provides technical services in the commercial architecture division of ms consultants and has worked with the firm for more than three years. Currently, Nathan is completing the Master of Architecture (MArch) program at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture. Additionally, Nathan was recognized in an international skyscraper competition in 2015.