Mixed-use buildings are inherently complex. They require a detail-oriented design team that can identify constraints and resolve them efficiently. At Hoffmans Architecture, we view our mixed-use service as an extension of our residential services. Like luxury homes, mixed-use buildings require an attention to detail. There are external and internal constraints that dramatically impact the building’s design and feasibility. Before any design work is started we provide an initial zoning and building code analysis. We couple this data with our client’s project goals to generate a project matrix and guidelines.
Structural systems in mixed-use buildings vary to accommodate building size, fire-code requirements, and use requirements. Understanding and embracing structural limitation, such as a concrete post-tension slab, a steel moment frame, and a wood shear-wall, enhances each design. In our Cubix project, cantilevered post-tension slabs enabled the front facade to switch from interior to exterior spaces. In our Camas Mixed-Use project, wood shear walls are integrated into the front facade brick pilasters. Intuitively understanding up front what structural system is required informs our designs with positive, proactive structural solutions.
The most challenging aspect of urban mixed-use buildings is the stratification of different uses. Stacking apartments over a parking structure presents a completely different set of constraints than stacking above retail spaces. Empirically understanding what dimensions are needed for efficient space planning is key for each use combination. Rules-of-thumbs are not good enough. This requires a cohesive strategy that encompasses use types, structural system, and code requirements.
Because our mixed-use buildings vary in type, size and location, we take the time to find the most appropriate consultants. We’ve used structural engineers who specialize in two-way slabs, civil engineers who specialize in on-site storm water retention, and building envelope consultants who specialize in custom fenestrations. To best serve our clients, we assemble a team specifically suited for each project.