2007 MFE Awards
Project of the Year: Green
The 12-unit Silverado Flats, tucked on a quiet cul de sac just 2 miles from the University of Arizona campus, is a brilliant example of how to go green in style. Sure, the sustainable elements offer essential energy and water savings. But the carefully designed green features also serve as focal points of the community and help create a chic, ultra-modern vibe.
The most noticeable elements: 10 towering metal rainwater harvesting tanks scattered throughout the grounds and the photovoltaic solar panel strategically placed over the small building housing laundry facilities. “Rather than hide the solar panel on the roof, we used it as a canopy,” says Rob Paulus, a principal at Tucson, Ariz.-based Rob Paulus Architect. “We try to think of the building as a teaching tool.”
Silverado Flats certainly offers a number of valuable lessons on the art of green building. Lesson No. 1: Going green doesn't have to break the bank. Faced with a limited budget for the small project, the architect firm incorporated many green elements—such as including a highly efficient building envelope and passive solar orientation—with little or no extra upfront costs. Plus, the roof and most of the exterior walls are made of durable steel, which has a high recycled content. “It's all about smart planning,” Paulus says. “We created a shell that doesn't leak and doesn't create mold problems.”
Young professionals and students are drawn to the property, which stands in sharp contrast to the neighboring ‘60s-era apartment buildings. “The whole design effort was to create this micro-environment,” Paulus says. The roofs are noticeably sloped to maximize natural light, while exposed concrete floors, dramatic ceiling heights, exposed steel elements, and large window openings create a loft-like atmosphere on the interior. The finishing touch: horizontal and vertical apertures on the buildings' façades that recognize the rising and setting sun.
- Builder: Epstein/Fenton
- Developer: Silverado Flats
- Architect: Rob Paulus Architect
- Opened: March 2007
- Units: 12
- Unit Mix: One- and two-bedrooms
- Prices: $750 to $1,050
Judge's Verdict“THE PIONEERING PROJECTS IN SUSTAINABLE MULTIFAMILY HOMES AND COMMUNITIES ARE THE ONES THAT CAPTURE COST SAVINGS AS WELL AS THE IMAGINATIONS AND PREFERENCES OF THEIR RESIDENTS. THIS WORK ON SILVERADO FLATS DISTINGUISHED ITSELF ON A PRAGMATIC AND AN AESTHETIC LEVEL.”
—John McManus, editorial director, MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE