Sunday, June 22, 2008

CORA Townhouse Design Charrette - June 28th, Gould Hall, 9:00am - 1:30pm

Last week the CORA Multi-Family Zoning group met to discuss the presentation that we prepared (thanks to Brandon Nicholson for his stellar presentation) for the PLUNC meeting. Our intent had been to simply present collected work that showed the upside potential of creating a more flexible zoning code - get people excited about the new housing types that it would enable.

As the conversation went on, it became apparent that the group had a lot of concerns about our general approach. While the new code might be more flexible, it isn’t actually flexible enough to allow any of our example projects to be built without design review. At the same time, we weren’t entirely convinced that the new code had been road tested to see what kind of new doors it was opening up for an unscrupulous or indifferent developer.

After much discussion we came to a decision: We are going to sponsor a design charrette to look at best solutions for multi-family housing in Seattle. We’ll start with the most typical Seattle lot sizes & configurations, throw away the code, & simply design the best housing solutions that we can for each lot type. At the end of the day we’ll have a pattern book of best solutions for dealing with housing, parking & open space issues from which we can say: “If our zoning code doesn’t allow this kind of development, then we know we have a problem”. Once we’ve illustrated the design side of the equation we think it’ll be a lot easier for us (and others) to evaluate & critique the specific language of the proposed new zoning code

The charrette will take place Saturday June 28, 9:00am -1:30pm in the Gould Hall Atrium. A design brief will be handed out at 9:00am, & we’ll break up into groups to study the various lot types outlined in the brief. We’ll break at noon for a quick lunch & then wrap up with presentations & critiques. We will document the work product of the charrette, share it on this blog, & present our findings to the city council PLUNC committee.

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