Paulina Wilkowski of Connect Architecture takes us through the preliminary and schematic design phase of a Tesla showroom and parking garage.  She will review the site plan and discuss the opportunities and constraints they faced. She will also discuss what attributes need to be added to the site, as well as the building layout.

Practical Applications

My name is Paulina Wilkowski with Connect Architecture and today I will be talking about the preliminary and schematic design phase for a Tesla showroom and parking garage.

You have this very sloped grade, and you have these railroad tracks that have future development planned for them, and you have proximity to an intersection, so, it kind of starts to limit where you place your curbs, and when your exits and entrances to the building. So, the property lines here, we're gonna build out, the idea is to build out to the property lines. Now, the city has asked that we upgrade the sidewalks as part of our development, which means that our property line needs to be moved back 15 feet from the actual current curb.

So from a site prospective, first there is an increased kind of pedestrian visibility opportunity, so from the requirements of the city, there's going to be site improvements that make the street more viable and more walkable, more approachable. The development on this site is automotive showroom and parking garage, so the opportunity is to create a frontage along this road that is pretty limited. It is a piece that will anchor kind of a future development in the city.

The client wanted you to be able to enter from McAdam, which is high street here, and ramp down within the building down to Moody Street, which is back here, and given the grades, and the kind of ramping that you can do, and the limitations on percentage of ramping, becomes a challenge, in terms of how much program you can fit, what your floor to floor heights might be, and how you actually enter and exit the site. The other issue is that this street, McAdam, is really high-traffic street, it's kind of used as a highway, although it's not supposed to be, but that's how the cars move on it. And so, having a curb cut off of this, and the directionality that cars come in and out of the curve are an issue in trying to figure out the best flow into and out of the building.

Regarding the site, the qualitative and quantitative attributes, the quality of the site and the kind of upgrades that we have to make are this 15-foot zone at the street, that would include a furnishing zone that includes trees and landscaping, we would need to provide a preservation of an existing tree, as well as provide planting and a sidewalk that has an increased depth. At the East side of the building, we will need to provide on-sight storm water treatment. So, that would be a number of landscape strategies that we could employ to treat all of the kind of, run-off water off the roof.

So with zoning the first thing in Portland that we do, Portland has a really great online resource called Portland Maps where each parcel is linked to a map and you can see all of the jurisdictions, zoning, owner, permits, everything related to that parcel if there's anything out there, it is digitally stored here. So, our site, which is shown right here, outlined in blue, you can start to see that it is in a central commercial zone. You can then understand that the CX central commercial is linked to a series of requirements that must be met for any development on that site.

So, the automaker said, "Hey, we need like 5,000 square feet of a showroom "and actually, since we're servicing the cars down the road, "it would be really great to be able "to have a stock of cars parked next to the showroom "that we can kind of circulate through the showroom." In addition, the owner saw the opportunity that if we are going to develop essentially a parking garage and a showroom for this automaker, might as well have some parking provided for general use, so the workers, et cetera. So, it becomes kind of a mixed program in that there will be a showroom, offices, special parking for the automaker and then parking for the general public. So, our first plans really are determined and driven by the footprint of the parking and the requirement for what the stalls are, the isles, the drive turn radius.

If the building changes use to an office tenant in the future and the perforated siding can be removed, the walls can be infilled and you would have a kind of floor to floor that still is good for office use or commercial retail use. Another element here is that the city requires us to provide an amenity space within the parking garage, so whether it's small retail space for coffee or a bike changing station, those kinds of uses would require higher, taller ceilings. So we tried to go with the most thin and efficient system that would allow us to have that tall floor to floor for future change of use.

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