Ozark Podium is the winning entry for Site 1 in the Housing Northwest Arkansas international design competition. The project proposes a multi-family housing model that uses simple building forms at multiple scales to integrate new development into the “small-town character” of Bentonville’s neighborhood fabric. Ozark Podium is designed around a framework of seven priorities.
SCALE: create a range of building sizes that allow the developer(s) to transition from the single-family neighborhood context to multi-story mixed-use buildings.
NEIGHBORHOOD LANDSCAPE: contribute to the surrounding neighborhood character which is defined by trees, lawns, parks, and trails that integrate into the regional network of natural amenities.
REDUCE PARKING IMPACT: satisfy parking requirements by introducing on-street parking and aggregating the remainder of spaces under a simple podium. The aggregated parking area doubles as a flexible landscape for events such as farmer’s markets.
SIMPLE FORMS: connect straightforward building forms to the traditional vernacular architecture of the region by arranging simple forms on a landscape to create a rich and varied set of experiences similar to the arrangement of small buildings on an Ozark farmstead.
KIT-OF-PARTS: develop a system of dwelling units that can be collected into housing units of various sizes and combined to fit multiple sites.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: integrate sensible planning techniques that align with environmentally responsible best practices such as use of renewable materials, increased building insulation, and natural ventilation.
COMMUNITY ECONOMY: encourage local economic opportunities for small businesses by incorporating appropriately scaled live-work commercial spaces and the potential for small local builders to participate in the construction of the wood-framed project.
Recent Clarifications of the building code have allowed fire separation walls to be “flipped” horizontally thus allowing buildings of different construction types to stack one over the other as separate buildings. This intriguing proposition has quickly been adopted by urban developers because of its favorable cost implications and the ability to build inexpensive wood-framing over garages and commercial spaces. Ozark Podium modifies this approach by stacking buildings and landscapes to create an innovative and contextually responsive medium density housing solution.
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