As a part of the Master Plan to reposition a large tract of land, a series of buildings are planned around hundred year old tree groves and a historic mansion. The preservation and enhancement of the greenery plays a central role in differentiating this mixed-use development. The apartment building, the second phase of the Master Plan, interfaces with the grounds of the historic mansion, its front garden with mature trees and other structures that will be redeveloped over time.
Preservation of both the trees and the historic mansion, and integrating the new building without diminishing the light and ventilation of surrounding buildings become the central challenge. Additionally, the design of the apartment building itself respects the quality of existing landscape without competing with the Mansion. Considering the constraints, the apartment building is chamfered from the top, minimizing the shadows during the winter while making it look smaller in size, compatible with the scale of the historic mansion.
The resulting form, while retaining straight façades on east and west sides, steps back gradually on the north and south sides – the overall massing of the building conjuring images of a ‘bluff’ overlooking flat land. South terraces are shallower in depth to allow winter sun to penetrate deep into the interior. In contrast, the north terraces are deeper given the chamfered angle necessary to avoid shadows being cast on the grounds of the development further north.
To minimize the visual impact of the building, and enhance the “green” appeal of the overall development, series of planter beds punctuate the north and south façades, eventually culminating in a roof garden – almost like a blanket of greenery draped over a ‘bluff’. Thus the name Green Bluff. Introducing greenery on these facades provides privacy while functioning as storm water retention areas. The landscape is an essential feature of the architecture and to the project’s identity.