The purpose of this collection is to illustrate the process of conceptual grading at the macro scale and provide proof that residential development can occur on relatively steep terrain, while maintaining individual dwelling units and outdoor private spaces. At Calthorpe Associates, I was tasked on a regular basis with solving these “extreme” conditions using innovative solutions throughout single-family neighborhoods.
As was common at Issaquah Highlands, a new town community outside of Seattle, WA, we approached existing 12% to 15% slopes by working with the land, not against it. While terracing front yard gardens and foundation walls, and stepping the individual homes down the steep slope, we stuck to our “new urban” values, such as celebrating the facade of the home with front porch dominance, front door public access, and diminishing the impact of the garage by incorporating alley-fed access to the rear. Referred to as the “Hillside Cottage”, this single-family home yields a density range of 10-12 du’s/acre.
PUBLIC PARK DESIGN / CITY OF ALAMEDA, CA / KEN KAY ASSOCIATES / CLIENT-CATELLUS URBAN DESIGN / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE COMMUNITY PARK PLANNING 02
Located along the Oakland/Alameda estuary at the northern edge of Alameda, a large concrete wharf once used by the U.S. military sits abandoned and unused. A prime location for a public open space, community developer, Catellus has contracted with the City of Alameda to build a residential neighborhood that will face onto a new public plaza and promenade. Working through a public process with Catellus, the City of Alameda, and BCDC, Ken Kay Associates designed a 4.5 acre multi-use public space for all residents and visitors to enjoy.
An extensive public review process involving City of Alameda agencies, and BCDC (Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission) covered issues ranging from public waterfront access, sea level rise, and material "weight concerns" on an existing, seismically compromised concrete wharf. BCDC considers "public access" paramount, and with future sea level rise concerns, design solutions were proposed to allow public park access at the highest projected levels. In addition, new design elements (pavers, walls, and plantings) needed to be carefully considered due to weight limits, presenting a challenge to great design solutions.