Fargo, ND. 2010. Mixed use residential, commercial and retail
Aluminum unitized curtain wall, steel and concrete structural frame.

This proposal for a mixed use development in downtown Fargo, ND looks for a new way to approach speculative development for our uncertain times. The project brief demonstrated an uncertainty in the state of the local market. Contemporary building involves multiple genres of risk at once: financial risk, structural risk, environmental risk, urbanistic risk…etc. They cannot all be mitigated at once , and mitigating one risk may in fact incur another. This project looks at how architecture both as a profession and creative endeavor can use risk and a tool for innovation.

The vehicle for exploration is the standard floorplate. By controlling factors such as height, depth and column grid, this project creates a flexible floorplate system that can adapt to different site and market conditions. Over time, commercial floors can be retrofitted as residential to adapt to future markets. The floorplate is designed to allow maximum day lighting and natural ventilation to lessen the energy load. The solution trades strict efficiency for flexibility and robustness.

The cladding system is a unitized aluminum curtain wall that is dry assembled, allowing it to be dismounted and reused on another site should that eventuality emerge. It’s patterning of solid and glazed elements correspond to the use behind it. Residential floors have rectangular grid, while commercial floors have a hexagonal grid to allow greater light penetration. The two patterns merge in the “flex” floors.