Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Solar Plaza Fargo in Fargo, North Dakota, USA by ShortList_0 Design Group (designed using Maya and Revit)
March 23rd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
PROPOSAL FOR FARGO, ND: This new downtown destination is a place to congregate, shop, eat, live and work. It also generates its own solar power. The Solar Plaza’s unique sculptural shape, with sweeping solar panel surface and curvaceous wraparound glass, adds a new dimension to the progressive development of renewable resources.
Site design philosophy retains the pedestrian-scale experience at street level, especially the Broadway approach, while consolidating its own vertical mass with adjacent existing tall buildings. This creates an open site feel with minimal impact on the low rise nature of lower Broadway. Street level mass is kept to two-story brick retail, thereby maintaining the storefront feeling. A roll of glass sweeps upward with low mass transparency on North and East elevations, providing interior daylight without heat or glare from direct sun.
Five upper residential floors feature favorable northern light, ideal for live/work studios easily configurable for apartments or single floor and duplex studios. Office space occupies the third floor and existing bank tower. The bank building remains onsite with existing bank operations on both street and second levels.
Parking for 400 cars lies below the Solar Building and plaza, accessed next to the bank drive-through thereby limiting all vehicle traffic to 5th Street N. Retail stores, services and a restaurant serve the public, building residents and offices though both storefront and building lobby access. An arc shaped single story building frames the circular civic plaza to maintain pedestrian scale and is ideal for a cafe, small restaurant and walk-by retail.
An inviting respite from Broadway, the large plaza has ample room for benches, cafe tables, chairs, plantings and perhaps a central fountain or sundial. Wide exposure from Broadway, mid-block access on perimeter streets, and Solar Building lobby access ensure public visibility.
The Solar Building is shaped for maximum solar energy harvest throughout the day in all seasons, minimizing the effect of morning shadows cast by the nearby hotel. Its parametric design emerges from seasonal sun angle and time-of-day shadow patterns from adjacent structures. The building skin consists of frameless PV solar panels, a fully integrated skin/panel construction.
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