The 18th & Boulder Townhouse development is situated in Denver’s Lower Highlands (Lohi) neighborhood on the North side of Denver’s downtown boundary. The Lohi neighborhood has become an especially popular destination for new development and includes a mix of single family homes, commercial buildings, and large apartment blocks, all juxtaposed against one other. Small two-story homes share the same block, adjacent to and in the shadow of 5-story structures. This project resides on a corner lot and shares street frontage with two such structures, including an apartment building to the West and a single-family residence to the South. The context presents a special challenge to new development, requiring both a macro and micro scaled design response.
Meridian 105 Architecture’s design includes three side-by-side private townhouse residences in a single building structure. Each home is 3-stores in height with a 4th story exterior rooftop deck. The building responds to its larger neighbor to the West with a single formal massing expression along that street front, heavy in its materiality and unbroken geometrically. The façade makes a finer expression in the building material, where brick textures add interest to the mass and bridge the design to a man-made scale. As the building turns the corner, its volumes begin to disseminate with smaller 1 and 2-story void spaces containing exterior decks. These exterior spaces draw the residents out, presenting a more active use to that façade. It was the design team’s goal to draw attention to these spaces and has chosen black and white materials in order to offer contrast along the façade.
One of the early project goals was to enrich the pedestrian experience around the base of the building. This is accomplished in the expression of building materials. Brick veneer, wood siding, and metal screening convey a hand-made quality of work and are acknowledged to be imperfect in their appearance, adding a dimension of unpredictability to each building façade. Shou Sugi Ban siding (charred wood) applied in a lapped installation offers interest in its heavily shadowed look, and a textural surface appreciated again at close proximity. The resulting sheen of this treatment transforms through the day with the changing light. Brick is installed in unconventional bonding patterns and surface orientations.
Design and info © Meridian 105 Architecture
Images © Astula