Downstreet Housing and Community Development provides high-quality, safe, affordable housing to the residents of Barre and the central Vermont area. Their goal for this project was to replace three existing poorly functioning and unsafe apartment buildings with a new energy efficient building. They were also looking to replace their existing multilevel inefficient office space with a new efficient and easily navigated office space that included a training/teaching classroom for public educational and outreach opportunities. They partnered with Housing Vermont to develop this project. The final design is a mixed-use building that provides 27 1- and 2-bedroom units, ample exterior green space, and a new open office suite. Keeping the apartments in the downtown area buttresses Downstreet’s mission, providing residents easy access to shopping, services, and public transportation.
This project’s location in downtown Barre Vermont provided several challenges to the design team:
- The project site contained three buildings in poor condition. After some review it was determined that the most cost effective approach would be to replace the buildings with a new energy efficient, mixed-use building.
- The lot was covered almost entirely with asphalt paving. There is little green space in the downtown area. The green space created by this project adds a welcome and calming effect to the downtown area.
- The top 12” of soil were contaminated and required replacement. The contaminated soils were transported to a lined and regulated site.
- The sub soils were of poor bearing capacity and required the design and installation of a Geopier soil stabilization system. This system was determined to be the least invasive and most cost-effective foundation support system.
- The project site is on the edge of the 100 year flood zone. The building was raised so the first floor elevation is one foot above the 100 year flood level.
- The project is located in a designated fire district. The fire district required a two-hour fire rated, noncombustible exterior wall system. No plastics were to be applied to the exterior façade.
This project has earned a National Green Building Standard Silver Certificate, and won a Citation at the AIA Vermont Design Awards in 2016.