Architect: Nautilus Group
Associate architect: Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects
Category B: Project Delivery & Construction Administration Excellence
Garden Village is a 77-unit student-orientated apartment building located in Berkeley, California completed in August of 2016. Designed to echo the massing and rhythm of the community, the innovative design departs from the standard single-volume building. Instead, 18 distinct building volumes are spread out in a garden and linked by exterior walkways in a design that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding fabric of the community.
"The innovative fabrication and modular construction process combined with design, attention to daylight, and access to the outside makes for a meaningful, elegant, and holistic solution to the housing crisis." - Jury comment
The project was constructed using modular building technology. The entirety of the units were produced in an off-site factory that allowed for numerous efficiencies like waste reduction, quality control, and shorter schedules. This development was accomplished using only two large size modules: Type A, a living/dining/kitchen module, and Type B, two bedrooms/bathroom module, joined in two combinations to create only two unit types, four bedroom and two bedroom units. The project has a first of its kind professionally operated rooftop farm that yields up to 16 tons of produce a year. This farm provides fresh produce to top restaurants in the community. The project also has zero parking spaces, a feat accomplished through providing one bicycle parking space per bedroom, discounted transit passes, on-site car sharing, and other amenities.
Creating high density housing within a small scale residential neighborhood poses many challenges to development, and often results in a delayed approvals process or buildings that appear out of scale with their context. With an understanding of this common problem, and a clear directive from the client for innovative, high density student housing that is both ecologically sensitive and modular in construction, the architects looked to the existing neighborhood development patterns for design direction. The essential quality of the Berkeley, California neighborhood is characterized by detached houses embedded in continuous gardens. This village is communal, interactive and open. It is this found texture that the architects aim to continue and expand. This grain of dense, yet open living is the model; the type is a garden village of small buildings as opposed to a single monolithic apartment complex. The project is a richly woven collection of 18 compact buildings immersed in a garden; a student village at the scale and openness of the surrounding fabric. Each building is connected by a ring of exterior walkways, threading the 77 units with a network of gardens, common space, and a professionally operated urban roof farm.