Uptown Apartments + Shops
Merit Award 2018
Uptown Apartments + Shops, as its name suggests, sits in a typical southern/midwestern city “uptown” suburban district, hardly a worthy counterpoint to the beloved downtown and devoid of any real placemaking assets. This mixed-use project creates a decisively new living model by utilizing the most basic and abundant suburban multifamily building block—the garden style walk-up apartment—to craft a series of concise urban spaces that create a “pop-up” neighborhood within the 15 acre site. In contrast to the cheaply constructed typological norms, Uptown Apartments + Shops elevates the architecture of the garden apartment model to create an anchor at the scale of the district and the city, providing legitimacy to the term “uptown”.
Traditional garden apartment complexes are characterized by multi-faced buildings surrounded by 90 degree parking lots. Our neighborhood plan leverages the Razorback Greenway (a 36+ mile multipurpose trail that connects much of NW Arkansas) at the south end of the site to create a street promenade that rewards pedestrian and bicycle use. A composed street space that running north-south organizes the development, pinwheeling at the 5-story mixed-use podium building -- a more dense and urban typology that contains 17,000 SF of commercial space and 5,000 SF of community lounge, fitness, and co-working space all anchored by a central plaza in the heart of the site.
The garden apartment building modules, distilled as three primary 3-story ‘pods’, are cleverly composed and vibrantly sculpted in white stucco, dark gray cement fiberboard and masonry with natural cedar dolly varden siding. Each 12 unit pod is organized around a breezeway that completely cuts through the building. These ‘cuts’ align from building to building and provide the site’s cross grain, allowing close proximity to parking. The podium shares architectural language and material, while providing enough contrast to distinguish it as the center of activity. South and west elevations consist of carved balconies that provide unimpeded views to downtown, the University of Arkansas, and the Boston Mountains.
The promenade and plaza are bolstered by smaller-scale amenities such as community gardens, terraces, the pool, and a roof deck. A handful of units have lofts that offer additional flexible spaces that afford views and access to private rooftop patios. These lofts become signature formal elements, establishing rhythm and accentuating proportions along the site.
The striking composition of material, form and color makes this project a defining place among bland suburban commercial construction within uptown Fayetteville. A bold new model emerges, proving that our car-driven society can evolve into a hedonistic balance within our southern culture. The right amenities of the city are often found in the wrong format, but Uptown Apartments + Shops seeks to redefine our spatial understanding of community connectivity and elevate the status quo of apartment living.