Establishing a definable “place” is an important element of planning and marketing efforts for the West Innovation District. The application of architecture should be used to create a unique identity that sets this portion of
Dublin apart from other business neighborhoods in the city. The Plan’s intent is to encourage a style of architecture that visually emphasizes or evokes the qualities of innovation, technology and progress as a key focus for the area.
Construction within the West Innovation District should focus on the implementation of contemporary style to achieve a larger vision for the area. Elements of a common style can be used to varying degrees to ensure a cohesive “feel” at all levels of architectural complexity from high-profile offices to manufacturing facilities. With a focus toward technology, progress, change and innovation, the following key elements should be considered and are strongly encouraged in all designs:
- Emphasizing the use of glass, architectural metal, cut stone, wood and brick as materials;
- Avoiding the use of limestone in more traditional applications to avoid historic appearances or mimicking other areas of the city;
- Designing buildings with varying shapes and forms;
- Integrating geometric shapes and the varied use of building planes;
- Incorporating non-rectangular shapes that distort the structure and create jutting elements for additional space;
- Using angles and pitches to evoke movement and contrast;
- Integrating organic design with curves to characterize flow and movement; and
- Emphasizing natural light and sustainable building techniques to better visually or physically connect indoor and outdoor spaces.
Architectural Details… Communicating a Pattern
To achieve the desired architectural character and quality for the West Innovation District, elements in the following architecture sections are intended to provide assistance to those planning to build within the West Innovation District. The pattern elements that describe architecture provide a visual companion to help interpret and administer applicable zoning regulations. The pattern elements are tools that better clarify with pictures the contemporary, high-tech design intent adopted by the City of Dublin for the area.
The West Innovation District is envisioned as a home to organizations desiring a clearly defined image and involved in research and development and other disciplines related to technology. The West Innovation District Plan recommends that the size and height of buildings combined with geographic proximity to U.S. 33 determine the general level of detail and complexity required for development.
The next section, Benchmark Buildings, highlights buildings with design expressions that fit comfortably within the design goals of the West Innovation District. The section provides a point of reference meant to reinforce an understanding of expectations that will simplify the approval process for those wanting to build within the West Innovation District. The consideration of buildings has been divided into four types:
- One story buildings with regular footprints
- One story buildings with large footprints
- Multi-story buildings with regular footprints
- Multi-story buildings with large footprints
The four types are intended to point out the general characteristics of different types of users and the related level of architectural complexity usually associated with those building types. One story and multi-story buildings with regular footprints typically accommodate uses such as medical, research, education, personal services and retail. Large footprint buildings with multiple stories generally focus on larger office and research uses, while in contrast, those that are one story typically incorporate light manufacturing, clean assembly, distribution and warehouse uses. Given the significant size, some aesthetic requirements may be more liberally applied for manufacturing-related structures. The land use component of the West Innovation District Plan, however, identifies the appropriateness of these uses as being more remote from U.S. 33 and closer to rail facilities.
A subsequent section on Integrating Architectural Components is meant to help spur the imagination of owners, developers and architects toward targeted investment in architectural elements that may effectively inject innovation and quality into the design of buildings. These examples act as tools to show what others have done to respond to designated styles. Associated images are meant to spur new ideas and innovative design, but none are mandated approaches.
Each design team must make decisions as to the architectural direction for their project. Specific needs, aesthetic preferences and construction budgets can be used to encourage new approaches and can be applied or modified to fit most any reasonable budget by how they are executed or by the proportions of materials used.
Benchmark buildings are intended to emulate a contemporary, technological style consistent with the economic development goals of the West Innovation District. Each component of a building has particular strengths and weaknesses that may together function as a complete architectural composition,Although a particular detail might exist elsewhere within the West Innovation District, this does not necessarily mean the detail will be appropriate for any building. It is the total composition of architectural elements that create an acceptable building design matching the contemporary style.
Regular Footprint Buildings (One Story)
Smaller, single-story building types
Regular Footprint Buildings (Multi-Story)
Buildings with smaller footprints that have more than one story often include more fenestration. Entrances and architectural features such as multi-story atriums and glass-enclosed stairways can open views from the exterior and add to the overall visual quality of the building. The larger height of buildings in this category provides a much stronger presence to the skyline and can make a better architectural statement that reinforces the prestige and visibility of businesses.
Large Footprint Buildings (One Story)
Large, one story buildings provide significant challenges when using just a four-sided rectangular footprint. Greater attention must be paid to break up the perceived monotony of long, continuous façades. The use of clustered, rectangular or irregularly shaped footprints to establish the necessary building size can significantly improve the overall visual quality. Opportunities to vary wall heights, materials, colors, textures and even the amount of detail from one component of a cluster to another can provide more latitude for innovation within the design.
Uses in this category may have industrial bay construction with electrically-lit spaces. Creative use of day lighting can add interesting detail to the exterior walls and save energy costs over the long run. Energy conserving rooftop components placed near the building perimeter can also enhance the façade if aesthetically screened or composed. Please refer to Special Considerations for Large Footprint Buildings for more information.
These types of buildings often require a higher design quality because of the need to attract multiple tenants or to function for institutional uses. Because of their large sizes, they have a major presence within the visual environment. As with regular footprint buildings, multi-story, upgraded entrances and special architectural features such as atriums and glass enclosed stairways can be used to open view from the exterior and can add to the overall visual richness of the building.
With a commanding presence, opportunity is available to create more variation using façade treatments that differ from one another. This can create a building that feels more like a clustering of different, but compatible buildings rather than one, single design expression.
Special Considerations for Large Buildings
Buildings with footprints larger than 40,000 square feet can have a range of uses that may include, but are not limited to, light or clean manufacturing, assembly, warehousing and distribution. Areas designated on the West Innovation District Land Use Plan as “Research Assembly” will be given special consideration and flexibility.
A high level of detail on long facades can be cost prohibitive, particularly for manufacturing-type uses. The City of Dublin will work with the development community to find a reasonable balance between construction cost and the character and quality expected in the West Innovation District. Consider the following when designing facilities in this category:
- Avoid long, continuous, uninterrupted façade treatments by introducing variations such as wall plane offsets, wall heights or parapet treatments, roof overhangs, window clusters, and groupings of significant vertical landscaping elements along the wall. Also consider wall color, wall patterns and/or textures, material changes and architectural features such as canopies, covered entrances or other decorative elements.
- Upgrade smaller, special portions of the façade such as entrances, offices on the perimeter or display areas to a much higher level of quality and have them face thepublic way.
- Use more creative, aesthetically pleasing sign approaches such as backlit, three dimensional pin mounted letters, more interesting letter types, or introduce artistically developed logos into the sign composition where possible.
- Integrate windows creatively with interesting patterns or clusters. Use projected windows, enhanced louvers, wall lighting, wall lighting fixtures, penetrations, creative security camera applications, vents or sunscreens and other energy saving devices.
- Exterior, freestanding walls that enclose outdoor storage or other functional exterior areas can become architectural features to enrich the building’s exterior through creative design approaches. Since these walls do not have the same functional responsibilities as building walls, they are more free to be curved, sculpted, patterned with penetrations, and colored at a lower cost.
- Some flat roof areas near the perimeter can have rooftop equipment locations with architectural screens as part of the façade to create interest and to vary rooflines.
Integrating Architectural Components
Architectural components are a compilation of many individual elements that, when properly composed, create a finished building. Each component, when developed as part of a thoughtful and innovative composition, has the potential to increase the uniqueness of an individual building. Images of key architectural components provide a means to visually illustrate a number of ways that others have chosen to design buildings in a contemporary style that is suitable for a high-technology environment. The intent of this section is to show innovative approaches or options that can inspire those developing within the West Innovation District. Rethinking the standard ways of using these components can have a dramatic and pleasing outcome that meets character objectives in a cost-effective manner.
The most critical element, building form, starts with a simple, rectangular box. The resulting architecture is a box that is normally clad in a variety of materials, windows, door penetrations and other architectural elements that provide character. The choice of building forms is one of the strongest drivers as to the final imagery of the building, and the difference of one large form versus multiple forms can have a large impact on the amount of fenestration and types of materials and colors required to develop an attractive building. Use of angular or curvilinear forms that break up the basic rectangular form can provide an innovative look and feel.
The structural components of any building serve an important function to support all the planes that provide enclosure for the building as well as floors and other elements. Structural elements can also contribute to the building’s aesthetics by being part of the exterior composition in a contemporary high tech environment.
Entrances are an incredibly important part of any building. They usually are the first part of a building where a visitor has close contact, and the design can convey a strong message about the occupying organization. The entrance comprises a small part of the overall building. A relatively small investment for upgrading this area by highlighting projections, form, color and/or materials, can yield large returns in the visitor’s favorable first impressions.
Patterns with Color and Texture
Many exterior wall materials can be used to create single color and texture, monolithic planes for enclosing the building. These planes can be composed of brick, stucco, EIFS, metal panels, pre-cast concrete, tilt panel concrete, stone, glass, decorative architectural block and frost proof tiles. Oftentimes, a wall plane can rise to a higher level of interest without additional cost by carefully considering the use of textures and colors to create regular or irregular patterns. Even large walls can be made to look smaller in scale if appropriately designed.
Roofs and Rooftop Mechanicals
Roofs and rooftop forms are a great opportunity to develop a unique design character for a building. Rooftop mechanical equipment is required to be screened from ground level views, As a result, walls or parapets used to hide the larger pieces of equipment often appear just as plain rooftop boxes. Thoughtful integration of roof forms and screens can add much richness to the overall design with little impact to project cost.
The Use of Shadow and Solar Screens
Projections and recesses on a façade can be used to create interesting visual patterns formed by shadow lines and varying degrees of shading throughout the day. Solar screens and deep roof overhangs can also reduce the amount of energy a building uses and can create architectural lines that increase the contemporary appearance of a building.
The main purpose of windows is to allow light into a building’s interior and permit views to the outside. Windows can be used in very pragmatic, repetitive patterns. They can also be used in creative ways that enrich the façade through placement and shape. Windows can be used as a primary focal point or to help reinforce or enhance other architectural features.
The Use of Glass
Glass is commonly used as an exterior cladding material for buildings beyond just windows. Technology has provided architects with glass options that include clear, tinted, reflective, translucent, energy saving, insulated and laminated products that can be used for various levels of shading or textures. Contemporary building environments offer opportunities to take advantage of these advancements in technology.
Architectural Metal Applications
The use of metal panels in contemporary architecture is quite common. They can provide a cost-effective enclosure and can have characteristics not easily found in other building materials, such as a sheen from a metallic coating or pronounced shadow lines. Metal panels commonly found in pre-engineered buildings such as long span, fluted or ribbed panels running vertically are strongly discouraged. In fact, the use of any ribbed metal panel with the ribs running vertically poses a particular design challenge. Many barns, storage facilities, heavy manufacturing or similar facilities use these panels as a cost-effective construction material. Use of vertical ribbed panels could result in a building style that is not desired in the West Innovation District. Its application should be carefully considered as a secondary material or disregarded in favor of more appropriate applications.