Located in Iowa City, the Sabin Townhomes’ 28-unit condominium lines two sides of the 600-stall Harrison Street Parking Facility, wrapping its south and east frontages. The two structures remain distinct but complementary, both optimized by an integrated design approach to material usage, construction methods, and schedule. The configuration supplies each condominium unit with direct access to both parking deck and sidewalk, enhancing the residential streetscape and mediating between infrastructural and pedestrian scales. Paired units stack, with interwoven stairs reducing their overall footprint.
Perforated sheet metal panels on the parking structure’s exposed west and north elevations filter headlights and views without impeding air circulation. The north elevation—its most urban--translates the condo units’ modularity into a linear field of folded metal, transparency, and color that spans vehicular and pedestrian access. Internally lit signage and a glassy stair tower punctuate the composition. A skybridge connects a neighboring six-story office building.
Several strategies enhance the development’s environmental impact. Ground level parking includes two charging stations for electric vehicles and rough-ins for four additional stations. Construction waste management diverted 75% of site waste from the landfill and the structural concrete mix replaced 25% of Portland cement with fly ash recycled from coal-fired energy production. The addition of fly ash increases concrete’s durability and lowers its permeability, decreasing long term maintenance requirements. In conditioned spaces, daylighting and low-e glazing complements highly efficient lighting and HVAC systems. The white roofing membrane’s high albedo reduces heat island effect. Minimized site lighting reduces light pollution.
The project highlights architects’ potential as active teammates in the community; navigating complex processes and facilitating multi-stakeholder consensus. Its realization relied on close collaboration with the contractor and the City, among other entities.