Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Waypoint Park in Pictures

Nearly two years of effort on the part of over 50 volunteers has culminated with the opening of the award winning Waypoint park. Located at the corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305, on property co-owned by the City of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap Transit, The Waypoint is the first impression for Island visitors and a welcome home to returning residents. This project reflects the elemental character, history and sense of place that is Bainbridge Island. Along with other local volunteers, PHC Construction contributed its services and materials to help create this new park for the community.

Here are some great new photos of The Waypoint Park taken by local photographer David Cohen.

Building a Healthy Community from the Inside Out

Premier Builder Magazine
July/August 2013

Two years ago, the Asani/PHC team of architects, builders and developers set out to design a Net Zero energy home using local and sustainable materials, all with a construction budget under $150/square foot.  These homes are part of the new One Planet Community (one of 8 in the world) on Bainbridge Island – a Zero Carbon neighborhood of homes that is affordable to young families and baby boomers alike.

DSC_1656The new homes at Grow Community are not just net zero energy homes, they are part of a neighborhood where residents will be able to reduce their overall carbon footprint – that is, the impact from buildings, transportation, and food to name a few.  The homes are part of a One Planet Neighborhood, homes where it is easy, fun and affordable to live a lifestyle where our impact on the planet is a little lighter.

One Planet is a framework to guide design of Zero Carbon neighborhoods.  The program focuses not just on environmental impacts, but also on economic and social sustainability, creating communities where neighbors interact and where ecological footprints are reduced.  Grow Community has used the ten sustainability principles of the One Planet framework to create a neighborhood that is unlike any other in the United States.

The homes are beautifully designed, light filled spaces located in small clusters with the community, all surrounding vegetable gardens.  The neighborhood is made up of equal numbers of single-family homes for sale and multifamily homes for rent, providing different financial options for residents to live in the community.  The floorplans are designed for families, for couples, for aging in place, a mix that has resulted in a truly intergenerational community.

When we first started to design the Grow home, we weren’t sure if we could meet the net zero challenge with the given budge, but with a little determination and a dedicated team, we’ve shown it can be done.  Each home and multifamily building is designed as a Net Zero home – the solar panels on the roof are enough to provide all the power needed throughout the year.  The cost of construction of each of the homes is both reasonable and replicable.
aria kitchen
The One Planet framework was used to balance design and material choices against each of the sustainability principles.  We designed an energy efficient building envelope, using local and sustainable materials wherever possible, and choose finishes that would ultimately create a comfortable and healthy home.

Health and Happiness is the foremost One Planet principle driving design decisions both for the individual homes and for the community as a whole.  Each house is built using the highest quality materials to create a healthy indoor living environment, including:
  • Marvin Integrity word/fiberglass windows avoid the use of PVC in the homes;
  • Cork or local sustainably harvested wood floors with non-toxic finishes create local and healthy flooring options;
  • Silent and highly efficient mini-split heat pumps to maintain comfortable temperatures;
  • Cabinets with no added formaldehyde, recycled content countertops and induction cooktops for sustainable and well-appointed kitchens; and
  • Optional whole house water filters.
healthThe community itself is designed around numerous vegetable gardens, with native plants and vegetation throughout to create natural and inviting places for children and adults to enjoy.  The neighborhood is located just a short walk from urban amenities, enabling residents to walk or ride, incorporating exercise into their daily lives.  A community center will provide a space for yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, and community events.

It is our home that this One Planet neighborhood will change the way we approach urban design.  We created the project to demonstrate how developers might design projects that have a net positive impact, not only on the environment, but on the way people live, creating healthier and more satisfying lifestyles in urban areas.  The Grow Community homes are not just good for the environment, they are a place for people to live healthy and affordable lives, to connect with their neighbors, their community and nature.

Grow Community changes design of Phase Two of development project - BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 26, 2013 · 2:21 PM
Grow Community architects are setting up a new palette for Phase Two of development.
In a meeting Monday with the Bainbridge Island Design Review Board, architect Jim Cutler described a shift from single-family homes to a model that was more all-of-the-above.

Phase One of construction is already wrapping up, with 20 homes sold and two apartment buildings planned for construction on Wyatt Way.

Previously, the plans for the second phase of construction described a connected block of more single-family residences.

After an owner’s analysis of the plan, however, Cutler and his team saw that the project presented too much financial risk.

“Primarily because they were in very large blocks and very similar pieces,” Cutler said.
“They didn’t have enough diversity in terms of being able to market certain diversity and furthermore, it would not be complete until they completed the whole project.”

With the makeover to the Phase Two plans, Cutler has incorporated some major changes for the project.

They have transformed what was a V-shape arrangement of the units to clusters of dwellings with substantial green common space between the structures. This has given Cutler’s team the ability to incorporate a mix of homes in the community. They will now offer apartments, condominiums and townhomes in addition to single-family homes.

The new mixture of homes at Grow will also come with sheltered garages.

With the ground fall between each side of Wyatt Way, Cutler’s design has managed to keep the structures level enough to allow for garages underneath the homes. This will create a two-story out of a one-story and a three-story home out of two story home.

The underground parking will make way for more green space for all the amenities the community envisions, including numerous community and personal gardens, a community center and plenty of play area for children.

Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Cecilia Garza at cgarza@bainbridgereview.com or 206-842-6613.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grow Community modifies development plans - BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 3, 2013 · Updated 10:41 AM
Joie Olson and Carrie Zech with Asani Development greet islanders during a public meeting to discuss changes to Phase II of the Grow Community on Monday, July 29. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
    Over the past year, the island has watched the green living-oriented Grow Community sprout up on its small corner in Winslow.

    With Phase II of the development on the horizon, Grow officials are looking to take the neighborhood in a whole new direction than previously expected.

    “Going forward we know we can’t build the same kinds of homes that we built in Phase I,” Marja Preston with Asani Development told a crowd gathered at the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center Monday evening.

    “Our goal for this project is to create a model for intergenerational living,” she said.

    Island architect Jim Cutler explained the significant changes to the project; mainly, that while Grow will continue to be Earth- and community friendly, it will come in a much tighter package.

    “All the things that were endemic in the first phase will be in the second phase, but with more density,” Cutler said.

    The crowd listened intently to Cutler as he explained how he designed 87 dwellings to fit on five acres.

    “I’m going to show you a really dense project,” Cutler told the crowd as he stood in front of a site plan for Phase II.

    Project officials presented their latest vision of the neighborhood this week at a meeting required under the city’s permitting process because the project has changed since it was originally proposed. The changes drew a crowd of more than 70 islanders to the lobby of the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center.

    It was as much of an informative gathering as it was a sales pitch to the community.

    “This project takes this to a whole new level,” said City planner Heather Beckman.

    “Typically we have these meetings at city hall and there are no refreshments, and there isn’t this much of a turnout,” she said.

    Islanders were welcomed to the event with hors d’oeuvre and lemonade before hearing Cutler’s presentation.

    Cutler, of Bainbridge-based Cutler Anderson Architects, walked through a series of slides showcasing the new vision for the development that attaches many of the dwellings, once scattered across the property.

    “The old plan, it was like someone took dice and threw them on the ground,” Cutler said. “We’ve gone to attached dwellings that maximize green area. We’ve ended up with, out of five acres, (roughly) three acres that are green space.”

    Cutler said he designed the community to be multigenerational, and geared toward community interaction, without sacrificing privacy.

    Phase II of the Grow Community will include two apartment buildings off Wyatt Way, two rows of attached townhouses, and single-family buildings.
    Between the structures will be two courtyards and a 2,500-square-foot community center.

    The community center will house a multipurpose room, meeting room, kitchen and a fireplace on both the inside and outside.

    Bordering the property to the south near Shepard Drive will be a 5,000-square-foot commercial building.

    Cutler could not comment on what the commercial structure will ultimately be used for, but officials hope that a small school or child-oriented organization will set up shop there.

    Phase II will continue to incorporate the aspects seen in Phase I, such as solar panels on the roofs, the ability to capture rainwater, and shared electric cars and bicycles.

    Residents’ cars, however, will play a larger role in Phase II than in Phase I.

    Parking has been planned for the development that will border the site, though 43 homes will have private garages. Single-family residences will have two-car garages.

    Cutler explained his vision for cars in the Grow Community.

    “You might notice we are not showing a lot of parking,” he said. “If we build slightly deeper foundations we can build parking underneath (the buildings), so cars are
    not going to be very visible. We are basically putting all cars underneath.”

    “I don’t think we are promoting car use; we are making sure that cars are not part of your daily life visually,” he added, noting that people need to use a car from time to time, so he designed parking into Grow, with the attitude that the community will be primarily pedestrian oriented.

    “We convince, to some degree, our clients that having a car in your daily experience is not necessarily positive,” Cutler said.

    Gardens will also be a primary focus of the new development.

    “Probably what’s endemic in almost every culture in the world is gardening. And I don’t mean flower beds or vegetable gardens. I mean a space where you can extend your dwelling, and your living, outside in privacy,” Cutler said. “So you can connect with living systems outside in a private way.”
    Apartments will include wall gardens, and many homes will include patio spaces.

    A total of 40 residences in Phase II will be wheelchair accessible, and it will be possible to incorporate an elevator in some of the spaces.

    Officials expect the Grow residences to be a mixture of rentals, condominiums and privately owned lots.

    It is likely that it won’t take long to fill the homes.

    “I have had reservations for a product people haven’t even seen for over a year,” said Joie Olson with Asani.

    “We hope by the end of 2015 to be into the first half of the five acres, and have people moved in,” she said.

    Olson noted that the site will be developed incrementally over time so that the company can make changes in the future if needed.

    Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at roxley@bainbridgereview.com or (206) 842-6613.

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Let’s demand the highest ‘green design’

    July 29, 2013 · 8:56 AM
    Bainbridge Island
    To the editor:

    Bainbridge Island is a leader in sustainability and green design. We have a number of architects, designers and community groups that work to create healthy, vibrant places. It’s brilliant. It’s something we all share and can celebrate.

    For example, take a look at the Grow Community development sprouting up in Winslow: It meets stringent One Planet Living Program standards with highly efficient solar powered homes. The development is within walking distance of shops and transit and offers solar-powered cars for neighbors to share when longer trips are desired.

    The new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is another great example. While beautiful for many reasons, this new home for regional creative works serves as a small clean energy power plant. It uses both solar panels and a geothermal heat pump to produce its own clean electricity and like Kids Discovery Museum, it has a vegetated roof to minimize runoff. It will likely earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    Another innovative green building is Wilkes Elementary School. Its geothermal technology is exposed in the media center so students can get a visual of the modern engineering hiding in the building walls and floor. Outside you’ll notice much of the pavement is different – it’s pervious. Instead of sealing the earth and carrying the goo that leaks from our cars into the Sound, the rain will slowly percolate through the pavement and process the toxins naturally. This is good news for those of us who like our seafood sans pollution. The architects in this project used The Living Building Challenge to guide their design.

    Click here to read the rest of this letter -->