Collaborative Design Process
Designs for the Siler Yard Arts + Creativity Center were developed through a collaborative process in which the architects, planners and developers engaged with a large and diverse group of creative professionals to develop design principles, refine the building and site program, and evaluate the design as it developed. More than 30 local artists, actors, musicians, makers, poets, producers, dancers, designers, creators and craftspeople—all innovative thinkers—came together over a period of six months to discuss, debate and make recommendations.
Creatives working on this project considered several overarching issues in this process, such as:
• What physical things and spatial qualities do artists need to be creative?
• What are the aspects of the built environment that inspire creativity?
• How can arts and creativity be embedded into the DNA of the project?
The buildings are configured to create open spaces that knit the community together. A centralized open spine connects the historic acequia on the northern edge of the property to the triangular plaza that features playgrounds and event space. Situated along the spine are the collaborative work space/meeting room and the laundry. The residential buildings are aligned within fifteen degrees of east-west to maximize the benefits of solar exposure. Parking is convenient and distributed throughout the site, while the landscape will encourage pedestrian connectivity and community.
The eight residential buildings are two or three stories, and contain a range of bedroom configurations. The two and-three bedroom units are all two-stories tall, and are typically situated above the one-bedroom units. Two and three-bedroom units include 1.75 bathrooms (one bathroom with tub and one bathroom with shower). Building massing combines corrugated metal siding and sloped roofs, harmonious with the neighborhood’s industrial aesthetic, with stucco and flat roofs, more associated with Santa Fe. Stucco surfaces, particularly the end walls that are envisioned as blank canvases for the creative residents to showcase their work.
Building Type A includes four one-bedroom units at grade, with four two-story two-bedroom units above. An exterior walkway connects the 2nd floor unit entries and provides a covered work area for the lower units.
Building Type B includes eight one-bedroom units, six of which are at grade, with four two-story two-bedroom units above. An exterior walkway connects the 2nd floor unit entries and provides a covered work area for the lower units.
Building Type C includes two two-story two-bedroom units at grade, with four stacked one-bedrooms units on the corners.
Building Type D includes six two-story three-bedroom units at grade. These units are more geared towards families and are close to the central playground.
Units are designed to provide the largest most flexible studio space, with exterior access on both north and south ends. Designed to enable live/work, the units separate bedrooms and bathrooms into more private zones, while kitchens are left open within the studios. Two and three-bedroom units feature high ceilings in the studios, sloping from nine to twelve feet, providing large north-facing windows to maximize natural light. Front entrances are double doors (6’ wide x 8’ tall) for greater convenience in bring large supplies and works into and out of the homes. Covered outdoor work areas are provided at all units, along with exterior bulk storage. Other features important to creatives include large basin sinks and expansive blank walls with plywood. One and two-bedroom plans are nested with one another to maximize space afforded to the studios and minimize building length.
• Configuration of the development must provide for resident needs while supporting the neighborhood and larger needs of Santa Fe.
• Amenities will be carefully programmed to complement and not compete with existing resources in the neighborhood.
• The development will be designed to encourage pedestrian and bicycle connectivity while allowing for cars to have close access to the units for loading.
• Shared and private outdoor space are equally important.
• Landscape design will restore and celebrate the historic acequia running through the project and will provide opportunities for individual and collective gardening.
• Open space will provide entrepreneurial opportunities for the residents.
• The walls of the buildings will provide a blank canvas for rotating murals, new media/projections, and public engagement art. These public walls will provide the image of a dynamic and ever-changing creative community and a means for young artists to gain visibility.
• Sustainable design and water efficiency will be implemented with the goal of lowering utility costs.
• Units will be raw, constructed of durable materials, and be capable of temporary customization by the residents.
• Live/work units shall be as flexible as possible to support a variety of creative practice.
• The aesthetic of the development will celebrate the industrial qualities of the neighborhood and demonstrate that this is a place of making.
• The result of this process will be a new hub of live/work housing and shared community resources that supports and enhances the creative sector in Santa Fe.