Singles In the City
By: Larry Storer
Oklahoma City is a city of generational contrasts " from the Oklahoma stockyards, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in October, and the American Indian Cultural Center; to the world-renown Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Center. The city fosters a complementary blend of rich western heritage with the hip, spirited downtown environment of entertainment, education, art and living in a multifamily residential project reminiscent of brownstones.
The Brownstones at Maywood Park are 19 high-end insulating concrete form (ICF) condominium row homes that are architecturally reminiscent of residential districts on the East Coast and in Europe while offering the amenities and comfort of modern, urban dwelling. Singles and young families have been drawn to life in Maywood Park, a section of land located in the 28-acre area just north of Oklahoma Citys Bricktown called The Triangle.
This project has been the genesis of the use of ICFs in other large multifamily projects in Oklahoma City, according to Caleb Brown, manager at Insulating Concrete Homes, the ICF installer for the project.
After The Brownstones at Maywood Park was built, other downtown multifamily residential projects followed: Centennial Lofts at Lower Bricktown, 444 Central Avenue Villas, The Hill, the Kerr-McGee block, Harvey Lofts, the Classen Tower and the Skirvin Residences.
But this project is important because it was one of the first multifamily ICF projects in Oklahoma City, Brown said. With Maywood Park under our belt, weve been able to move forward doing these other multifamily ICF projects like it.
The row homes are currently in two buildings facing each other across a wide, tree-lined street. An additional four homes are being built in the development against the backside of one of The Brownstone units. This four-block area will be reminiscent of the town square that graces many Oklahoma towns and cities.
Theyve got a design, and some new units are finished now, but they havent bricked outside yet, Brown said in late October. Other residential projects are planned in the development. Promoters say that there will eventually be 127 row houses in the development.
The townhomes encompass 60,000 square feet of floor space and 90,000 square feet of 8-inch concrete core BuildBlock ICF walls, including 25,000 square feet of demising walls. The project took two years to complete, with the ICF work taking about six months.
The BuildLock System is a knock-down ICF wall system comprised of two separate 2½-inch EPS panels that are connected by high-density plastic webs on 6-inch centers. Each web bridge features a positive locking attachment that snaps the web securely in the proper position to eliminate racking and provide structural stability throughout the construction process.
Of the 19 units, the first 15 were constructed by Insulating Concrete Homes (InsulatingConcreteHomes.com) using traditional ICF lifts and bracing. Al Slattery Masonry Inc. (AlSlatteryMasonry.com), which did all of the masonry work on the project, also did the ICF work on the last four units.
So we would stack a floor, they would frame. We would stack, they would frame, and so on. Our bracing system worked fine, Brown said.
Insulating Concrete Homes sold materials for the last four to Al Slattery Masonry Inc. so that Slattery, whose company does masonry work, could try the ICF method with his hydraulic masonry scaffold system.
Slattery is more of a masonry guy, Brown said. He came in with his hydraulic masonry scaffold system and he braced it back to that scaffolding and stacked the four stories all the way up and then they came back in and framed afterward. Slattery and his masons raised the walls continuously from the exterior while the framer worked simultaneously inside the box.
Brown said using the hydraulic masonry scaffold worked well. It just took a little more scheduling between us and the framers to brace up a section and get it ready for them to frame, he said.
On Insulating Concrete Homes part of the project, Brown said the units were all tied together, so they were able to stack the first floor for the entire building and then go on up a floor or lift at a time. There was a T-wall separating the units.
The ICFs went together real well, he said. When you talk about clear spanning to that demising wall, the spans werent real far. Basically it was just a small box, and you go right on up.
The Brownstones, two-and-a-half, three, and three-and-a-half-story individual townhomes in easy walking distance of downtown amenities, look like a series of dissimilar, but complementary brownstones.
Oklahoma City TAParchitecture architect Anthony McDermid came up with unusual architectural features: multiple corners, reveals, bay windows and balconies that could be chosen by the buyer and clipped on to the massive ICF walls.
The exterior of the units are covered by brick in designer colors to highlight the unique design of the townhomes. In addition to brick, The Brownstones components of slate, tile, copper and wrought iron clad the unique Build Block ICF concrete substructures.
Each townhome has private two-car garages, master bedroom suites and terraces with a view of the downtown skyline. All entrances are private with no shared stairwells, and some options have private elevators.
These are high-end projects, which were marketed from $650,000 to more than $750,000 per unit. The Shartel option provides owners two-and-one-half stories of luxury living in 2,371 square feet. For added space, the Classens three full stories allow for added family and friends with 2,741 square feet. For those wanting to entertain or to maximize space while still having a terrace and a balcony, the Colcord is three-and-one-half stories with 3,550 square feet.
Modern downtown luxury townhomes attract the 25- to 35-year-old single and married young guns, who are beginning to take the professional reins of many aspects of this city of more than 500,000 and who like living close to downtown. They also attract the sophisticated empty-nesters, who have traveled the worlds big cities and like the world-class amenities within a cool urban setting.
A group of University of Oklahoma architecture students came up with the concept of an urban lifestyle that would facilitate the needs of high-end urban residents. TAP Architecture of Oklahoma City, working with Engineering Solutions of Oklahoma City, designed and engineered the project. Triangle Development, owned by Pat Garrett, was general contractor.
The townhomes embrace green sustainable building technologies as concrete is the most sustainable of all building materials and a concrete home greatly reduces the lumber required to build a home, preserving forests.
In addition, the ICF used in this process is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), which offers tangible environmental advantages with energy efficiency, recycled content, mold resistance and indoor environmental quality. The EPS used in ICFs, which become permanent building insulation, contain no hydrochlorofluorocarbons, formaldehyde, asbestos, or fiberglass; and no harmful chlorofluorocarbons are used in its manufacture.
Because The Brownstones at Maywood Park are legacy homes, they will endure for generations with low maintenance or upkeep costs, and residents can easily walk to downtown amenities and mass transportation.
Like all concrete homes, the townhomes boast low HVAC costs, thanks in part to the ICF construction, active geothermal systems, and passive shading and ventilation. Insulating concrete forms lower heating and cooling costs by 50-80 percent, and a recent Environmental Protection Agency study concluded that energy efficiency increases home value by about $20 for every $1 decrease in annual utility costs.
Important to those living in Oklahomas tornado-alley, the townhomes are capable of withstanding tornadoes, and are built to meet commercial two-hour fire protection.
The ICF construction also guarantees the ability to shut out the noise of traffic and other downtown sounds when residents want total silence; and its draft-free environment greatly reduces dust and pollen, significant for those with allergies.
Maywood Park is a public park at 3rd and Oklahoma Avenue, and it boasts wooded pathways from the townhomes that wind through the area. While each unit has a two-car garage, this four-block area is within easy walking distance of the business and shopping districts, restaurants, entertainment and public transportation.
The Brownstones at Maywood Park have been highly acclaimed, winning the Insulating Concrete Forms Association (ICFA) Excellence Award in the Large Commercial category; Masonry Construction magazines Project of the Year; and ICF Builder magazine Runner-up Award in 2008.
Its a surprising urban reality in downtown Oklahoma City: You can walk to work, walk to an exceptional art museum, walk to a Triple-A ballpark; walk to a restaurant of your choice; and walk to an array of entertainment venues; and then walk home to one of the most unique addresses in the city.