FROM THE AIA:
The Co-op Plaza has revitalized a key area of the city’s downtown and, through a public-private partnership between the co-op grocery store and a local nonprofit, provided 24 affordable apartments. The first two floors of the four-story building house the grocery store, its administrative offices, a bakery, and commercial space for local vendors. An accessible green roof juts from the first floor. Other community amenities include new parking areas, pedestrian walkways, outside seating, a café, and market areas. The stakeholders’ collaborative design process was critical in making the project a model for responsible building practices and smart growth. The site, contaminated by a dry-cleaning facility, was cleaned up, and the building was moved away from the nearby brook to protect the water from pollution and the building from flooding. Storm water runoff is treated and filtered by the green roof, permeable surfaces in the parking lot, and a 20-foot buffer strip in the new public park created along the water. Construction materials included locally harvested and milled flooring and slate siding manufactured in Vermont. Natural light floods the spaces, and the apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery. The co-op uses a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. Taken together, these features have cut energy costs per square foot by about 50%.
Learn more about both AIA/HUD Secretary Award winners here.