US Building of the Week
asap/ adam sokol architecture practice
8. May 2023
Photo: Alexander Serverin
Spanning dozens of blocks north of Downtown Buffalo, New York, the Allentown Historic Preservation District has a large assemblage of buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Allen Apartments is a new three-story building behind a rebuilt historic facade from the 1920s. The architects at asap answered a few questions about the project, an eclectic addition to the neighborhood.
Location: Buffalo, New York, USA
Client: Mayflower Allen Property LLC
Architect: asap/ adam sokol architecture practice
- Design Principal: Adam Sokol
- Project Architect: Michael Wysochanski
- Project Team: Daymond Robinson, Breanna Browning, Boris Morin-Defoy
Landscape Architect: Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect
Civil Engineer: Foit-Albert Associates
Site Area: 8,500 sf
Building Area: 12,000 sf
Photo: Alexander ServerinWhat were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?
The commission was the result of engagement over a period of years with multiple properties on the block. The project builds on asap’s earlier work on adjacent parcels, furthering the evolution of the historic district.
Photo: Alexander ServerinPlease provide an overview of the project.
Allen Apartments recreates the facade of a severely distressed historic building with an all-new structure behind containing ten residential units and a retail space, while also incorporating and rehabilitating a second older structure on the same site. The project features a distinctive mixture of historic and contemporary construction, with a variety of outdoor spaces of differing scales, giving each unit a unique experience.
Drawing: asapWhat are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
The design begins with the premise of contrast between old and new, and a desire to break down massing and develop outdoor spaces, executed within a disciplined geometric framework.
Photo: Alexander ServerinHow does the design respond to the unique qualities of the site?
The massing respects the historic structure by gradually increasing in size as it recedes from the street, to address the disparate scale of neighboring structures. Also with the fenestration is limited primarily to a single side due to site constraints and dominant views.
Photo: Brett BeyerHow did the project change between the initial design stage and the completion of the building?
It evolved in a direction of greater simplicity and geometric refinement, and also underwent some evolution in materiality in favor of metal.
Absolutely, the building is high-performance, the first all-electric new multifamily structure in the city, with an extremely efficient envelope and energy performance. The building also incorporates innovative, environmentally friendly mechanical systems such as high-efficiency heat pumps and solar hot water.
Photo: Alexander ServerinWhat products or materials have contributed to the success of the completed building?
The use of exposed glulam columns and beams in the retail area, and a simple palette consisting of concrete, wood, white walls and tiles, and distinctive rubber floors in common areas.
Email interview conducted by John Hill.