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Stoops to Conquer

Green design isn’t just about meeting quantifiable energy conservation standards or using the right kind of paint—it’s about placing a building in its environment appropriately.

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Balconies and porches allow more contact between residents.

GreenCity Lofts is located in a neighborhood that Swatt delicately phrases as “transitioning”; it’s not exactly the kind of place you want to roam around alone late at night. But Swatt successfully campaigned for features that would balance the industrial design of the lofts with the residential nature of the structure; hence the stoops. “It was really brave of the developer,” Swatt says, “to have the building meet the ground like that. There are security concerns, of course.” Balconies and porches add to the connection between the structure and the outside world, as do the open-air corridors that allow for more contact between residents. Creating courtyards within the structure that weren’t overwhelmed by the edgy surroundings was also a design coup for Swatt. “I wanted it to be a little tough, but friendly,” he explains. “I wanted it to have an industrial, tech-y feel, but not have it be an ice cube.” 

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    A Green Approach

    Architect Robert Swatt, designer of the GreenCity Lofts condo complex on the border of Oakland and Emeryville, California, makes no claim to longstanding environmental expertise.

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