The future of folding glass walls is here (and before long, everywhere)
Variety is the spice of life - and also the secret to successful multifamily housing options in America's diverse, eclectic cities. Yet recent trends, such as smaller micro-units and more efficient, open layouts, demand more daylight and views from discriminating buyers.
That was the case at Justison Landing, a mixed-use urban development designed by AJ Thackrah, RA, of the firm Burt Hill, now Stantec. Built between the grassy banks of the Christina River and the walkable city of Wilmington, Delaware, the project offered both townhomes and condominiums with views of the river or the new street life.
“We used NanaWall for the restaurant and upper-floor residences, with the intention of being able to open the spaces as much as possible with uninterrupted views,” says Thackrah, a Philadelphia native and senior associate at Stantec who has deep experience in corporate and commercial projects. “We ended up putting screens in some units on the riverside.”
Attract Buyers With a Unique Selling Feature
Justison Landing melds a decidedly modern look with a classic take on dense, fun urbanism. Above two-story townhomes and retail storefronts are the new lofts and apartments, some of which have the upselling feature of the NanaWall SL60 Aluminum Framed Folding System with a NanaScreen.
“It was really the intent of developer to provide a varied offering of different units and even window openings,” says Thackrah. “On one of the parcels, for example, we have condominiums facing the riverside, and NanaWall would give us the amount of opening we needed.” In other units not facing the river, a mix of standard sliding doors or operable windows were used. Yet the NanaWall units have a distinct attraction for buyers.
“This was our first time using NanaWall – it’s a product that we found for the developer,” says Thackrah. “It’s a quality product that gave us what we wanted.”
“We used NanaWall for the restaurant and upper-floor residences, with the intention of being able to open the spaces as much as possible with uninterrupted views, the NanaWall units have a distinct attraction for buyers.”
The lifestyle-oriented development has been a big story in Wilmington, with its large scale, multiple phases of construction and long-term, positive impact on the city.
According to the Burt Hill team, acquired recently by Stantec, “The overall goal of the design [was] to maintain a sense of continuity along the streets, and draw people in from other areas to visit the shops and access the riverfront walk.” The construction of phases two and four were led by J.J. DeLuca Co., of Springfield, Pa.
In fact, the site was a brownfield before the transformation was conceived by The Buccini/Pollin Group, which has invested an estimate $500 million in the total development.
Part of the scheme was to activate the surrounding neighborhood using more dense developments, convenient parking and a mix of retail offerings. A few of the residential units would offer 11-foot-high loft ceilings and upscale amenities to draw in buyers for the best views and largest layouts. With the NanaWall openings, these residents now have open, dramatic views of downtown Wilmington and the scenic Christina River wetlands.
Adding the NanaScreen Accessory
The units are also comfortable and functional. The pleated screen panels of the NanaWall NanaScreens are guided along inconspicuous floor tacks, keeping insects out. The SL60 framed glass sections are made with a thermally broken aluminum profile, which limits heat gain and loss in the four-season climate.
Most of all, however, the NanaWalls create excitement and big views – exactly what the promoters and realtors behind Justison Landing needed to attract buyers from miles around.
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“This flexibility allows teachers to gain access to shared resources and adapt space for small and large groups as well as project-based learning activities.”
— Stuart Brodsky, Architect