The Best Architectural Design of 2016: Two25 Commons by NBBJ
When we asked our reader to vote on their favorite architectural designs of 2016 last month, there was a lot of competition to choose from. Over 900 voters narrowed the original list of 25 projects down to a top 10 list, with the mixed-use Two25 Commons building design landing at the top of the charts. The new Downtown building was first announced in Spring 2015, but received a significant design revision in May 2016 by the local architectural team at NBBJ.
“One thing that makes it stand out is the approach to the Commons,” explained Michael Suriano, Senior Associate and Architect at NBBJ. “We have this beautiful multipurpose space in the middle of our great city – an outdoor room of sorts, and we are trying to provide the most engaging edge possible.”
Suriano said that they wanted to design the building so that the architecture could “participate” in the activities and programming of the park. The building features an amenity deck on the sixth floor that is open to both residents and office workers in the building, as well as individual balconies that add social components to the exterior facing the park.
“We also wanted the design to reflect the nature of mixed use and activity but remain cohesive and progressive in style, which is why the distinction between the lower office volume and higher residential with consistency in material,” said Suriano.
Designing a building to fit the space adjacent to the park wasn’t without challenges though.
“The footprint has a distinct ‘L’ shape, which isn’t apparent on first glance,” stated Suriano. “To make the project economically viable for our developer clients — Daimler & Kaufman Development — we needed to use that to our advantage in terms of usability, while creating great space the enhances peoples experiences in and out of the building.”
Construction of Two25 is expected to break ground sometime in December or January. Once completed, the building will be home to 118 new residential units on the upper floors, five floors of new office space, three ground floor retail units, and a new pedestrian bridge connection to the existing Commons Parking Garage. Two25 Commons is very similar to 250 High, another nearby 12-story mixed-use building that was recently constructed in a partnership between Daimler and Kaufman Development, which was also designed by NBBJ.
“We’ve developed a great relationship with NBBJ through the 250 High experience,” said Brett Kaufman, Founder of Kaufman Development. “They understand the product type and share our vision for sophisticated urban design. We felt this needed to have a very Downtown, sophisticated aesthetic that felt professional, creative and comfortable. It’s a tough balance but hopefully we’ve achieved our goal.”
In addition to Two25, NBBJ’s design of the Kaufman Franklinton Development landed in the #3 spot on the Top 10 list generated by reader votes this year. Other design firms to land in the Top 10 include Brian Kent Jones Architects, Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart & Associates, KEPHART, DesignGroup, Lupton Rausch, Arquitectonica, and Moody Nolan.
Suriano said that for Columbus to fully embrace its potential with architecture and design, it simply needs to acknowledge that it is what he calls “an increasingly smart, progressive, and incredibly easy city in which to live”.
“Columbus is emblematic of where cities are going and not where they have been, and both architecture and developers can participate in that dialog,” he stated. “Identifying what make cities dynamic, vibrant and interesting can play out in many ways architecturally, and it is not always about making buildings taller, or in a certain style. People can tell when buildings have character, and when they enhance how we experience the world. All of us in the development community should strive to hit that mark.”
To learn more about NBBJ, CLICK HERE to read our Design Digest feature.