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The Top 10 Architectural Designs of 2020

Walker Evans Walker Evans The Top 10 Architectural Designs of 2020
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2020 has been a most unusual year, but that hasn’t caused much of a slowdown on development announcements. All year long, we saw new proposals unveiled by local and national developers with architectural designs from local and national firms.

For the sixth year in a row, we asked our readers to select the best in architectural design, based on the visuals and renderings presented by the architectural design firms. This year’s winner was the design for the Harmony Tower project by Meyers + Associates Architecture.

Harmony Tower, as it’s currently proposed, is a 30-story multi-purpose tower from local developer Schiff Capital Group that would replace the surface parking lot adjacent to The Atlas Building on High Street, Downtown. If built as currently proposed, the building would house both a new hotel as well as condominiums for sale. Parking for the building would be served by a new five-story garage with ground floor retail facing High Street.

The designers at Meyers + Associates Architecture have worked on a wide variety of projects, but Harmony Tower was certainly one of the tallest to be proposed in Columbus in 2020. Chris Meyers, Principal at Meyers + Associates, said that the unique challenge of this project had less to do with height and more to do with context.

“It seems that all projects have layers of complexities, regardless of size,” he stated. “Being adjacent and integrated into the iconic, historic and spectacular Atlas Building became a dominant element in our planning strategy creating an interface between new and old. We also recognize the enormous responsibility we have in designing a building that will impact our city skyline.”

While it’s true that this building will be viewable from miles away, most day-to-day interactions take place up close, and so those human-scale design features play an important role as well.

A rooftop deck on the shorter of the two proposed buildings, which will sit between the 30-story tower and the Atlas Building.

“This duality of a building that is big in the city and approachable by the pedestrian is an interesting challenge to overcome,” said Meyers. “For Harmony Tower, the desire was to have a very appropriately scaled massing for those interacting along High Street, while capitalizing on our 30 stories with a sliver view facing north for the distant view down High Street.”

From a structural and engineering standpoint, taller buildings have a lot of mechanical factors to consider — like more complex HVAC systems, fire suppression systems and elevator shafts — and those things can impact design. Meyers said that they worked with a local team at Jezerinac Geers Structural Engineers from the very start of the project.

“Rather than making a pretty picture and figuring out later how it will actually be built, we develop a structural and systems infrastructure strategy in parallel with the architectural design,” he explained. “Its complexity is magnified given all of the uses in the development and how they have to all work together, with hotel, residential, office, wellness spa, restaurant and event spaces and structured parking the complexities grow but it adds to the excitement of the building.”

Meyers also added that working with Mike Schiff and Jamie Oberschlake with Schiff Capital Group was a collaborative effort as they were engaged in the design process. He also gave credit to his team for their work-from-home efforts on this project during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“Developing this design while working remote posed some challenge and kept our design team fairly small, efficient and quick,” he said. “Our in house group included Nick Munoz, Kurt Miller, Brian Peterson, Shawn Conyers, Ochuko Evwaraye and myself.”

For more information, visit www.meyersarchitects.com.

All visuals by Meyers+ Associates Architecture.

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