1st Runner Up
The Brownstones at Maywood Park is a high-end development project that has set a new standard for downtown Oklahoma City. Built in the Flat Iron District in the heart of downtown, it has helped revitalize the community that surrounds it.
Looking at the finished project, most bystanders probably appreciate its architecture, which matches the “Bricktown” theme of the district that surrounds it. But unless they live there, they likely don’t know about its energy efficiency and quiet strength.
It’s built from BuildBlock insulating concrete forms. The walls have a solid 8-inch concrete core, sheathed on both sides with 2 inches of foam. The combination provides outstanding strength, low energy bills, and requires virtually no maintenance.
“The Brownstones at Maywood Park are a perfect example of why ICFs make sense in an urban setting,” says Terrisa Singleton, marketing director at BuildBlock.
“The developers were familiar with ICFs and knew from the start that they were perfect for the project,” she continues. “The safety, quiet, comfort, and energy efficiency of the walls have been highlighted in promotional materials.”
The project consists of 15 townhomes, facing each other across a quiet street. Each unit has between 2,400 and 3,700 sq. ft, spread over 2 ½ or 3 ½ stories, depending on the model.
“This has to be one of the most attractive places for downtown living,” says Hans Butzer, who helped design the development. “Construction-wise, we are using a quality of home construction never offered in the history of the state, using sensible, sustainable materials.”
The combination of foam and concrete makes ICFs incredibly energy efficient. Used on all exterior walls as well as the demising walls between units, they are expected to reduce heating and cooling costs by 30% or more. The Brownstones have incorporated several other “green” energy technologies as well. A geothermal system provides heating and cooling. Careful design of windows and shading take full advantage of passive shading and ventilation.
ICF walls with an 8” core of steel-reinforced concrete are incredibly strong, which allowed designers complete flexibility in interior design. All of the floors are clear spans between party walls. Designers could also “clip on” balconies and bay windows of any size and at any location, giving buyers an almost infinite range of design options.
Developers marketed this aspect of the project, claiming “no two units the same.”
Oklahoma is also known as “the heart of tornado alley.” Occupants of the Brownstones can be sure the strength of ICFs will protect them from Mother Nature as well.
But there are other aspects of ICFs that the homeowners will appreciate every day, like how quiet they are. BuildBlock ICFs have an STC rating of 54, which eliminates nearly all outside noise—whether it’s coming from the unit next door or from locomotives on the major rail line that runs just a few blocks away.
Occupants will also appreciate the lack of maintenance. Exterior finishes of slate, copper, and wrought iron complement the no-maintenance brick. Combined with the structural ICF core, the development could endure for literally centuries with very low maintenance or upkeep costs.
The first phase of the Brownstones has spurred several other projects in the downtown area. Several retain and commercial buildings are now under construction nearby, and sales at the Brownstones are proceeding quite rapidly. In fact, BuildBlock and Insulating Concrete Homes is just finishing another 40,000 sq. ft. residential complex in the neighborhood, and has begun phase two of the Brownstone development.
“Prior to this project, there was very little housing downtown,” says Caleb Brown, manager of Insulating Concrete Homes. ICH provided forms and did the install of the ICF walls.
Installation was fairly straightforward, Brown reports. The project was built on step footings, to accommodate the gradual slope of the lots. It required a little bit of effort to ensure that the steps conformed to the height of the ICF forms, but once they were in place, the building went up fairly quickly.
The original plan was to build the walls one story at a time, waiting for the framing crew to install the interior walls and joists on each floor before moving up. The ICFs went up so quickly, though, that the framers couldn’t keep up. For phase 2 of the development, builders are using a hydraulic scaffolding lift so the exterior walls can be erected independent of the framing schedule.
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Type: Multi-Story Residential Condominium
Size: 60,000 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 90,000 sq. ft (walls) including 25,000 sq. ft of interior walls
ICF System: 8” concrete core BuildBlock
Unusual architecture with multiple corners, reveals, bay windows and balconies that could be chosen by the buyer and “clipped on” the massive ICF walls
Used hydraulic lift for ICF install
Attracted thousands of visitors
Brought ICFs national attention, including coverage in non-concrete trade magazines
Active geothermal, shading and ventilation
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