Spectra explored ground floor concepts from both architectural and economic angles. We modeled two types of ground floor conditions: one provides a traditional shop frontage that follows the line of the block, where the street facade is the boundary of ownership; the other dissolves the straight boundary in favor of a more permeable condition where streetscape and ownership boundaries are allowed to wave and bend, while still keeping some of the linear street structure inherited from the upper floors. The reasoning was to try and break away from the grid-like linearity of the city and encourage a spatial discovery sequence akin to wandering through a forest.
Climate and Community
Assuming a hot, humid climate gave further emphasis to the open ground floor concept as a shaded public area where streetlife could continue to thrive through summer months. The ground floor is one of the block’s largest amenities and sources of foot traffic, and yet another area like the courtyard and rooftop, which block-dwellers can adapt to the needs of their community and neighborhood. Indeed one of the main reasons block courtyards are elevated to the second level is to allow the block to own and adapt the ground floor space for commercial, storage, or even light industrial space, which is often in short supply in residential urban areas.
Transit and Mobility
The open ground floor concept also allows for alternate transit routes. We imagined a micromobility route called broadway that weaves itself across Spectra’s streets and through the blocks themselves via the ground floor. While useful as a more circuitous route or loop for exercise or leisure, the ability to cut through blocks themselves might result in quicker journeys for some. Along broadway, we imagined service hubs with amenities like bicycle parking, public seating, and charging stations.