When residents smoking
too close to the building became an issue at Corinthian Gardens
Apartments in Des Moines, Iowa, they turned to ASK Studio,
Des Moines, to specify a smoker's shelter. A longtime client of the
architectural firm, the affordable housing project for seniors is
located on a busy urban thoroughfare. Brent A. Schipper, AIA, LEED
AP, principal of ASK Studio, says they asked if they could design a
structure that would enhance the facility rather than the simple,
bus stop-type structure they had in mind.
While the project's goal of keeping smoking activities away from
the complex's main door and still keeping residents safe through
observation, Schipper says it was also complex in that it needed to
keep smoking activities hidden, yet still enhancing the front yard
of the facility with a sculptural insertion. Schipper describes the
project as simple, if not challenged. "Complex, if architecture is
attempted and all parameters are fully considered," he says.
Located away from the apartment entry, the smoker's shelter was
imagined as a yard sculpture so its purpose would not be readily
apparent. Conceived as an assemblage of filters to control views
into the shelter, it needed to hide smokers during the day, while
allowing them to be seen by security cameras for safety after dark.
"The shelter is to be perceived as opaque during the day when the
sun reflects off the stainless steel mesh and the occupants remain
invisible," Schipper says. "Passersby see a yard sculpture. The
screen filters appear transparent at night when safety concerns
require the occupants to be seen."
Made of metal, wood and concrete, the 275-square-foot shelter
features metal screening on the south side that is opaque from the
street during the day and transparent at night. Corrugated
Metals Inc., Belvidere, Ill., supplied the structure's frame of
rollformed steel with a galvanized roof deck. Tampa, Fla.-based McNICHOLS Co. supplied 200 square feet of
stainless steel woven wire mesh in a square weave, which along with
LED lighting in flutes, filter views.
The owners wanted a low-maintenance shelter, resulting in the
use of concrete, stainless steel mesh, galvanized steel deck and
composite lumber. The only painted material, Schipper says, is the
steel frame, which is coated with a high-grade PPG epoxy coating
Industries, Pittsburgh, which was donated.
The 2015 Metal Architecture Design Award judges really liked the
project, saying it is one that exemplifies everything you want to
root for in architecture. Pointing out that a smoker's shelter is
usually a pre-fab hut, the judges agreed that the project is
something beautiful to look at. One judge even noted that there's
movement to the project even though it's stationary, citing the way
the concrete moves in and out of the walkway.
With a very modest budget, Schipper says the project design and
much of the construction was done pro-bono. "The budget was small,
but safety, beauty and simplicity could not be forgotten," Schipper
says. "A fish bowl bus stop would not be enough to meet the
programmatic needs. As a result, part of the project was done
pro-bono, with architects and contractors donating time and
material resources to get the project done; members of the studio
were on-site to help build parts of the project. Instead of just
being about the smokers, it became about those around them."
Corinthian Gardens Smokers' Shelter, Des Moines,
Completed: October 2013
Total square footage: 275 square feet
Building owner: Corinthian Gardens
Architect: ASK Studio, Des Moines, www.askstudio.com
General contractor: Koester Construction Inc.,
Grimes, Iowa, www.koestercon.com
Metal installer: Artistic Ironworks, Des Moines,
Steel frame: Corrugated Metals Inc., Belvidere,
Steel frame coating: PPG Industries, Pittsburgh,
Wire mesh: McNICHOLS Co., Tampa, Fla., www.mcnichols.com
Photos: Cameron Campbell, Integrated