Orestad (v), business district, & construction notes

Looking again at the aerial photo of downtown Orestad, the Field shopping mall is dead centre. Just above it is an eyebrow shaped street and canal, which forms the spine of a mixed commercial/office district with a bit of residential thrown in to make it mixed use. Directly behind the office buildings are apartments facing the large central park we toured yesterday. Off to the left end is the CabInn hotel:


The curve in the canal and adjacent street tries to soften the look and feel. Alas, the road is still wide, very busy, and traffic moved quite fast. Engineers still seem unable to fully implement traffic calming design.

Note the office building in the foreground, apartment building beyond, the wide Parisian-style gravelled boulevard, then the bike lane and then the road:

I remain puzzled at how the boardwalks over water and the edge of the ponds can have no railings or curb … Where Ottawa has tried this (indoors) it didn’t work (eg World Exchange Plaza, City Hall).

Is this a bidirectional cycle track or a walking path separated from the cycle path by a small drainage swale??

Through a modern arch a courtyard is visible, with cycle parking and some amenity space:

A residential building amongst the offices:

The CabInn hotel is part of a Danish chain. Rooms and other design features seem to be based on shipping containers. While some actual containers have been converted into hotels or student residences, and are featured as tourist attractions, the practical challenges are huge from an engineering and financial aspect.

Sometimes it is just better to build something new, that looks like stacked containers:

I thought I had booked into this hotel, but when the website offered me a cheaper room I snagged it, not realizing I went to another one of their properties in the central city. The exterior of that building blended in with the surrounding urban architecture, but the rooms were still container sized, about 8′ wide and 13′ long. Perfectly fine for a hotel room or dorm or single occupancy micro apartment.

Here is an advertising pic of the inside of a room. My actual room had a second bed where the laptop is shown, plus a fold down upper birth over one of the beds:

The stacked-up-containers look in Orestad was broken up by the varied squares of container ends, and the contrasting slicker central wing. If you look carefully at the diagonal tracery, you can still see the regular window pattern behind it: (enlarge the picture …)

There appeared to be another business district being developed a few stations up the metro line, anchored by this hotel:

You may recall seeing this apartment building under construction:

The concrete exterior walls have a rather thin layer of insulation before the brick veneer.
If the concrete floorplate had been poured out to include a balcony floor, then the concrete acts as a conveyor belt moving heat out of the apartment. The floor begins to feel cool about 6′ from the exterior portion.

To avoid this energy loss, the floor plate can be sealed from the exterior, and the balcony supported by a minimal number of fasteners. The balconies haven’t been hung yet from this facade:

A small metal sill plate bridges the gap between the balcony and the apartment patio doors. The balcony shown above is all-metal.

The continuous insulated wall design is akin to early 1900’s “balloon frame” construction for wooden houses, common in pre-1920 Ottawa neighbourhoods, where the second floor is hung inside the house frame studs that run the full two story height. Thus the insulation barrier is continuous, and there is no second story sill and air leakage. Many PH-certified houses are now built the same way. Everything old …

The hung-balcony design is used in Ottawa. Most noticeably, there is a Insulated Concrete Form constructed condo building at Walkley Road and the Trillium Line where you can observe (from train or road) the balconies with two rods that connect them to the concrete wall behind the veneer. Instead of diagonal stay cables as used in Orestad, the Ottawa example has lightweight vertical “posts” or columns.

I did not notice this design practice at Clichy though, and wondered why.