Mary Walker Tower
Mary Walker Towers consists of two towers (one eight stories and one ten stories) of subsidized efficiency apartments for the elderly. Our work was to modernize the taller of the two towers along with the single-story community room that connects them. The building remained occupied throughout design and construction, with the contractor working on no more than four floors at any given time.
In the process of design we considered reimaging the project as market rate housing. This would have involved reconfiguring rooms and spaces within the apartments, as well as upgrading the amenities and level of finish. However the project became eligible for stimulus funding based on remaining subsidized, and we altered our plans to retain the upgraded amenities but leave the room and space configurations as-is.
Specific challenges that we encountered included staging construction work (including such systemic items as plumbing and sprinklers) so as to minimize disruptions to residents. We also carefully estimated construction costs, and evaluated cost and benefit of replacing vs. retaining many elements. A review of heating and cooling issues led to the addition of aesthetically-considered sun shades on the exterior. Finally, many unanticipated conditions were revealed and resolved as construction moved progressed.
We believe it will be a long-term asset to the residents, the Housing Authority, and the community as a whole.