Blog of Axel Lane

There are 22 blog entries within the category of Axel Lane

Summer Drought Pano
August 28th, 2011 | View Post
I stopped by the property yesterday just to see how the drought was preventing growth on the property. I was really curious this summer to see what grew where given how we cleared and flattened the property over the winter time. Unfortunately that’s just not a possibility this summer with the ongoing drought.

Comprehensive MEP Meeting #1
August 24th, 2011 | View Post
Yesterday we met with Tom Green & Company, our Axel Warehouse MEP. Matt and Mary joined me from Cotera+Reed in what was probably the longest single meeting I have had thus far (about 4.5 hours overall). We also met Jay Young, an upcoming engineer at TG&C as well as Sam Hammer, a veteran LEED-certified electrical engineer who will be completing the electrical systems for Axel.

After going over the complexities and intended uses of the project as well as further expounding upon the MEP Narrative that I had put together, we spent a great deal of time detailing the desired mechanical systems for the warehouse. These included PV installations, geothermal connections, HVAC throughout the site, and what we could do (if anything) with the ground well on the property.

We eventually moved along to the plumbing systems of the site, particularly discussing the various sink, toilet, and shower fixtures that would be needed throughout the property. The final piece was to discuss the electrical systems that would run throughout the property. It might seem like an easy task, but when you’re having to meet commercial standards with everything and also provide 24-hour lighting options across the entire property line, it’s actually a great deal of work.

Our hope is to incorporate as many environmentally sensitive features as possible. Of course this also means factoring the bottom-line over the most desirable aspects.

New Floorplans
August 19th, 2011 | View Post
After meeting with Matt and Mary from Cotera+Reed just yesterday, I was able to see the new floor plans that they have been working on. They are more or less the same as what we had been working on previously, although the storage room has been more properly refined as have the external staircases. The most interesting new addition to the plan is the “crow’s nest”, a mechanical access point found on what is essentially the 3rd story staircase. Although it’s designed specifically for mechanical and rooftop access, it should provide a pretty nice view to the west.

We are still working on spacing the kitchenette and meeting room out a bit, as well as adding some internal storage spaces and addressing the space requirements of the ADA-compliant bathrooms. Once we get these things worked out, we will quickly start addressing finer points of each room including architectural style, windows, lighting, doors, and etc.

Section view including the crow's nest

Floor 1 Layout

Floor 2 Layout

Landscape Architecture
August 17th, 2011 | View Post

Proposed front landscape layout
One of the MANY things that the City of Austin requires for full site-plan compliance is some type of landscape architecture plan. In my case, this was handled by my civil engineer's team, but I’ve been perfectly behind it. Fortunately the city does not require that every square foot of the property be accounted for, but rather areas that are more commonly visible and/or accessible. In my case this meant anything along the front of the property line, the parking lot, and into the water retention pond I am required to build.

The Gulf Muhly
Preliminarily speaking anyways, we will be planting trees and plants that have a low impact on the environment, that are easy to maintain, robust throughout the seasons, and meant for our type of climate. I think the front of the property will actually come out looking exceptionally colorful and diverse and create a wonderful transition layer around our parking lot.

I have included the proposed architecture plan, but have also included images of all of the potential trees and shrubbery to be included. I think the Gulf Muhly might actually be my favorite.
New Conceptual Screenshots
July 28th, 2011 | View Post
After receiving our new framing and truss dimensions from Tsen Structural, I went ahead and built yet another Google Sketchup model of the design plan. These four images just show various angles. Most of the site plan is exactly to scale, though some of the trees may be slightly out of place. These models do not include any specific details of the two internal structures, but they are framed more or less how they will exist.

Front of property

Back of property illustrating PV

Looking from north to south down Axel Lane

Closeup of structures

MEP Engineer Meeting
July 27th, 2011 | View Post
With the help of Matt from Cotera+Reed, we have located an MEP engineer for the project. The company is called Tom Green & Company Engineers and is incidentally run by a guy named Tom Green. To those unfamiliar with an MEP engineer, it stands for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing. Basically these guys are responsible for figuring out all of the electrical (voltage and amperage) requirements for the property space, for designing conduit and electrical boxes, for designing and calculating A/C and heating systems, and for handling all of the water and wastewater connections. I haven’t seen any of the quotes yet, but I believe that the MEP is generally the 2nd or 3rd most costly part of this entire pre-development process.

There are still a number of things to consider for the project with respect to green development standards. We are definitely intending to utilize the large rooftop for photovoltaic connections (solar) (also shortened as PV), but we’re also considering implementing a geothermal system, particularly because I happen to have access to an existing well on the property. Evidently under Texas State law, I am free to use the water in this well as needed (which could be a big help in this case for irrigation considerations).

A commercial geothermal system diagram. The closed loop system is dug into the ground below or beside the building and acts as a giant thermal heat-sync.