The Downtown Columbia Design Guidelines were issued in November 2010 “to ensure that what is built in the Downtown will be attractive, aesthetically coherent, practical and of beauty and value.” In the last five years, several significant construction projects have been undertaken that were required to comply with this plan. Let’s consider whether the designs have met this standard.
DESIGN GUIDELINES, DOWNTOWN COLUMBIA PLAN
The Downtown-wide Design Guidelines and Neighborhood Design Guidelines will ensure that what is built in the Downtown will be attractive, aesthetically coherent, practical and of beauty and value. Specifically, the Guidelines will show how buildings and landscapes support and reinforce the physical, three-dimensional intentions of the Plan and create places containing pleasing proportions, scale and character that people will want to inhabit. The Guidelines also lay out the framework for developing a community’s sense of place and its identity and connection to the region.
These Guidelines establish criteria for development within Downtown Columbia in order to:
- Ensure that new development contributes to the vision of Downtown Columbia as a sustainable pedestrian-oriented environment with a desirable urban character through the design and placement of new buildings, streets and public amenity spaces.
- Create high quality streetscapes with buildings and landscape that form pleasant, convenient and safe environments designed for both pedestrians and motorists.
- Reduce car travel demand by focusing mixed-use growth in appropriate locations and providing connections to destinations through a network of local streets.
- Provide a measure of predictability to property owners and stakeholders on what may be built on their land or adjacent property, while allowing for flexibility so that the mixture of land uses and design may evolve in response to market factors.
- Define desirable physical and visual characteristics of development in Downtown and the design criteria and methods that will help create a vibrant, walkable, ecologically sensitive, mixed-use urban center. The Design Guidelines also serve to articulate opportunities for integrating sustainability practices to improve the environmental quality of the development.
THE PROJECTS (click on image for slide show)
DESIGN ADVISORY PANEL, HOCO DEPT OF PLANNING AND ZONING
To improve design compatibility with surrounding development, to promote revitalization, and to enhance property values, the Design Advisory Panel (DAP) process encourages excellence in project architecture and site design.