Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc. is pleased to announce that they have received two 2012 Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Awards. Torti Gallas received these prestigious awards for the Georgetown "Social" Safeway in Washington, DC and the New Wyvernwood - Boyle Heights Mixed-Use Community in Los Angeles, California.

The new Safeway takes a formerly inhospitable stretch of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, Washington DC and transforms it into a vibrant, walkable corridor. The project replaced a previous supermarket with a suburban auto-oriented design that was set back from the street and had a street parking lot. The new store strengthens the urban fabric of Georgetown, defining both the street and the neighborhood.

The new LEED Certified building is two stories with the Safeway Grocery on the second floor and smaller “mom and pop” liner retail stores on the ground floor. The main store is accessed from a two-story corner piece that also acts as a public area. In the winter, the second floor of this entry will provide enclosed seating space, while in the warmer months, windows surrounding the corner can be opened to provide a more inviting atmosphere.

Due to the historic nature of Georgetown, there was careful consideration on the façade detailing of the building. Some elements such as the rhythm of the bays were set up as a response to the rowhouse context, while the sunshades were placed as a functional and innovative response to the southwest sun. The blending of material selection (red brick), façade rhythm, and contemporary elements for sun control, provide a transition from traditional architecture to a contemporary yet contextual north edge of Georgetown proper.

Located in an historically underserved area, the Wyvernwood site is envisioned as a cohesive and sustainable mixed-use neighborhood with a well-defined hierarchy of blocks and streets and a distinct community identity. The Project will provide for a walkable, diverse community composed of rental and homeownership units as well as neighborhood-serving retail, office, and civic uses, in an expansive green network of parks, playgrounds, courtyards, and pedestrian paseos – all within 3 miles of Downtown Los Angeles.

The site is currently occupied by a circa 1938 garden apartment complex with an existing street pattern that is disconnected from the surrounding neighborhood. At present only seven streets provide access to the site’s interior out of nineteen street intersections along the property’s perimeter. The new plan provides for a hierarchy of streets rewoven back into the fabric of the Boyle Heights neighborhood.

The public realm includes shaded park spaces (with preserved heritage trees) designed to accommodate stormwater infiltration with a bio swale that forms part of an “Arroyo Walk.” Courtyard buildings fronting these spaces will be required to have openings facing the prevailing breezes to allow natural ventilation and cooling of these courtyards and the units that front them.

This Mixed-Use Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan provides for a diversity of unit and density types as well as a range of a?ffordability. Residents will be able to walk to locally serving retail including a grocery store, two adjacent schools, and existing regionally scaled retail off-site. Parking ratios have been reduced to 1.25 space/unit (from the standard 2.0 of LA zoning) and have been de-coupled from units themselves (they are not directly linked with a tenant or homeowner) allowing further reductions in parking in the future if warranted.

Wyvernwood is being designed as a sustainable community and may seek LEED ND (Neighborhood Development) Certification. Existing roadway and building materials will be ground and reused for roadbeds, where feasible. With the expectation that changes in Health Department Buildings will soon allow for greywater re-use, buildings will be required to be plumbed accordingly. The plan also includes a detailed list of required and optional techniques and practices to conserve water and energy, minimize stormwater run-off, and conserve resources, all of which is governed by a checklist, included as part of the Specific Plan submission. Individual builders will have to show compliance with this rigorous list before a permit will be issued.