The scorching heat hasn’t slowed progress at ECO: outdoor living spaces are taking shape. Our unique aesthetic and sustainable design have drawn admiring attention from the media and brisk interest from design aficionados and environmental advocates. The first two buildings, ECO1 and ECO2, are completely full, and all the apartments in ECO3 and ECO4 are spoken for (email us if you’d like to be on the waiting list for an apartment). Work continues on the interiors of ECO3 and ECO4, finishing floors, installing transformer units, painting, tiling and more. A complete overhaul of mechanical systems and plumbing in those buildings is taking place, too.
Dramatic changes are taking place outside. The courtyard between ECO1 and ECO2 looks more like Modus Studio’s renderings every day (we just have to finish up and then get some people to stand outside). The entry walkway is now in place, the freestanding cistern is now operational, and the steel raised beds for community gardening have been placed.
Each of the four buildings has a signature color, and ECO2’s vibrant orange now compliments ECO1’s zippy grellow. (ECO3 and ECO4 will sport blue and green.) New retaining walls have carved out outdoor living spaces for first floor residents, and balconies and rooftop terraces for upper floors are taking shape. These outdoor spaces add a lot of livable space where there was only a narrow walkway or a steep embankment before.
The steel cable trellis is a simple but dramatic change. The criss-crossing cables extend from the top of the retaining wall to the roof of the southern facing walls of ECO1 and ECO2. Annual Purple Hyacinth Bean plants are climbing to provide quick coverage this year, while perennial trumpet vine is getting a good start. In the future, the trumpet vine will provide orange flowers which are a favorite of hummingbirds.
Where first floor apartments once opened onto a small and exposed space, now they open to a patio surrounded by native plants with an airy “ceiling” of flowering vines on a matrix of steel cables. This trellis is one of the time-honored, low-tech energy-conserving strategies our designers have given a modern twist.
The once-dumpy laundromat building is transforming into to the office building and poolhouse. The outdoor fireplace has been formed—you can see the opening and chimney at the bottom right corner of the building in the picture. A steel pergola will create shelter for an outdoor gathering space, and the rooftop has been reinforced in preparation for installation of the green roof. The concrete pavement around the pool has been removed, and in its place will be a significantly smaller paved area with integrated planting areas. The refurbished pool will be a salt-water pool, which is kinder to skin and doesn’t require harsh chemicals for upkeep. Since we’ll be using a solar water heather, our pool will be open 8-12 weeks longer than the usual Arkansas pool season.
Watch for more updates soon, as we finish renovation, establish gardens, and develop our recycling program!