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Multi-Family Housing Experience—Our Portfolio represents elderly, family, and special needs housing for market rate, affordable and low income residents. The projects were financed with both private and public funds. The developments are site specific and provide amenities and services to meet the needs of the tenants.

The units are designed to feel open and roomy, provide handicapped accessibility or adaptability, allow for ample storage space, and have safety and security features. The units may be grouped into one building, townhouses, garden apartments, duplexes or single family. Amenities may include community facilities, central laundry or washer/dryer hookups in the units, garbage disposals or dishwashers, a variety of storage areas, extensive landscaping, air conditioning, playgrounds, garages, digital accessibility, or outdoor courtyards with pavilions. In each project, there is a special feature which makes it unique to increase marketability and create distinction. We specifically strive to integrate the project with the neighborhood, by blending aesthetics, circulation, street frontage, and green space.
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Multi-Block and Mixed Use Developments—Several of our largest projects integrate living, working, commercial and infrastructure improvements in both rehabilitation and new construction projects over multiple block downtown areas, as an economic stimulus technique to spur revitalization. Streetscape amenities have been a part of every urban project we have worked on. We strive to present the downtown visitor with variety, maintain the environmental context, provide safe access, invite the visitor to explore, beautify the street with landscaping materials, delineate between pedestrian and vehicular traffic, allow a place for rest and shelter, illuminate the activity and identify the business establishments.
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Master Planning—Our Master Plans identify and link the priorities of the various stakeholders in the achievement of the overall goal. It is important to understand the existing and historic conditions of the infrastructure as well as the needs and interests of the development partners. There are often competing or incompatible interests which must be addressed as well. We have developed an overlay system of maps and computer renderings to fully communicate the vision. These plans are critical to securing the financing and commitments necessary to reach fulfillment. The designs utilize cluster development, reduced impervious area, connections to existing infrastructure and transportation, mixed land uses, a variety of housing choices, and walkable connections whenever possible to create strong neighborhoods.
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Aging Services and Care Facilities—Although we strive to design for aging in place, there is a point where this is not enough and full time supportive services are required. We have designed 2 LIFE Centers, in Homestead and Tarentum and operated by UPMC, which provide supportive services, meals, medical care, physical therapy and nursing for the senior community at large through day services. At Martha Lloyd School, we have completed a Master Plan and implemented the construction of a multi-purpose facility with dining area, and a renovation of part of the long term care facility. We have completed several Senior Centers, which provide activities, meals and social functions for the community at large.
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Historic Preservation—We are dedicated to preserving the heritage of the built environment. This is demonstrated by the awarding of an Historic Review Commission Award from the City of Pittsburgh for 1505 East Carson Street, rehabilitated with FHTC and MUFFI funds. We have worked on numerous national register properties, complying with Section 106 reviews and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Even when FHTC are not utilized, we are sensitive to preserving the character of the downtowns, enhancing the commercial viability and rejuvenating storefronts.
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Operating Efficiency—Operating and maintenance costs are critical to the success of the project and the architecture is designed for thermal performance, low maintenance brick or vinyl siding exteriors, efficient mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, and with appropriate interior finishes for the use. The design decisions are made in conjunction with the owner’s budget, management and maintenance staff, as well as our recommendations.
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Green Building Techniques—Green Building techniques are extremely applicable to multi-family housing because they are consumer (i.e. tenant) oriented, environmentally friendly, sometimes cheaper to install, and certainly result in operational savings to the owner. We routinely specify Energy Star appliances, lights, mechanical systems, enhanced thermal envelopes, and low-VOC materials. Additionally, a Green Roof is installed at Dalton’s Edge in Tarentum, where creating rooftop gardens will conserve stormwater and provide additional insulation. A fountain in Meadville added additional convective cooling to the building’s geothermal loop while creating a welcoming courtyard. An open geothermal loop system in Warren connects three blocks of urban buildings into one utility and a loop in Tarentum connects all buildings on one block. We integrate Green Building Techniques to enhance the unique character and marketing of the project. The results are a development that contributes to the community, conserves natural resources, creates energy savings over the life of the project and provides a healthy living environment for the tenants.
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LEED Certification— As members of the U.S. Green Building Council, we have LEED certified project managers and are always conscious of sustainable and renewable design. Homestead Towers A and B, each a 60 unit elderly HOPE VI project in Homestead, PA, have received LEED NC Silver Certification and were the first multi-family certified LEED-NC projects.
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NAHBRC National Green Building Program—As a member of the National Association of Home Builders and in association with the ICC, UpStreet Architects was represented by Karen Welsh on the Multi-Family Housing Task Group for the ANSI standard development of the National Green Building Standard for Residential Construction, the first ANSI certified green building standard for all types of residential construction regardless of building height or type. Members of our firm are NGBP Certified Verifiers.
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Energy Efficiency and Energy Star—One of the factors in a projectís success, which we can control through informed design decisions, are the operating costs. We insulate the buildings more than is required and use Energy Star windows and doors to decrease the size of mechanical equipment and lower operating expense. Fluorescent lighting, occupancy sensors, PEX tubing and manifolds, extra attic insulation, and Energy Star Appliances keep energy bills low. In addition to traditional heating system designs, we have extensive experience with ground-source heat pumps in both open and closed loop systems.

We are an Energy Star Partner and Energy Star’s Thermal Bypass Inspection Checklist is incorporated into our specifications to ensure the building’s performance. Most of the buildings we have designed since 2006 are Energy Star Certified.
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MEP Engineering—Multi-family buildings are a unique building type. They can have large central systems or small ones but always require very individualized controls. There are both large common areas and relatively small apartment areas. The systems must be selected with this in mind. There are building code issues which are particular to multi-story residential and mixed use buildings and are not what is typically found in office buildings.

About 70% of the projects produced by our office utilize our in-house MEP Engineering staff. We initially did this out of necessity and yet believe this has been extremely successful especially as we design more efficient buildings. The truly efficient buildings are those where the MEP systems are integrated with the architecture and there is a symbiotic relationship to their functions. In-house engineering ensures quick turnaround time, reliable coordination of all aspects of the building, a unified approach to the design and control of the costs both for design and construction. When utilizing outside engineers, our internal engineering staff is capable of educated comment, coordination and review.
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Building Codes—We are members of the ICC and NFPA and receive newsletters from the Access Board in order to receive code updates and interpretations. All employees regularly attend continuing education classes for the ICC codes and two members of our firm are certified ICC plan reviewers and inspectors. We work hard to develop cooperative relationships with local code inspectors during both the design and construction process. Karen Welsh is serving on the PA UCC Review and Advisory Council, appointed by the Governor, to review and recommend updates to the statewide building code.
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Accessibility Issues—ICC and Accessibility Code compliance is required in every project undertaken. Since our focus is on affordable multi-family housing, and nearly every project receives federal funding, we are very familiar with the requirements of UFAS, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ANSI A117.1, ADAAG, Fair Housing Act of 1988 and the HUD Minimum Property Standards. Additionally, we meet visibility goals in every project where the grades permit so all tenants can be connected.

Our standard CAD details, updated continually for clarity and communication to the contractors, reflect UFAS and ANSI compliant mounting heights, clear floor areas, clear passageways, cross slopes, etc. so that both designers and drafters can stay aware of what is required. Integration and consideration of the accessibility codes is a natural and expected part of the design process.
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HOPE VI—objectives have been to decrease density, improve services and amenities, and look at the project objectively for overall improvements to the design of the buildings and site in order to better integrate with the surrounding community. We have worked on projects which had HOPE VI funds provided and have worked on 2 HOPE VI applications.
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541 Philadelphia Street
Indiana, PA 15701
Ph: 724-349-3601
Fax: 724-349-5779
E-mail addresses
Multi-Use Housing and Commercial
Affordable Family Housing
Affordable Elderly Housing
Special Needs Housing
Service Facilities
Market Rate Housing
Historic Preservation
Certified Green Developments

© 2008 UpStreet Architects, Inc. All rights reserved.