Copper Sponsor Provides Shining New Product Examples
A quiet revolution is unfolding on the streets of Atlanta's downtown commercial/industrial district. Through an urban-revival demonstration project called "Live/Work 2001," a consortium of architects, editors, builders and manufacturers hopes to restore the once-cherished ideal that homes and businesses can happily coexist in an inner-city setting. It is only within the past century that life and labor in this country seemed to go their separate ways. The walk to work became a long-distance commute, while vibrant city neighborhoods of shops, offices and low-rise tenements made way for strip malls and high-rise apartments. Now the pattern is changing again, with an estimated 55 million Americans doing business from their homes or telecommuting to their jobs. However, many professionals don't want to abandon city life for a quiet desktop in the country. They want the best of all worlds-to work from home in a comfortable downtown environment where they can meet clients and ply their trades.
To foster this revival in the urban core, " Live/Work 2001" mixes offices and retail shops with attractive residences located above or behind commercial spaces. The mini-complex of attached brick buildings is constructed on a lowrise, storefront scale reminiscent of turn-of- the-century urban development. The creative forces behind the project include a construction trade journal, Builder Magazine; a national developer, Beazer Homes; and the architectural firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, a leader of the growing "new urbanist" restoration movement in this country.
"Live/Work 2001" opened in February during the International Builders Show, which hosted an estimated 72,000 attendees from the residential and commercial construction industry. To entice builders to tour the project, manufacturers of building materials donated their most innovative products. One participating sponsor, the Copper Development Association, provided the plumbing materials for the entire project's fresh-water system, and also furnished an innovative, cost-effective copper piping system for distributing natural or bottled (LP) gas to the household appliances.
"Some builders are still unaware of the cost- and labor-saving benefits of copper fuel-gas systems," explains CDA president, Andrew G. Kireta, Sr. "This project lets us display a product that works for everyone-the builder, installer and homeowner. The copper system fits in with the goals of inner-city redevelopment, and it can be installed by the same contractor who installs the copper plumbing." In "Live/Work 2001," the copper fuel-gas system serves the central heating units and other gas appliances throughout the complex, including water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges and ovens, and gas-burning fireplaces. Other copper-based products showcased in the project include brass lighting fixtures, locks and hardware, decorative copper and bronze wall tiles, and new high-capacity copper home-telecommunications wiring.
While "Live/Work 2001" hopes to reshape the way Americans live and work in the 21st Century, its developers have not scrapped our most comfortable and familiar icons in the process. The architectural plan includes homespun touches such as street-level shop windows that encourage walk-in trade, balconies overlooking tiny courtyards, and even postcard-size lawns and gardens for the private apartments.