Figure 7.1 Aerial view of the design from the southwest


The selected site for this design is currently a 2.7 acre auxiliary parking lot for the Manhattan Town Center shopping mall in downtown Manhattan, Kansas. While this lot allows patrons of the mall to function effectively in the sense of having a place to park their vehicle, it consumes a large amount of area which, if designed in a variety of other ways, could become even more practical to the daily functions of Manhattanites. A design for this site was developed to provide an improved human ecology within a more urban environment.


A series of maps was developed to analyze the current conditions of the surrounding downtown area. These maps were used to determine the design needs of the site.



Figure 7.2 Mapping analysis (adapted from ArcGIS, n.d., via United States Census 2010). For display purposes, each dot on the “Age of Residents” map represents one resident, plotted within the city block of his/her residence, but not to his/her exact location of residence.


Age of Residents
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the percentage middle aged or empty nester residents within a one mile radius of the site is very small and removed from many of the activities downtown. An interview with a member of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, confirmed this information. He also stated that much of this age group in Manhattan lives on the periphery of the city, and that within downtown, there are not many opportunities for residents to have ownership of a living space other than the typical, high maintenance bungalow. The addition of residences, such as condos, to downtown would provide living spaces for said age group with easy access to downtown amenities and without the high demands of maintenance.


Recreation and Entertainment
Many of the activities within the one mile radius of the site are seasonal, emphasizing Manhattan’s severe need for forms of recreation and entertainment residents can participate in at all times of the year. Therefore, the site needs space for activities which the surrounding context lacks.


Summary of Analysis
A design which gives the middle aged and empty nester population a place to live and play will transform the existing parking lot into a block which serves the Manhattan community’s needs much more thoroughly.


The following activities and their constraints guide the design for this site:

Condos and apartments

  • 35’ wide (hallway, plus residences on one side)
  • 60’ (hallway, plus residences on both sides)

Parking garage

  • Provide protection from the elements for residents entering and exiting their vehicles
  • Minimum size: 170’ long by 120’ wide (Carl Walker, Inc. 2015)

Alleyway for service vehicles

  • Located for deliveries and trash removal

Indoor tennis courts

  • Area: 108’ by 120’ for two courts, including out-of-bounds area (Flex Court Athletics 2015)
  • Height: 4-story ceiling (International Tennis Federation 2015)

Indoor swimming pool

  • Minimum 4 lanes at 7’ wide by 82’ long (USA Swimming 2015)

Daycare for ages 2 to 5 years

  • Minimum square footage of playground: 75 square feet per child (Redwood City Parks, Recreation, and Community Services 2015)

Creative studios

  • Adequate space for woodworking, knitting, dance or other active hobbies

Improved streetscape

  • Routes for pedestrians to travel comfortably and with a sense of security
  • Placement of important program features along these routes to bring attention to them


The plan is organized upon a grid, a design that provides maximum efficiency to American cities. Simple masses of buildings were developed to reflect this thirty foot by thirty foot grid.

Eventually, the grid is disrupted using angled line, adding visual interest. The angle of the disruption line was chosen to maximize the amount of sunlight residents receive throughout the early parts of the day in order to balance residents’ hormones and improve their mood (Improving Outdoor Access for Older Adults 2015).

Spaces for activities begin to emerge, based on the grid and its disruption line. Included in this disruption is a boardwalk, with retail and recreation, along with several loft residences which separate communal from private activities on the roof.

The large open space within the city block includes an open lawn, which would mostly be used by children, residents, and downtown office workers who wish to enjoy their lunch outdoors. Rows of trees exist along the edges to frame the boardwalk, promenade, and lawn.

In addition to the program listed above, the following elements were also included in the design:

  • Residential putting green
  • Private residential balconies
  • Outdoor space attached to creative studios
  • Bike racks
  • Drop off circle for vehicles
  • Restaurant with outdoor terrace
  • Café with outdoor dining
  • Convenience store
  • Bulk health foods store
  • Sensory garden



Figure 7.3 Design process


Figure 7.4 Aerial view of putting green and resident garden on garage roof


Figure 7.5 Left: promenade and outdoor café seating from N 4th Street. Right: open lawn from northeast corner near playground and sensory garden.

|ArcGIS. n.d. Manhattan, Kansas and Riley County, Kansas GIS Data (version 10.2.2). Environmental Systems Research Institute.

Armbrust, Trent. 2015. “Guest Lecture on Manhattan Downtown Development.” presented to the LAR 442 Class, Kansas State University, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, February 11.

Carl Walker, Inc. 2015. “Parking Structure Design Guidelines.” Accessed April 1. http://parkandgo.org/media/parking_studies/appendI.pdf.

Flex Court Athletics. 2015. “Popular Tennis Court Layouts.” Accessed April 23. http://www.flexcourt.com/court-layouts-tennis.php.

Google, Inc. 2015. “Existing Site and Context.” Google Maps. Accessed April 27. https://www.google.com/maps/place/39%C2%B010’51.4%22N+96%C2%B033’39.2%22W/@39.180944,-96.56089,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0.

International Tennis Federation. 2015. “Court Regulations for ATP, WTA and ITF Davis Cup.” IFT Tennis. http://www.itftennis.com/technical/technical-centre/faqs/court-regulations.aspx.

Improving Outdoor Access for Older Adults. 2015. Access to Nature. Accessed March 30. http://www.accesstonature.org/index.asp.

Redwood City Parks, Recreation, and Community Services. 2015. “Finding Sites for Child Care Centers.” Redwood City, California. Accessed April 27. https://www.redwoodcity.org/parks/childcare/documents/FindingSitesforChildCareCenters.pdf.

The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. 2015. “Convenience Stores Offer More Convenience | NACS Online.” Accessed April 27. http://www.nacsonline.com/Research/FactSheets/ScopeofIndustry/Pages/Convenience.aspx.

Total Food Service. 2015. “How to Create a Restaurant Floor Plan.” Accessed April 7. http://totalfood.com/articles/how-to-create-a-restaurant-floor-plan.

Tuttle, Brad, and Liz Weston. 2015. “Your Grocery Store May Soon Be Cut in Half.” Time. http://time.com/money/136330/why-your-grocery-store-may-soon-be-cut-in-half/.

USA Swimming. 2015. “Pool Dimensions and Recommendations.” Accessed April 27. http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/d88245f7-325a-464b-84c6-7db3891422fc/Pool%20Dimensions%20and%20Reccomendations.pdf.


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