The Johnson School of Education executive education program is planning on moving into a new home on Dryden Road built by Collegetown Terraces developer John Novarr.
The six-story building fits within the 80-foot height requirement for the area, just east of College Avenue, but needed a couple of zoning variance approvals. Architect Alan Chimacoff wanted only one main entrance, and doors in commercial areas are supposed to be no more than 60 feet apart. The other variance was from a requirement to have a "chamfered" corner - a typically 45-degree shaved angle on a corner, rather than coming to a 90-degree meeting point.
The single entrance doorway on Dryden Road will encourage "year-round activity at the street level," Chimacoff told the board. The open glass on that side is clear, low-iron glass. "as transparent as the glass you can find out there," so people passing by can "see the activity of that building and make it feel like they're part of the building itself."
"We believe it's a transformative building for Collegetown," Chimacoff continued. "The metaphor of this building reflects what Collegetown is."
Jonathan Steel, owner of 301 Linden St., a Victorian-style student residence, was the lone opposition.
"I'm not normally someone who stands in the way of a speeding locomotive, but I feel this is a very important corner," Steel said. He cited the tightness of the corner and called for it to stay chamfered.
"When the Greeks put the Parthenon up, they put rounded pillars on the bottom and you could also see through it," Steel said. "I think it's irrelevant that it should be a chiseled corner – I think it should be a chamfer corner."
The city Board of Zoning Appeals approved the variances with only Marilyn Tebor Shaw dissenting.