According to Multifamily Executive, Podium construction is “[…] five stories of Type-3 wood-frame construction on a concrete substructure. In most circumstances, this concrete “podium” comprises one-story above grade, with two or more parking levels below grade. The concrete podium, in addition to containing building lobbies and parking, often contains ground-floor retail space. […] Many jurisdictions allow two stories of concrete construction above grade, for a total of seven stories. As a result, two stories of concrete construction above grade with five stories of wood on top supported by subterranean parking has become the definition of the “mixed user” in many cities.”

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How to Draw Buildings in Giraffe

Mixed Purpose Floors

Learn how to design a podium construction product in Giraffe with this easy step-by-step guide.


Consider the Requirements

Podium structures are popular since they combine wood-frame construction with a steel base structure. The wood-framing is often easier and cheaper to source, build with, and subcontract. The concrete podium allows for a taller building. Where most jurisdictions limit the height of a wood structure to only 4 stories, podium builds can reach 7 stories.

Research the allowable height and materials for podium buildings in your jurisdiction, and find out if there are any other requirements that could affect the cost, timeline, and ultimately the feasibility of the project.

A podium building, due to its height and scale, is best suited for mid- to high-density neighborhoods. Consider the impact of the design by comparing comparable properties in the area, and also permitted buildings yet to be constructed. Your project is more likely to be successful, especially if you need a zoning variance to complete, if there is a precedent for that scale of structure nearby.

Consider loading in Layers that demonstrate neighborhood information. Search your municipality’s open data resources to find applicable layers by Create Layers from Non-Native Data.

Giraffe has curated thousands of public data layers, and you can also add your own.

To add layers from the layer library:

Click the “Add Layers” button in the left-hand palette’s top left to add a layer.

Check the boxes of the layers you wish to add to the project, then click Done.

Create Usages

Giraffe connects the geometry you draw with the data you see through the concept of a Usage.