Monday, January 14, 2013

Breathing New Life into an Old Building

An exercise in updating a building to increase value.

Buildings are demolished every day because it is generally thought that replacing a building is the easiest and most cost-effective approach.  But all it takes is an inspired designer to transform an old and tired building into something attractive and current, making it almost unrecognizable as the building it once was.

A prospective tenant from the fashion industry approached our building landlord, Skyland Development, about the possibility of leasing space for a showroom.  The lease contract was predicated on the ability to alter the rentable ground floor to suit the new tenants needs as well as the landlord’s willingness to update the façade of the building to give the showroom a street presence to attract a fashionable clientele.  Happy to seize this opportunity, Skyland Development contracted with our office and engaged Principal Carlo M. Di Nunzio, AIA to design the alteration.

Our office is located at 2311 Dunlavy, in a 1960’s building that used to be an air conditioning supply warehouse.  The warehouse was practical, unadorned and virtually windowless.  Its exterior did not portray the talented and creative people, such as the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, who work inside.  However, the interior was efficient, ample, well organized and in no need of a drastic face-lift.

2311 Dunlavy - Before & After

It's easy to employ limitless creativity when you have all the money in the world.  But when a strict budget is enforced, this is where the true talent and ingenuity of the design team comes into play.  Exploring all of the options available to create a truly beautiful building while remaining value-minded is a true challenge and testament to the experience and taste of the designer.

Carlo judged that only a few small changes would greatly enhance the building and proceeded to choose an elegant new gray color for the exterior walls.  Installing windows was one of the top priorities of Carlo's for both the showroom display needs as well as the aesthetic appeal.  The new openings were punctuated with vertical and horizontal strips of mahogany, which added texture, warmth and scale to the façade.  The lobby of the building was fitted with new tile floors, and a new entrance was created for the Fairview Street elevation.  The entrance was framed with a steel canopy, wood accents and new light fixtures, and its placement on Fairview Street reoriented the building onto the corner.  With the addition of new sidewalks and landscaping, the renovated building has an attractive, commanding presence in the neighborhood.

The finished product
Lots of windows and thoughtful accents transformed this tired
building into a like-new structure. LOTS of curb appeal!

The renovation total was $150,000 or roughly $10/SF. This is a phenomenal price considering the average cost to construct a new commercial building is around $144/SF. A building in great condition + an inspired & value-minded design team = a great investment!

Come visit soon!

Professional Photography by Elena Sbrana with Earchphoto


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