Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breathing new life into a tired building.

Recycle! Renovate not replace! With all the talk about "green buildings" and LEED certification, sometimes the best way to achieve these goals or similar results is to renovate an existing building and not build a new one.
Rendering of proposed renovation

A good example of this is a building we participated in the design of in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Once the headquarters for the Portsmouth Herald, the new owners sought to find new tenants for the building. Part of the challenge was the dated look of the building and its lack of character. Frankly the building was just ugly and didn't allow for any real natural light inside and wasn't much to look at outside.

The directive was to "breathe new life into the building by creating a more contemporary, brighter building, that would attract new tenants, and be a better gateway building into the city" since it sits on one of the major routes into the downtown. Flexibility was also important. The goal was to attract not only commercial office tenants but potential retail tenants as well.

Existing building
The original design concept was to enlarge the existing window openings! This would not only create great retail windows if those were desired, but would also allow natural daylight to find its way into the heart of the building.
Early concept sketches
The other need was for an entry that had more prominence. This also gave us an opportunity to add a more contemporary look to the building and introduce more "high tech" materials.
By saving the building we were able to reduce the amount of waste that would've been brought to landfills. The new windows are highly efficient and allow much greater daylighting. The new building systems are much more efficient. And the building is starting to fill up with new tenants.

We hope you'll agree that the end result is a vast improvement.

Architect of record: Destefano Architects