Author: RAFFI ARZOUMANIAN
For the past three years, we at a+c architects have been working to create our new office. As we usher in 2016, we are very excited to announce that both our clients and we can begin enjoying and working in the space.
Given our commitment to sustainable architecture, we decided to repurpose an existing building for our new office space. The spotlights on our gallery wall were manufactured in 1956 and are salvaged from a car show room. New LED light bulbs and clean aluminum form part of our minimalistic design language.
Prior to our renovations, the building consisted of a small office area and a warehouse. The only light coming into the building is through the front windows.
One of our primary objectives in transforming this building into an elegant office space reflective of our company’s core values was to take advantage of natural light as much as possible. We believe naturally lit spaces increase productivity and boost morale.
We also wanted to reduce our energy consumption and to be connected to the world outside our workspace as much as possible. To achieve this goal, we removed the entire font façade of the building and replaced it with insulted and energy efficient glass. We also removed as much of the roof as possible and installed clearstory that rises six feet above the existing roof. We sloped the clearstories from north to south to maximize the north light entering into the studio and minimized the south clearstories to control the strong southern exposure from the sun. Through this process, we also got a lot of light from the east and west. Throughout the workspace, we can enjoy the sun’s journey during the day as it moves around our structure. The most pleasant result is that, weather permitting; we do not use any artificial light throughout the day anywhere in the office. Our commitment to using natural light is significant, especially when you consider that the building is 50 feet wide and 80 feet deep.
When it comes to the design of the space, we have taken a very minimalistic approach by installing polished concrete floors, exposing both existing and new structures, and clean white walls and ceilings. We want to give our clients an opportunity to cleanse their visual palate when they walk into our studio and engage with us to explore ideas and designs in a clean, well-lit place. Our space allows clients to fill our space with the visuals and images that inspire their vision.
The original concrete floor of the building was in terrible shape. We removed the entire floor, which allowed us to insulate and install rebar instead of mesh to prevent cracking then we had it polished. The team from BareFoot Concrete Inc. took a personal interest in the project and made it happen even though we had framed the entire walls already.
We have also set aside a 400 square foot space aside as an art gallery in front of the building. We wanted to create a venue where the artists themselves would have an opportunity to exhibit their artwork completely independently. The mission of this space is to provide a local dialogue with the community and local artists. We call it “the gallery.” We also designed and built our conference table out of concrete. I will tell that story in an upcoming update.
The repurposing of the building as our office has taken over three years. Balancing this exciting project with working on our client’s projects has posed a challenge, but we have accomplished so much more than we initially imagined in a way that preserved the integrity of our work while also taking this exciting step in our company’s trajectory. The new office has given us an opportunity to also look inward and refocus our commitment to providing a superb architectural and engineer service to our clients with hands on and personal approach. We still have a ways to go to put the finishing touches on our space, but we are far enough that we can enjoy being in the space.