When Kansas City, Mo.-based el dorado decided to design a new office, it didn't want to lose the industrial character of its previous digs. So the 11-year-old firm purchased a 1920s warehouse in the city's artsy Crossroads district, not far from its first few locations.

Led by principals Jamie Darnell, David Dowell, Dan Maginn, AIA, Josh Shelton, and Douglas Stockman, el dorado gutted the warehouse and created a 5,000-square-foot, second-floor office for its 15-person staff. The first floor is devoted to a 4,000-square-foot steel workshop in which the firm designs and fabricates its own custom metal building elements. The architects left the warehouse's existing bowstring trusses intact, allowing a brightly striped carpet to play up their orderly linearity.

A double-height area on the workshop level—once a loading dock—became el dorado's entry lobby. New signage, a freshly painted exterior, and spruced-up landscaping complete the transformation. “Our clients like coming down here,” Maginn says. “They feel actively connected to the making of things.”