Project DescriptionThis project is an adaptive reuse of an existing 1939 two-story office building which had been unoccupied for several years. The building was purchased and renovated in 2006 by Watson Tate Savory for their own use. In addition to responding to a need for office space, it was the architects’ intent to save this early modern building as an example of the “next wave” of structures worthy of consideration for local landmark status. The architects also designed the project for LEED certification, recycling existing resources and introducing rapidly renewable resources, making it the first LEED project in Columbia, SC's city center. Simple materials and details were utilized in response to the straightforward tectonic of the original structure. A minimalist aesthetic was employed as a way to bring natural light into the space and bring clarity to the design.
In order to maximize an open plan and introduction of daylight, a central stair was introduced, organizing circulation and creating a strong link between first and second floor functions. Workstations were aligned with the structural grid, with shelving and cabinets held away from the existing shell. Translucent glass panel dividers were integrated into the bookcases to maximize the flow of natural light through the space. Where acoustical isolation is necessary, broad expanses of interior storefront are used to maximize visual openness. The building façade is left entirely intact with the exception of new entry sconces, a glass “visor” announcing the entry and new thermal, operable windows.
The hope – and design intent of this project – was to provide a minimalist, contemporary design, in dialogue with the existing early modern facade, which serves as an example of sustainability and encourages consideration of other local modernist structures for landmark status.