Vital Spaces, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico is dedicated to the adaptive reuse of local vacant buildings into spaces for art events, exhibitions, and studios. Local real estate investor Jonathan Boyd was inspired to establish Vital Spaces after observing the city's overwhelming number of empty spaces, high rent, and underrepresentation of the area's younger and Native artists. "We see the lack of affordable spaces in Santa Fe as the biggest threat to sustaining a diverse cultural environment," the organization's website claims. In 2017, Boyd had several productive meetings with the organizers of Chashama, a similarly-minded organization based in New York City founded by actress Anita Durst that has secured over one million square feet for local artists. Since moving into a downtown property in Santa Fe in March of last year and establishing a midtown exhibition space shortly thereafter, Vital Spaces has made a significant presence within the local art community in a remarkably short amount of time. But its biggest breakthrough came this month after signing the lease to the campus of the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the College of Santa Fe. The 64-acre campus, which includes a series of interconnected buildings designed by famed Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta, has been sitting empty since May 2018, following the university's closure. This gave Boyd time to consider how the campus could become Vital Spaces' most significant contribution to the local art scene yet. Currently, the organization has plans to use the campus in-part to one day provide four- to-six art studio spaces and a large exhibition area, with the hopes of bringing in other organizations to curate shows and propose a wide range of uses for the site. Until the campus project is finalized, however, Vital Spaces will continue to focus its energy on the city's smaller vacant properties, starting this Fall with the use of vacant storefronts throughout downtown Santa Fe as displays for the work of local artists. "When we give artists space," reads Vital Spaces' mission statement, "we breathe life into our communities with innovative artistic programming that inspires Santa Feans of all ages and backgrounds; we bring economic vitality to those communities; we raise Santa Fe’s profile on the national art stage."
Posts tagged with "Adaptive Reuse":
As South East London's Old Kent Road area undergoes a massive redevelopment, several ideas have been tossed around regarding what to do with its centerpiece, a towering gasholder remaining from the Victorian era. Followers of the project have snapped to attention in light of the latest announcement: Developer Avanton is recruiting architects to sink their teeth into designing London’s first alligator farm. Maccreanor Lavington, Patel Taylor, and Farrells are the firms working with Avanton to explore the feasibility of the project, according to a report byBuilding Design. Avanton’s project information describes the park is the “green heart” of the larger Ruby Triangle, Avanton’s extensive mixed-use development of the Old Kent Road area in South East London. The result will be five new buildings with a total of 1,152 residential units, as well as commercial space and a community sports and recreation center. The gasholder stands at the center of the park zone, and while it has been defunct for more than ten years, Avanton plans to keep the 160-foot metal skeleton as a tribute to the heyday of the Old Kent Road gasworks industry in the mid-19th century. The frame would be outfitted with glass and essentially converted into a circular conservatory with a 65-foot-deep water feature. This type of enclosure would allow the park, along with its accompanying educational facility and visitor’s center, to remain open to visitors year-round. While the alligator farm is just one of at least three distinct park concepts for the area, it has understandably caught the attention of many who wonder what a public space of this nature might look like. In a statement to Londonist, Katheryn Wise of World Animal Protection expressed concern:
“Not only is the busy and noisy environment of a property on the Old Kent Road no place for a wild animal, the transportation and handling of these alligators is likely to cause them unnecessary stress, fear and anxiety. Wild animal exploitation to boost the profits of a property developer is the wrong message to be sending and we are urging the company to rethink their decision.”Alligators require warm, humid climates not just to survive, but also to reproduce and feel at ease within their habitat. In a press statement, Avanton claimed that it treats all environmental and ethical implications seriously, and the project will not move forward without consulting the appropriate experts. All of the park concepts are currently under discussion with Southwark Borough Council, and commentary will soon open up to a public forum.
The Arts District may soon be known as the most rapidly developing section of Los Angeles. The newest proposed addition is Produce L.A., a boldly-designed mixed-use building on the corner of Santa Fe Avenue and Jesse Street, within throwing distance of the Los Angeles River and Michael Maltzan Architecture's Sixth Street Viaduct. The building will replace a cold storage facility currently on the site, thereby contributing to the transition the Arts District has been undergoing from an industrial area to a creative hub. When complete, Produce L.A. will be one of many office complexes in the immediate area, including OFFICEUNTITLED's AVA Los Angeles and the adaptively-reused Santa Fe Business Center. Designed by local firm EYRC Architects (formerly Ehrlich Architects), the four-story building will include over 100,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, a restaurant on its ground floor, extensive landscaping along Santa Fe Avenue, parking for over 200 cars, and an activated rooftop with views from the Downtown skyline to the Los Angeles River. The distinct patterning of the facade is designed to protect the building's interior from excess solar radiation while decreasing the necessary amount of glazing. In a nod to the area's industrial history, the panels will be primarily comprised of corrugated steel. The owners of the Produce L.A. building, Denver-based Continuum Partners and Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, are putting aside an estimated $100 million towards the new office building (the project received a much-need boost when the group received a $54 million loan from an undisclosed lender). Construction has already begun, and the project is slated to be completed by late 2020.
The trend of converting disused churches into private residences has been exhausted but little has been done by way of turning these former "sacred spaces" into civic or commercial venues. Leading the charge in this new adaptive reuse crusade is Balbek Bureau. The Kiev-based interior architecture firm recently completed 906 World Cultural Center, a multifunctional startup incubator, events space, and co-living concept that occupies a former church in the heart of San Francisco. The complex serves as a launchpad for the development of young companies, enabling them to live, work, socialize, develop, and communicate with like-minded entrepreneurs in a single space. The core of this late nineteenth-century, Mission Revival bethel was re-equipped as an auditorium while its basement was refurbished as a workspace and makers lab. Salvaging and restoring the historic features of the listed Our Lady of Guadalupe church, the firm implemented a scheme that makes use of its dramatic nave and ambulatory alcoves. While the former plays host to a moveable seating and table system, the latter serves a series of lounges. Together, they set the stage for anything from film-screenings to hackathons. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
Los Angeles is not known for holding on to its architecture, whether those structures are architecturally significant or hastily constructed. Rare examples of streamline art deco, international modernism, and neo-Egyptian architecture have all met the wrecking ball to make way for contemporary alternatives. In the last few years, however, adaptive reuse has breathed new life into many of the city’s forgotten yet exemplary buildings, and the transformation of office buildings into residential complexes in particular is gaining significant traction as an alternative to demolition. In 2015, a 10-story building in West Hollywood, designed by Richard Dorman in 1964, was purchased by local real estate investment firm Townscape Partners with plans to transform the quirky structure into a residential complex. With the help of Olson Kundig, the international architecture firm behind projects including Washington State University’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum and the renovation of the Seattle Space Needle, the office building will become a 48-unit residential complex. The firm’s approach towards adaptive reuse intends to maintain the original integrity of the building by setting all of the new additions away from the street while renovating much of the building’s modernist exterior detailing, including the signature concrete balconies facing Beverly Boulevard. An innovative curtain wall glazing system on the upper floors and generously-sized roof terraces will help dissolve the boundary between inside and out to complement the openness of the original design. For shading and privacy, the renovated facade will be outfitted with an operable vertical shutter system. And true to the Olson Kundig name, the interiors of the new building will be materially sumptuous, including patinated bronze wall panels, custom-designed bronze detailing, and travertine floors throughout. On the other side of the city on a busy stretch of Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown, Jamison Services Inc. has been hard at work converting a 13-story office building from the 1950s into accommodations for 206 units with ample retail space on the ground floor. Local firm CORBeL Architects was hired to oversee the renovation, and renderings reveal that the massing and horizontal bands of the original building will be kept intact, with the addition of distinct red patterning on its most visible corner from the street. The construction team has already begun the process of transforming the building's interiors, and CORBeL Architects estimates that the project will be completed by late 2020. In Downtown Los Angeles, construction recently began on the adaptive reuse of the Lane Mortgage Building, a 12-story structure designed in 1923 by local architect Lester Loy Smith. After the building was acquired by the Delijani Family, they hired Downtown-based architecture firm Omgivning—responsible for renovating several other turn-of-the-century buildings in the immediate area—to oversee the project, which calls for transforming the upper floors of the building into accommodations for 109 rental apartments, some of which will be under 400 square feet. According to the firm, the units will feature “creatively-deployed areas for seating and storage,” to demonstrate the livability of small living spaces within adaptively reused buildings. The largest unit will be an 1,100-square-foot penthouse on the top floor with its own access to private outdoor access. The firm is maintaining several of the building’s quirky details, including the historically significant tilework in its entry lobby created by artisan Ernest Batchelder. Set to be completed by Spring 2020, the project will also include a bar in its basement that is sure to evoke the speakeasies that were common in the area when the building was first completed.
Firestone Tire and Service Center, an anonymously designed Streamline Moderne building servicing a countless number of Los Angeles’ cars under its sleek roofline since first opening in 1938, shut its garage doors to the public in 2016. The disused building can currently be seen partially boarded up on the corner of 8th and La Brea in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile, eagerly awaiting a new function. On December 6, it was announced that two companies have come together to transform the Firestone Tire building into a unique eating and drinking destination. Pouring With Heart, a local nightlife and hospitality company that operates several bars in the area, has plans to open up a brewery using 13,000 square feet of the original building’s interior, and will likely name it All Season Brewing Company. And, after demonstrating success with their restaurant sited in Downtown Los Angeles, Chicas Tacos has agreed to take over the remaining floor area of the building. The decision to adaptively reuse a building from the city’s early days of automobile servicing has become a common one throughout Los Angeles in the last decade. The 1972 oil crisis led to the closure and/or demolition of hundreds of gas stations and service centers throughout the city, and only a small handful of them have gained new life while holding onto their old-world charm. Gilmore Gas Station, for example, a Streamline Moderne building designed by engineer R.J. Kadow in 1935, became a drive-through Starbucks in 2015. The Firestone Tire building project is being overseen by local interior design studio M. Winter Design and is set to be completed by early 2020. From the renderings, it appears as though the renovation will include the building’s original rooftop lettering, fluorescent lighting, baked porcelain cladding and, of course, its iconic roofline while maintaining industrial interior flourishes.
When an artist titles a piece, a series, or a body of work Untitled, it may appear to the viewer as an abdication of responsibility, or blatant indecision designed to confuse the viewer. And yet, more often than not, the decision is made to establish a shared experience of open-endedness and subjectivity between the artist and viewer. The decision to avoid a title can potentially liberate any work from belonging to a single movement, choosing instead to reflect ageless human conditions and the ever-changing qualities of how we perceive the world around us. Such was the decision behind the naming of OFFICEUNTITLED, the Los Angeles-based architecture firm with an extensive range of projects behind them in their young career. The firm's four principals—Shawn Gehle, Benjamin Anderson, Lindsay Green and Christian Robert—met while working at Gensler and first established an office together in 2013 under the name R&A Architecture and Design. Changing their name in 2019 to reflect the undefined nature of their practice, OFFICEUNTITLED currently has a handful of exemplary work behind them and a wealth of projects set to be completed in the near future. AVA LA Arts District Developed as a “base camp” for the creative community in Downtown Los Angeles, AVA LA Arts District is a seven-story complex broken up by multiple courtyards conceived as impromptu workspaces. The project will be up to seven stories in some parts of the 3.75-acre property and will contain approximately 475 live/work units. The overall plan was designed in recognition of the adjacent light rail station that is set to be completed within the next few years. “AVA opens up to this context and the new urban fabric at ground level,” the firm wrote, “while reinterpreting the horizontality of Los Angeles through its form.” The exteriors were designed in a nod to the large, turn-of-the-century industrial buildings found in the area, while its interiors are minimally designed with board-formed concrete and fiber cement paneling. When completed in 2023, AVA LA will be neighbors of several significant developments, including a mixed-use project designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Michael Maltzan Architects’ Sixth Street Viaduct. 9th & Hil OFFICEUNTITLED’s adaptive reuse of the May Company Parking Garage in Downtown Los Angeles, one of the first purpose-built parking structures in the United States when it was completed in 1926, will maintain much of the character of the structure while adding mixed-use programming and a penthouse in the form of a pristine glass box. The upper two floors of the 400-car structure will be transformed into creative office space, while the ground floor will become a grocery market with exposed Beaux-Arts detailing throughout. The project, set to be completed in 2021, will require extensive renovation of its iconic facade, for which it was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2011. Woodlark Completed in 2018, Woodlark is a hotel in Portland, Oregon, developed as an adaptive reuse of the historic Woodlark Building and adjacent Cornelius Hotel into a single, continuous building. To develop the aesthetic for the 150-room hotel, the firm brought the opulence and ornate design of the two structures into the 20th century through the use of “subtle, soft, and elegant” detailing while renovating the exterior facades in their entirety. A penthouse and stair tower penetrate the roofline of the tower half of the hotel while still maintaining the site’s French Renaissance style and iconic rooflines. The design of the hotel’s interiors is a nod to the verdant landscapes unique to the Pacific Northwest, down to the ‘mossy’ velvet and natural wood tones throughout the ground floor, restaurant and lounge bar. Through a reimagining of the two buildings’ interiors as one, OFFICEUNTITLED achieves a balance between vernacular and indigenous aesthetics in the middle of downtown Portland. Cayton Children’s Museum Set within the upper floor of Santa Monica Place, OFFICEUNTITLED’s design for Cayton Children’s Museum is a free plan defined by playfully-scaled landmarks that allow visitors to determine paths through the 30+ exhibits on display. These objects are referred to according to their unique external appearances and textures, with names such as the Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, and Drum. According to the firm, “these objects solve non-exhibit program requirements while [bearing in mind] that everything is a teachable moment in a children’s museum.” The firm’s goal to use the objects to blur the relationship between architecture and exhibit is perhaps best demonstrated by the Courage Climber, a vibrantly-colored net structure hanging above over 20 percent of the museum’s total floor area. The installation allows children to unique navigate space through a novel method while offering views of other exhibits throughout the museum. “Made to inspire a sense of curiosity,” the firm explained, “the design is a contemporary space for exploration and adventure.” Completed June of this year, Cayton Children’s Museum sets a high standard for design for spaces intended for children.
It was announced on November 4 that a former Macy’s department store in the quickly developing Rancho Park neighborhood in West Los Angeles will be converted into a bustling office development. Los Angeles-based developer GPI Companies purchased the mid-century building on Pico Boulevard and Overland Avenue for $50 million in February 2017, along with the adjacent 1,500-car parking garage and an adjacent six-acre plot of land with plans to transform the site into an office campus called West End, which will feature over 230,000 square feet of leasable office and retail space. With close proximity to the Expo Line’s Westwood/Rancho Park subway station and a bevy of global companies including Fox Studios, Google, Hulu and Creative Artists Agency (CCA) nearby, GPI anticipates that West End will fit into the neighborhood as an ideal location for media, technology, and financial tenants. New York-based HLW Architects, the group behind the design of West End, has envisioned an adaptive reuse conversion for the former Macy's store while still making room for a spacious airy three-level central courtyard and introducing primarily drought-tolerant plants. The design also updates the original facade, already distinctive for its deep arches, by adding private balconies and floor-to-ceiling glass windows which will bring much-needed light into the building’s deep interior. “The intent,” according to the firm’s website, “was to repurpose the existing valuable infrastructure to revitalize community, to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, and to open up a big box store building into the urban fabric.” With an estimated budget of $180 million for the project, GPI has already begun the process of transforming the mid-century department store building and anticipates that construction will be completed by early 2021. After that, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. is expected to become its principal leasing agent.
The infamous Gold Building in downtown Indianapolis is set to lose its luster. After purchasing the 20-story office tower earlier this year, local developers Gershman Partners and Citimark announced it would modernize the facade with an all-glass curtain wall, effectively stripping the 44-year-old building of its longtime identity. Located at 151 N. Delaware St., Market Square Center—as it’s officially called—is one of the shiniest buildings in Indiana’s capital city. The boxy modernist structure was designed by local firm Wright, Porteous & Lowe in the mid-1970s and features a reflective gold exterior wrapped around 420,500-square-feet of office space. Over the last several years, the Gold Building and its neighbor, Two Market Square Center, have struggled under many changes in ownership and the site has proved too costly to maintain. Set in the city’s Market East District, a burgeoning neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis, the project sits next to the popular City Market Food Hall and along an eight-mile-long walking and biking path known as Cultural Trail. Over the last five years, the area has received significant commercial and retail investments and the developers hope the Gold Building will find a new life in the center of the scene. In a March interview with the Indianapolis Business Journal, Eric Gershman, principal of Gershman Partners, said his team aims to connect the two buildings more seamlessly with the neighborhood below by activating them at street level and updating the interiors to boost occupancy. Newly released renderings reveal that Market Square Center will soon feature a transparent facade and public space at the ground level. Per Citimark’s portfolio, not only will the facade undergo a significant change, but the interiors will as well. The lobbies, restrooms, and office tenant spaces will be upgraded with Class A finishes and the first floor will include room for a restaurant, bar, and retail. The redevelopment has received both criticism and praise from locals since it was unveiled in May. Some are sad to see the gold glass go, while others don’t mind and claim the glare produced by the Gold Building has made it unbearable to drive by over the decades. It’s unclear when construction will begin on the renovation, or when the building will reopen to future tenants, but one thing is for certain: Golden hour will never be the same in downtown Indy.
The 92-year-old Clark Adams Building, also known as the Bankers Building, on the Chicago Loop is set to become the largest co-living complex in the city. Local developer CityPads will complete an $80 million renovation to bring 505 residences, managed by Common, and an additional 159 apartments to the top 31 floors of the 41-story former office building. The renovation will be renamed the “Common Burnham,” named after the building’s original designers, the Burnham Brothers, who completed the project in 1927. This will be the fifth co-living space run by Common in Chicago, but the privilege of living in such a well-known building will be significantly more expensive than other locations, with rooms—not units—starting at $1,400 a month. While the building is setting co-living unit records in Chicago and many other major cities, it still pales in comparison to some of the gargantuan co-living spaces planned in other parts of the country. New York will get its own 500-person co-living building in 2022 from the London-based firm The Collective, while San Jose could see an 800-person occupancy tower as soon as 2021. The Loop area has become an attractive market for co-living spaces, in part because of the city’s high cost of living and downtown's rising office vacancies. Only about half of the Clark-Adams Building office spaces are currently occupied, and other office buildings in the area have gone through residential transitions, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You’ll start to see a lot of these Central Loop buildings being converted to residential," CityPads founder Andy Ahitow told the Chicago Tribune. "It’s an area that’s transitioning to a residential market. There are close to 20,000 people living in the Loop now, and it continues to grow." The Common Burnham will function much the same as other co-living spaces, with small single occupancy rooms and shared amenities like bathrooms, kitchens, and common spaces (aka, dorm-like). 105 West Adams Street is set to reopen its doors to tenants in early 2022.
Following the closure of the Art Institute of Colorado building in late 2018 in Denver (alongside a host of other institutions now under the Dream Center Education Holdings umbrella), it was announced on September 30 that Nichols Partnership paid $15.25 million for the site with plans of transforming the property into as many as 155 micro-units. When asked about the reasoning behind the ten-story structure's conversion, Randy Nichols, one of the partners of Nichols Partnership, said that “this building just happens to work out perfectly in the depth of the floorplate, so that we can get small units in there and they’re not super long and thin.” The company believes that the apartments, all of which would range between 300 and 450 square feet, would become desirable given the building’s proximity to Denver’s city center and the Libeskind-designed Denver Art Museum. Nichols commented that developing micro-units “is a way to make an affordable place to stay for people who are priced out of this very expensive apartment market.” Whereas a typical studio apartment in the area might go for $1,500-to-$1,700 a month, Nichols Properties hopes to rent their micro-units for closer to $1,100-to-$1,200 a month. The Art Institute is the third building in the area repurposed for micro-units by Nichols Partnership, the other two being a former hotel near the Mile High Stadium now known as “Turntable Studios” and a former medical office building near City Park now named “Cruise.” “Doing conversions of beat-up, old unoccupied building is kind of becoming a specialty, I guess,” Nichols reflected. “It’s a really good way to mitigate the ridiculous cost of new construction.” The company hasn’t yet settled on a name or theme for the new development, but Nichols suggested that they may incorporate student artwork that was left on desks before the building was vacated. With a projected total price tag of $35 million, the renovation is anticipated to begin next year.
A social club for nonprofits dedicated to tackling women’s equality issues was slated for Manhattan’s West Side inside a former women’s prison, but now it appears the long-awaited conversion has been canceled. The redesign by Deborah Berke Partners, a conversion of the Bayview Correctional Facility into The Women’s Building by the NoVo Foundation, had been the talk of the town since 2014, but the nonprofit group spearheading the much-anticipated project abruptly announced its cancellation last week. Instead of using the $50 million raised to repurpose the Chelsea prison as originally intended, the NoVo Foundation has instead decided to put that money directly into the pockets of organizations and minority communities doing the work it hoped the hub would serve. The City reported that The Women’s Building released a letter last Friday explaining that the timelines and budgets for the project “far exceeded original estimates,” and that the development plan was not a responsible use of these resources.
“At NoVo, we hold a very deep and continuous responsibility to examine how we are distributing resources in a world where needs are urgent and growing,” the letter read. “This country is in a time of great upheaval, with the most marginalized communities, including girls and women, facing daily and deepening attacks. In these profoundly unstable times, we know how important it is for NoVo to be nimble and responsive. We must move quickly, shifting resources to the communities facing injustice every day.”Originally set to be built inside the shuttered women’s prison—which permanently evacuated its incarcerated ahead of Superstorm Sandy—the project had gained major traction and was backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, local Community Board 4, and Gloria Steinem, among other activists. The design team was chosen in 2016 after a request for proposals went out through the state government, and 43 teams applied. A lot of work was needed to update the facility before tenants could move in, as it suffered extensive damage during the 2012 hurricane. Berke’s team, which included Rhoda Kennedy and Arthi Krishnamoorthy, along with the Lela Goren Group, had been aiming to make the 100,000-square-foot building an inclusive “place of hope and action.” It was to going to allow natural light to reach the building's core, feature ample wellness and co-working spaces, and would have boasted expansive views of the Hudson River. In an email to AN, Deborah Berke Partners said it will continue to support The Women’s Building and the group's efforts to build community. “We are inspired by The Women’s Building community, and we share their values. We will continue to support the work of The Women’s Building community in any way we can, and we applaud the NoVo Foundation’s $50 million commitment to advancing that work on behalf of women and girls around the world."