A need to address basic life-safety issues at this dated 1980s office building became an opportunity to improve its public face and create outdoor 'break-out' spaces for employees on both levels.
The original (deteriorating) stucco-clad stair tower was replaced with an airy armature of thin diagonal steel rod panels, which will eventually be covered in climbing vines. At its base a monolithic concrete mass acts as stair, bench and enclosure, as well as an anchor for a lighter, cantilevered steel stair to the second floor. The low, bulky overhangs at the balconies were replaced with a thin cedar-clad eave, transforming both the exterior identity of the building and the amount of natural daylight within the offices. Facing the street, the steep front yard of bermuda grass and sago palms was replaced with attractive terraces of native plants and wildflowers, with a screen of yaupon trees enclosing a ground-level terrace.
With renovations complete, the building experience has dramatically improved for both employees and visiting clients. The companies also host regular happy hours, gallery exhibits and promotional events, where activities flow seamlessly between the parking lot, exterior porches and balconies, and indoor space. The project demonstrates how, in a town gone crazy with demolition, tired old buildings may still be adapted for contemporary workplaces with thoughtful interventions and an open-minded client.
“Working with Thoughtbarn was an absolute pleasure. They are an amazingly smart and creative bunch that radically transformed our building on budget and on time. They thought of things we never would have and did a tremendous job communicating with us from start to finish. I would never hesitate to work with them again and look forward to the opportunity to do so.” Rich Garza, Co-Founder of Giant Noise