This adaptive reuse of a 1920s granite-faced service garage created a headquarters office for an ecologically and socially-minded business that produces all-natural sustainably-sourced gum and candy.
DUAL minimally divided the airy interior to preserve natural light and cooling breezes across the space, which is kept cool in the summer without air conditioning. Raising and lowering various work areas created privacy without the need for full partitions, and an open conference area looks out onto the garden. An inventory storage area on the far side takes advantage of one of the preexisting steel roll-up doors for shipping access, and the modern look of the new walls filling in the other door bays announces the rebirth of this building after decades of abandonment.
Conservation of spatial and material resources was the main design consideration for this project. We were fascinated with the original mechanics' pit, a four-foot deep trench that ran nearly the length of the interior. In order to conserve and highlight this unique feature, it was repurposed as an axial approach to a sunken office pod. This entrenching was countered by platforming a parallel work area four feet above the floor. The high and low elements create a diagonal dynamic across the space and define the space as four independent zones with minimal partitioning.
DUAL designed the project to minimize energy consumption and to maximize a compact (1,400 sf) interior for seven employees. One end of the mechanic's pit in the garage was saw cut to accommodate a sunken office space. Two steel roll-up garage doors were left in place to become the outer surface of insulated infill walls. A high-efficiency boiler and rooftop solar array feed a radiant floor within an exposed, finished concrete slab. High ceilings and operable windows (prewar center-pivot, steel-frame sash) provide warm-weather ventilation and cooling, allowing the office to stay comfortable through the summer without air conditioning. The building has been net-positive in the three years since its completion.