Seeking a minimal intervention on a historic 1926 building, the design team was tasked with converting a neglected office building into luxury apartments. The seven-story structure contained a single stair/elevator core that presented a series of code issues, preventing previous redevelopment. The architects negotiated an array of code equivalences at the state and local level in order to maintain a single means of egress for the building’s upper floors, utilizing increased assembly ratings, minimal travel distances, pressurized vertical egress, and adaptation of historic steel windows into egress doors. Site restrictions drove designers to propose a seven story addition with a footprint of only 600 square feet. This tower required a finely tuned independent structure which cantilevers to meet the historic façade.
Sensitivity to the historic building drove all design and construction decisions. The addition’s rain screen maps lines of influence from the original building through fiber cement panels and historically accurate granite. Additionally, utilitarian elements, such as dryer and trash room venting, were articulated to express a restrained design language which seeks to simultaneously reference and contrast the historic structure. Selective demolition unveiled original oak floors throughout the building. Restoration of these elements along with exterior features has returned this iconic structure to use and prominence.