ADG was hired to design a modern repurposing of a historic 1911 brick warehouse. The owners had a vision to transform the top three floors into office space. Central stairs were filled in and two stair towers added to the east elevation, faced with corten steel mesh and left to age naturally, make the building circulation work. The old freight elevator was replaced with a modern pneumatic one. The ground floor remains a restaurant that was built-out within the last 10 years.

On the second floor light, color and the creative use of space transformed the brick and wood warehouse into a vibrant 7,500-square-foot modern office for JE Dunn Construction’s Oklahoma City division. Located in the historic Bricktown District of Oklahoma City, JE Dunn’s new office was originally built for the Great Western Stove Company as a warehouse and distribution center for cast iron stoves. Having never been occupied, the space was in original conditions, complete with lead-based paint that completely covered the wood structure.

Project goals included the following:

  • Restore the historical integrity of the original structure and gracefully transform the space into a modern and progressive office;
  • Establish an atmosphere and ambiance that reflects a sense of transparency and warmth by the elegant blend of modern materials that juxtapose with the original brick and wood;
  • Create open and inviting spaces that promote a spirit of collaboration, creativity and teamwork;
  • Repurpose original building components that would seamlessly blend old and new components into the space through custom furniture pieces and building materials.

A cohesive balance of new and old is achieved with the harmonious use of form, color and texture. The open floor plan creates a sense of collaboration while the expansive use of glass in offices and conference rooms emits a sense of transparency and makes the space seem larger than it is. The predominantly white walls, furniture, trim work and accessories accentuate the existing red brick and wood structure. Accents of JE Dunn’s branded blue are found in LED cove lighting, accent walls and furniture.

The floor plan was largely dictated by the existing location of the elevator shaft and the central load-bearing masonry wall. The wall is the center spine of the plan and is a visible feature throughout the space. Open public spaces, such as the reception and collaboration space, were located near the elevator, while offices and work spaces were placed beyond. Both the load-bearing wall and public areas are connected by open corridors that allow people to flow between spaces freely. Most of the offices are located along the masonry spine with open workstations along the perimeter, Four additional offices located along the northern edge overlook the street. The offices all feature full-height glass facing the corridor to allow natural light to brighten the entire space. A large, open marketing area that features an eight-foot-long island serves as a work surface, surrounded by millwork and counter space for storage.

Upon exiting the elevator, visitors are greeted by a partition wall featuring a steel-plated box that forms the State of Oklahoma with a cutout JE Dunn logo that is back lit with blue LED lights. The partition is constructed of rusted rebar, steel and shoring lumber repurposed from a local job site. The assemblage acts as a visual screen to the open collaboration space beyond. Flanking the entry to the west of the elevator is an open reception area and collaboration space framed by an arched brick portal. The reception desk is brightly lit with blue LEDs and surrounded by supersize photos and graphics of company projects.

The sleek reception desk is made of white solid surface material, back-lit blue resin panels and steel. The collaboration space—or living room—acts as the heartbeat and central gathering location of the office with its open-sided, 12-foot-long island, round tables and lounge style seating. Situated on the living room wall is also an 80-inch wall-mounted monitor that is used for internal company meetings and external presentations. Like the receptionist desk, the central bar and kitchen are constructed of white solid surface material and back-lit blue laminate panels

Throughout the design of the office space, the repurposing of original building components pays homage to the 1911 structure. Steel pulley wheels from the old elevator penthouse were used to create several custom tables, while the original rusted steel exterior fire escape ladder was used to create floating grates that now frame light fixtures. These components, located in offices’ collaboration bar, marketing bar and conference room are are a source of pride for staff members. Two 100+-year-old heavy timber beams that were discovered in the basement were used to 1) create a custom conference table that replicates the connection point of the building’s post and beam system and 2) used to create two small tables in the collaboration space/living room. A talented employee used a small leftover timber piece to carve two custom wooden bowls that are prominently displayed.

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