This project is guided by a strong belief that re-using an existing building is the most sustainable approach to construction. In the summer of 2009, a young design-build firm used their design and construction knowledge to revitalize an existing structure, build equity and create an invaluable learning experience for local architecture students. In just 13 weeks, three NCSU College of Design students designed and renovated a new office for the firm. From property purchase and financing through permitting and punchlist, this project linked practice, academia, and local community.
Located between the industrial fringe and a Raleigh residential neighborhood with views of downtown, the abandoned building was in disrepair. The collapsed roof, rotting structure and outdated systems did not deter the firm from recognizing the potential of the space contained within the existing masonry walls.
The concept for the new space grew from a desire to preserve the existing shell and implement sustainable building principles. The existing masonry walls and slab remained and new 2×4 x 12’ wood stud walls were constructed within the shell to raise the ceiling height, increase energy efficiency with better insulation and provide a band of clerestory light above which the roof floats. During daylight hours electricity for lighting is not needed.
The design, abandoning the “tear-down” mentality is sustainable in approach by preserving and re-using an existing building in a significant neighborhood of Raleigh. Since the completion of the project other businesses have opened in the adjacent strip of industrial land uses. This project became more than an example of good sustainable stewardship. The revitalized structure generated further improvement of existing structures, new businesses, and a more vibrant edge to the existing residential neighborhood.