Architect / Firm: TLCD Architecture
Awards: Citation Award Year: 2016 Entry Categories: Alteration/Restoration/Rehab/Historic Preservation
Project Location: 520 Third Street, Santa Rosa, CA
Owner: Hugh Futrell Coporation
Completion Date: 01/18/2016
In 1973 AT&T constructed a 5-story, windowless concrete building on Courthouse Square, the heart of Santa Rosa’s downtown. Because the building was designed to handle trans-Pacific calls, its importance to national security dictated that the structure be windowless and able to withstand a nuclear blast. In the 1990’s the building’s functions were consolidated into an adjacent switching facility, leaving the building vacant for two decades. In 2007 the City of Santa Rosa’s Redevelopment Agency purchased the building with the goal of controlling its destiny, either demolishing or somehow renovating the eyesore that dominated the south side of the City’s main square.
While attempting to leverage its need for new office space to kindle activity in Santa Rosa’s moribund downtown, TLCD Architecture (TLCD) was captivated by this unique structure and the potential to capitalize on the tall open interiors for a collaborative workplace environment. TLCD brought Hugh Futrell Corporation into the project as developer, and design options were studied. Two years later when the City issued an RFP for development proposals, the development team was prepared, and beat out four other entries.
One key aspect of the project is a yet to be realized wine center and culinary venue. An outdoor dining terrace overlooking Courthouse Square has been carved out of the building shell for this facility, which will occupy the first floor and basement.
Transforming a blighted industrial building into a mixed-use project appropriate to its urban setting presented a daunting challenge. TLCD felt that concealing the existing structure would do the building an injustice, obscuring the building’s main amenity, its high ceiling loft-type interior spaces. TLCD became interested in putting the industrial character of the building on display. Instead of concealing the existing building, the objective became to transform it.
Most of the existing concrete wall panels on the north and south facades, some as much as 22 inches thick, were removed and replaced with large windows openings that span between columns and floor plates. A veil of perforated aluminum panels was installed, overlaying the existing concrete structure. The number of panels was intentionally limited to the bare minimum necessary to transform the building into something new, creating tension between the skeleton of the existing building and the new, overlaid contemporary facade. A portion of the perforated façade is in the form of sculptural, bent panels that help shade windows from late afternoon sun. These origami-like panels are angled toward Courthouse Square, the heart of Santa Rosa’s downtown. They present different views from various perspectives, and change with lighting conditions.
The juxtaposition of the existing industrial loft structure with its new, sophisticated façade offers a bold addition to Santa Rosa’s architecturally conservative downtown. As intended, 520 Third Street has become the catalyst for downtown revitalization, beginning with the reunification of Courthouse Square, currently underway. A hotel on Courthouse Square has been proposed, as have several other key projects.
Steve Nuich, TLCD Architecture
Mechanical: Costa Engineers - 707.935.2525
Electrical: Summit Engineering - 707.527.0775
Civil: Carlile Macy - 707.542.6451
Energy: Gilleran Energy Management - 707.528.7318
Landscape: Quadriga Landscape Architecture & Planning - 707.546.3561