Add to Collection
About

About

The original poured-in-place concrete warehouse in downtown Austin dates from the early 1900’s and is a prime example of the type of building tha… Read More
The original poured-in-place concrete warehouse in downtown Austin dates from the early 1900’s and is a prime example of the type of building that once populated the warehouse district. Built alongside a once active railroad spur, the building was purchased from its original owner who had performed almost no alterations to the 1912 building. The original concrete frame and brick infill building had been in continuous use as an unconditioned storage space and suffered from what we call “benign neglect”"it hadn’t been upgraded, but it hadn’t been messed up, either. The original three-level building was basically a concrete shell, without fire stairs, elevators, or any code-compliant utilities. The new owner desired to create three restaurant spaces on the ground floor, private club and storage spaces in the basement, and office spaces at the upper level. Our challenge was to provide all the amenities and services necessary for contemporary use, while retaining the character of the original warehouse building. Rather than carving out a large portion of the interior of the existing building for stairs, elevators, mechanical shafts, restrooms, and other new items, we created a new “service structure” adjacent to the building. This not only allowed the unobstructed floor area to remain as large and flexible as possible, but also allowed us to create an expressive pavilion that marked entry to the building. The character of the new addition complements the raw, muscular functionalism of the original building while not attempting to replicate its details. It features open stairs, an articulated steel frame, and clerestory windows that allow light into the bathrooms and lobbies at the upper level. Read Less
Published:
 
 
Applying the principle of adaptive reuse to a three-story office building in downtown Austin, Specht Harpman worked with the site's occupants to create an open, airy floor plan with lots of natural light and an eye toward modernism and energy efficiency. Per the clients' request for a design that encouraged "taking the stairs," the Specht Harpman team created visually compelling exterior stairways on the eastern front of the building. Around to the west, a raised walkway provides a sidewalk and extra parking, encouraging customers to stroll around the new restaurants on the ground floor, like Max's Wine Dive.

 
 
 

Design Team: Scott Specht, Louise Harpman, Brett Wolfe