The City of Bexley is charming, historic, and landlocked. Faced with no opportunities to grow out – the city is forced to look for ways to maximize every opportunity to redevelop. The old City Hall building had two things working against it. One, it sat on prime Main Street real estate. And two, built in the 1950’s it was aggressively ADA inaccessible.
Those issues in mind the City made the enlightened decision to relocate their offices and redevelop the site of the previous city hall (now a two story grocery store).
The new city hall is located at the rear of a strip center adjacent to the previous building. Just off Main Street, the space was marginal, at best, for retail. But for this civic function the space has proved to be ideal.
Project goals included creating a separate identity for the building while still acknowledging its context. It was also a stated goal to develop the design from the perspective of the building’s visitors whether for a civic function, or arriving to pay a water bill (or parking ticket). User friendly was the mantra.
The project emphasized openness and flexibility - ultimately cutting in half the total number of square feet required to accommodate the functional needs. The workings of government are visible through the windows of the building – with prominent views provided in to council chambers as well as the large conference room. Careful zoning of the building allows it to function during off hours as a venue for various community meetings.
Way finding for this project was developed by Designpath/Ben Goodman.
Photos by Matt Carbone.
50-2 Brickel is an urban transformation project designed by GRA+D's Joe Moss while he was with Lincoln Street Studio.
A client of ours had purchased a deteriorated concrete block service garage that was a macabre collection of dead mice, dead cars, and legends of a dead employee found in the back. She wanted to revive it as a pair of urban townhomes.
The existing building was a challenge for sure but the location was ideal. The 40’ x 80’ site is off the main drag, but very close to the epicenter of city life in Columbus’ Short North neighborhood. The project also supports other recent improvements that are transforming a previously ignored alley to become a neighborhood path that’s friendlier to foot traffic than automobiles.
By splitting the site lengthwise and layering functions up three floors, the two homes take advantage of a number of amenities. The primary living areas are placed on the upper level with a simple roof structure tilted upward toward the street to bring views and daylight deep into the space. The living room opens onto semi-private outdoor garden / terraces – an uncommon amenity afforded by the placement of the garage blocks below. Suspended from the roof structure and steel moment frame, a mezzanine affords even better views while keeping the main areas light and spacious.
The ground floor packs in the basics - service, storage, laundry, and an entry gallery fronting Brickel Street.
Photos by Brad Feinknopf.
This house was designed for a family of 8. Their desire was to create more living space but at the same time to not lose the feeling of unity and togetherness virtually mandated by their previous home - a typical three-bedroom house. The design solution is reminiscent of a lodge. A generous central living space incorporating a great room as well as the dining room and kitchen is at the heart of the house. A children's "study loft' and a home office become elements adjacent to the primary living space. In contrast to the spatial complexity of the main living area - the bedrooms are straightforward and rather modest by contemporary standards. The house's relatively planar front façade helps create a sense of enclosure for the arrival court - required as an accommodation for cars but also likely to see heavy use as a roller hockey/basketball court, wiffle ball/kickball stadium and canvas for sidewalk chalk artists of various ages. The rear of the house, in contrast, finds expression as a collection of more articulated and fenestrated elements. These take advantage of a various vistas including a barn and pasture as well as woods.
Photos by Matt Carbone.
After making and serving ice cream for years in Columbus's North Market, GRA+D earned the opportunity to help create Jeni's first independent store as well as a new production space to keep up with growing demand for their artisanal ice creams.
Jeni’s puts considerable thought toward the cultivation of their team of suppliers, producers, and, in our case, consultants – and we have been thrilled to be a part of this great emblem of success as they have grown to establish their delicious presence from coast to coast.
Photos by Brad Feinknopf and Kelsey McClellan.
Treetree is a unique marketing and communications agency located in Columbus, Ohio. Their specialty? Special Projects. We were pleased to have the opportunity to help them create a new home in the Short North’s iconic Battleship Building.
Our first visit to their old office started in the kitchen. Just like in many people’s homes and virtually every party - as a visitor, this space was key to the experience. This in mind, the new office design created a larger and more flexible kitchen intended to embody their genuine spirit of hospitality. The new kitchen serves as a hub for the guest experience. A place of orientation within the office, it allows access to multiple conference rooms and functions nicely as an informal meeting space. And of course it serves their team’s day to day needs as well. Just off the kitchen - the odd geometry of the building hands us an opportunity for one of the more unusual conference rooms we have ever drawn.
In contrast to the subdivided visitor zone – the other half of the office is an open space flooded with natural light and views to outside framed by the large windows. Conversation and communication flows freely in the office area – while pools and eddies are created for focused work or small group meetings and pin-ups. A tire swing hangs at the far end of the space as a playful invitation to pause for a moment. Phone booths between the guest and work zones of the office allow a place for quiet communication while a character-grade oak floor unifies the entire space and adds warmth befitting the company’s culture.
We welcome the challenge of any project type. A great deal of our work comes from what we refer to as entrepreneurial clients… clients who are highly invested in whatever it is they are doing. They are passionate and smart and place a great value on architecture that captures what it is that makes them and their enterprise unique.
New companies. Businesses in focused periods of transition. We seek out opportunities to work for clients with a great deal on the line. They are all in. And so are we.
HOW WE DO IT
Our approach is very collaborative and conversational. Generally, our clients are the experts in their fields. We bring an understanding of how their needs might translate into architectural solutions to the table - and that transcends expertise specific to any one project type. Our clients talk. We listen. Then we draw. Our clients tell us that the responsiveness of our design process to their needs and aspirations is a large part of what separates us from other firms.
WHO WE DO IT FOR
In over a decade we have had the opportunity to design solutions for a wide range of clients – we have designed lumber mills, offices, dog kennels, work in Ohio Stadium, classrooms, houses and offices.
We are proud of our list of clients, who we also consider friends. A partial list includes: