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.
Center for Architecture + Design
The Center for Architecture + Design was conceived of as the face and voice of design in Columbus. The Center was an outgrowth of the Columbus Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and serves as their offices as well as an event space for the Center, AIA and other organizations.
Located in the historic (and LEED Silver) renovated Lazarus Department Store building, the Center takes full advantage of the original storefront windows to create a tiered gallery visible to passersby. The balance of the space is designed to be flexible – at times set up as an extension of the gallery, at other times hosting Center Board meetings and lectures, and each month it is reconfigured to host AIA Chapter Meetings and presentations.
The design simultaneously pays homage to the retail nature of the building while also pulling back the curtain on the bones of the structure and exposing the original construction details. A literal curtain extends the length of the north wall in the space serving multiple functions; a visual accent (bright orange) drawing the eye deep into the space when viewed from outside, a way to create a flexible and inexpensive zone for storage, and serving to improve the acoustics of the space.
This project was designed in conjunction with Lincoln Street Studio and with generous support from a host of in-kind supporters including: Dupler Office, Inside Outfitters, Knoll Furniture, Interface Flooring Systems, DIRTT, Kaufman Development, Mock Woodworking, Tiger Systems, Blackwood Sheet Metal, Hamilton Parker, Assa Alboy, Blair IT, Hafele,Lighting Unlimited/Peerless, Phillips Lightolier, Shaw Contract Group, Somfy Systems, Worly Plumbingand CounterEvolution.