When Schmidt Associates began 40 years ago, many of the buildings that would be in use today were already built. The national standards for rehabilitation were a year away from being formalized, and the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program was just a few weeks old. It’s no wonder that some of the company’s favorite projects since have been the ones that incorporate modern use of existing buildings.
The rapid changes of the past ten years with regard to the modern office has presented exciting new challenges when it comes to adaptive re-use – ones that 40 years on, Schmidt Associates continues to overcome side-by-side with our client owners.
The Modern Office Has Changed
The modern work space requires flexible use of space, giving workers options for communal or private space which they utilize at their will, often switching between throughout the day. New generations of workers demand some comforts of home in the office as they often spend more time at work than they do sleeping on any give work day.
But The Older Buildings Have Not
These challenges require a lot of effort and attention to detail when designing a wholly new environment, but they’re compounded even further when adapting existing environments. Some types of buildings offer large open spaces that can grant that flexibility–specifically buildings that were designed as warehouses or factories. On the other end of the spectrum, first-generation offices, typically built in the first half of the 20th century, present challenges like interior columns, low ceilings, or small, awkward spaces that must be re-thought to accommodate these flexible spaces.
Where They Come Together
Often, a few modern touches to an existing space can make a big difference. For one adaptive re-use project in Indianapolis, our team transformed a Catholic church built in 1880 into an entirely different sanctuary: St. Joseph’s Brewery and Public House. An office of sorts for beer and food lovers! For another project on IUPUI’s campus, new technologies added into the Rotary Building gave life to the historic facility – now housing medical offices and support spaces.
The great thing about each space is that it inevitably grants an opportunity to create something that is truly unique, the kinds of projects that become a part of the organization’s identity when they occupy their work environment. At Schmidt Associates, we enjoy these challenges so much, that when it came time for us to design our own office in Indianapolis, we sought to put our signature on just that kind of project.