PLACE Designers | Dancing Walls

I learned a lot at Antenora Architects.  (See previous post.)  Our project at Penn Field was a true adaptive re-use project, and that was fascinating.  The buildings were really interesting because they had so much history.

Our project was to create spaces that were useful and desirable today, while maintaining the character and preserving the history.  Like any renovation, it is a more difficult project because in addition to designing a new solution, you also have to come to fully understand the old one in order to select the features you can and should save.

The new use was primarily going to be retail and office.  The large barracks and pre-engineered metal building structures captured large volumes of space but did not allow for much light.  Michael proposed a really interesting interplay with the structures that allowed the wall to dance in and out of the columns.  He also introduced light wells, courtyards spanning entire bays.  It is an excellent way to adapt large buildings, perhaps big box stores to other uses.

I have since used some of these ideas when asked to design office buildings with a pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) structure.  Even though these buildings are thought of as lower quality, you truly can create interest and articulation provided you leave the bay spacing standardized, by allowing the wall to dance in and out.  It is an economical approach and the PEMB offices we have worked on have leased well and embrace their industrial character.

Check out my other articles at!

More to come soon.  If you want to get in touch please let me know!  Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s