SERA renovated the General Automotive Building, a three- and two- story engineering warehouse, into a mixed-use office building with a new, two story penthouse addition. The original 1923 heavy timber structure has been seismically improved and extended up to create four floors of ‘loft’ style office space and ground floor retail/ restaurant space.
The original window sills were lowered to improve day-lighting, views and ventilation, the resulting salvaged bricks were used for the two story addition. All of the original windows were replaced with larger, high-performance units. The new full floor-to-floor glass penthouse is a response to the unique location immediately adjacent to the lush, tree-lined North Park Blocks. The glass penthouse also distinguishes the old from new. The penthouse corners are setback to lighten the effect of the addition and provide the offices with an outdoor balcony amenity set within the park’s tree canopy.
On the building interior, a “raw” aesthetic unifies the design. New structural elements are left unpainted and exposed, old masonry is left exposed and heavy timber framing is also on display. The overall effect is simple, open spaces whose character is created by keeping finishes natural, minimal and us unrefined as possible.