Fortif Law Partners asked Design Initiative to renovate their offices on two floors of a brick and timber framed warehouse on historic cobblestone Morris Avenue. Creating a new work space (environment) that embodies the ethos of the rapidly growing firm was a primary goal of the project. The character needed to balance the needs of a modern office space while honoring the history of the building and its locale. Each floor was selectively demolished to prepare for the new work.
A mix of gathering, meeting and working space were arranged between the two levels. The upper most level features a skylit lobby, new kitchen area, and a large glassed conference room. Offices line both sides of the lower level with a private meeting room and “idea lab” at the north and south ends. A panelized furniture / wall system with glass doors was used to divide the interior spaces and create privacy or transparency depending on the need. Existing plaster was removed revealing the original character of the existing masonry bearing walls.
Adaptive reuse of existing urban buildings reduces waste, preserves the embodied energy of the structures, and leads to the regeneration of our downtown communities. Other sustainable strategies employed include improvements to increase the performance and energy efficiency of the existing building. High performance windows were installed, a new insulated solar reflective roof and skylight was added, and new building mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were added to serve the new interior spaces.