Downtown Columbus property owner Edgar Chancellor made a decision a couple of years ago to take a postage stamp piece of property at 15 11th St. and transform it. That transformation from a tiny parking lot to a three-story residential and retail building is almost complete as the first tenants start moving in this week. “The reason I did it was the parking lot got to be such a pain in the neck,” Chancellor said Tuesday morning. “It was too small to mean much and wasn’t big enough to really manage.”

The end result is four apartments, two on each of the top floors. All four of those two- and one-bedroom units rented before construction was complete, Chancellor said. The bottom floor will be retail and Chancellor is still looking for a tenant. “We got real close to a deal with two or three restaurants,” he said. “I would say a lot of folks are circling right now, but it is not rented.”

The new building is in the middle of 11th Street between Broadway and First Avenue, a prime downtown location. It had been used as a side entrance to Chancellor’s, a men’s clothing store once owned by Chancellor and his family. Architect Scott Allen with 2WR Partners said it wasn’t a problem working in the tight space created by the adjacent buildings and the Columbus Bank and Trust parking garage.

“We are used to working in tight spaces,” he said. “I think the constraints were a good thing. We were able to use them to our advantage. ... We were able to do what Edgar wanted to do, which was to compliment the other 19th century structures in that area.”

The building was constructed by Thayer Bray Construction and was done in about nine months, Chancellor said. A walkway connects to the CB&T parking deck at the corner of 11th and First Avenue.

“I can’t say enough about how CB&T has worked with us on this,” Chancellor said.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510@chuckwilliams


Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article98823287.html#storylink=cpy

 

Posted
AuthorLee Martin
Photos courtesy of Stonebridge Companies

Photos courtesy of Stonebridge Companies

Greenwood Village, CO – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Denver Tech Center recently completed their total hotel renovation this spring, just in time to welcome summer guests. With the hotel’s complete transformation, the atrium, guest rooms, hospitality suites, lobby, meeting rooms, junior suite, presidential suite, and Zink Restaurant + Bar all received major upgrades and enhancements.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Denver Tech Center hotel is managed by Stonebridge Companies in Denver. The architect for the renovations was 2WR + Partners working with design firm, Design Force Corporation. The general contractor for the renovations was National Lodging Renovation Management, Inc.

“The reimagining and transformation of our hotel includes every aspect of the guest experience, adding a contemporary style, fresh design, and modern technologies into each room and public area,” said Aaron Alberding, General Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Denver Tech Center. “We are excited to showcase our new hotel to guests and business partners in the coming months, and elevate the Denver Tech Center as a destination for Denver travelers.”

Specific enhancements include the hotel’s lighting, carpeting, furniture. The Atrium has been transformed into a common area for enjoyment, complete with upscale décor, a variety of seating options, multiple HDTVs, and a full service bar. The lobby renovation included opening up the space to allow for casual seating by the fireplace, working on Mac and PC computers in the new business center, or catching the news or a game on the new 85-inch flat screen HDTV.

All guest rooms, including suites, had a floor-to-ceiling renovation, with new carpet, bedding and furniture, completely transforming these rooms into the largest renovated rooms in the Denver Tech Center. Zink Restaurant + Bar’s renovation included raising the ceiling to include more lighting, adding additional outdoor seating and opening the bar into the Atrium for a more open, welcoming feel for guests.

See the full article here

Posted
AuthorLee Martin
"Millenials" Live Work and Play in Uptown Columbus

"Millenials" Live Work and Play in Uptown Columbus

The following is a re-print of an interview with 2WR's founding partner, Sam Andras, conducted by Shelley Dean for Columbus CEO, originally published January 20, 2016:

Q. How does 2WR approach projects? 

A. First and foremost we believe every project is a design project regardless of program, budget, size and/or schedule. Philosophically, we operate on a mission of promoting architectural excellence in every aspect of design.   Our methodology embraces a hand-in-hand process from beginning to end. This approach ensures an exceptional understanding of the client’s vision, mission, goals, needs, desires, budget and schedule. This information provides the foundation for ensuring projects which support our clients in every aspect of their business. The end result is the development of an Architecture of Purpose which we define as design authenticity positively impacting our clients’, their communities and the environment. 

Q. How would you describe 2WR’s style? Is there a signature touch?

A. We’ve always, since the day we opened, agreed authenticity is a key component of successful architecture. We also strive to develop designs that are timeless and transformational. Based on this we believe our style is more related to quality and detail than specific language. Exceptional design is achieved through the smallest of details, something we always strive to ensure. We believe it’s this level of detail that defines us. 

Q. What do you see as the value of architecture in today’s society?

A. There are so many positive aspects to good architecture; yet many go unrecognized. About two years ago we did a Rotary presentation which focused on what Columbus Park Crossing could have been. We utilized Ashley Park (Newnan), Pier Park (Panama City Beach), Bridge Street Town Center (Huntsville) and several others as examples of outdoor shopping plazas. We then focused on Ashley Park since Newnan is within sixty miles of Columbus. We looked at things like median household income, crime rate, poverty level and average home value the year prior to construction and five years after completion. The change was amazing.  Higher median household income and home values along with lower crime rate and poverty levels. Why? Because the defined direction dictated change; the old saying ‘If you build it they will come’. What we see is the built environment supports bringing people who desire something ‘better’.  Many of these people are creative and progressive. They create jobs, arriving with the desire to invest in the community and build on the vision. 

In this way architecture is a catalyst for defining vision and direction. This approach applies from micro to macro; from workspace to city. If you look at what’s happening in Denver and Seattle you’ll understand why these two cities are at the top of the list for millennials. Both made a substantial investment in branding and redefining themselves in a manner that specifically targets the lifestyle of millennials. The idea of living, working, and playing in one location or without the need of a car. What’s really exciting with the concept is how it’s caught on across the board. Just look at our downtown. We have the CSU campus, historic district, Eagle and Phenix, and so forth providing a multi-cultural and multi-generational mix.  The more diverse the mix the more diverse the amenities become. The thing we need to remember is this doesn’t just happen. It’s initiated through vision followed by initiation through the understanding and impact of built environment.   

Another aspect of architecture in today’s society is the visual impact.  People are extremely visual. Our thoughts and emotions are drastically influenced through our assessment of our environment, our surroundings.  Consider your workspace. Over the long-haul would you be happier and more productive working in a cubicle located in a white-box basement space with no windows, or a low-wall personal zone in vibrant open office space filled with natural light? Now consider what environment means to a business owner. Things like more productive and happier employees help a business succeed. Take this understanding and apply it to teachers and students in a classroom, it’s the same thing. People are going to be more productive and more successful in an environment that supports and enhances their activities. 

Lastly, I’d say today’s society has an exceptional concern with our environment; hence the ‘green’ movement. The concern transcends traditional architecture on many levels, yet addressing the concern falls squarely on the shoulders of architects.

Posted
AuthorLee Martin
CSU's Corn Center for the Visual Arts: Photo Courtesy of Batson-Cook Construction

CSU's Corn Center for the Visual Arts: Photo Courtesy of Batson-Cook Construction

The following is a re-print of an interview with 2WR's founding partner, Sam Andras, conducted by Shelley Dean for Columbus CEO, originally published December 15, 2015:

In this interview Sam discusses architecture’s impact on community. Look for the second part of this interview – focused on architecture of purpose – next month

Q. How do community trends and quality of life come together in collaboration in today's age of building design?

A. People live, work, and play differently. The ‘American Dream’ that I grew up with was the family whose house was in the neighborhood where every yard was defined with a white picket fence. It didn’t matter where the neighborhood was located because you’d simply drive to work. The millennials kicked this image to the curb. This generation grew up without desire for a yard or the responsibility of maintaining a home. They want to live, work, and play all in the same neighborhood. Cars aren’t a necessity; rather walking, bikes or public transportation are the best way to get around. What’s interesting is to watch is how this life-style is catching on. 

Cities that redefined themselves to attract top millennial talent years ago are now in a transitional mode. Studio and single bedroom condos used to fill the need. We now have the millennial families. These families simply want to incorporate children in the live, work, and play environment.  Additionally, we’re seeing the live, work, and play environment become multi-generational. Denver and Seattle have adjusted, providing two and three bedroom condos within the live, work, play zones. Other large cities are following suit. Green space is an important aspect of city life. This includes passive and active parks along with dog parks. Pets aren’t just pets, they’re family members who get to go shopping and even join the family for dinner at outdoor venues.   

Q. When redeveloping a section of a city is it important to find a balance between the preservation of older buildings and the development of new ones? 

A. Balance is an interesting word. I don’t believe there’s a definable balance between old and new. I would tend to believe it’s more about vision, direction, needs, and desired growth. As an architect I believe the preservation of architectural history is extremely important. At the same time I believe architecture defines; thereby the balance could be viewed as ever changing.  

Q. What are the challenges in incorporating new buildings into historic areas (like Uptown)?

A. Probably the greatest challenges are opinion and understanding. I believe if all factors are properly considered and integrated within the design then the challenge simply becomes one of educating. Most opinions are based solely on aesthetics without consideration of other important factors such as client, community vision (the big picture), needs, and desired growth.   

In essence we’re going back to visualization; utilizing architecture to help define who we are as a community. So at the end of the day the question becomes, What do we want Uptown to say about our community? Who do we want to attract? How will what’s built support the vision? There are plenty of small towns throughout Georgia with monochromatic downtowns; downtowns that are completely historic. We have a community that’s hungry for so much more. We’ll drive a hundred miles to shop because the experience we desire isn’t here. We’re losing exceptional young talent every year because they desire something more. The opportunities for shaping and defining positive growth exist. The key is ensuring we take advantage of every opportunity. Obviously at the end of the day we want to be able to look back and say ‘we did it right!’ 

So let’s look at balance and challenges together. I believe exceptional architecture responds to its environment; thereby new must respond to and respect history. What defines respect and how it’s expressed is where opinions differ. The challenge is the aesthetic impact of balance. I believe, in most situations, respect isn’t duplication or copying. In fact, when dealing with historic preservation the desire is to illustrate the new, as new in order for individuals to visually understand the difference as part of the experience. The understanding of factors impacting design – environment, client, needs, community and so forth – all influence the interpretation leading to the design solution. 

Q. What’s your favorite building in Columbus and why?

A. I prefer to answer this using a building that’s not ours. So outside of 2WR’s work I’d have to say CSU’s Corn Center for Visual Arts. It’s a timeless and well-detailed design solution. It utilizes a well-balanced approach between respecting the historic fabric of its surroundings while incorporating progressive and modern language. It makes an exceptional statement about the past and future of Columbus State University while also acknowledging Columbus. It provides amenities for the community through its connection to the Riverwalk, exterior courtyards and covered walks. The rhythm of solid versus transparent wall systems facing the river are beautiful; especially at night. The details are extremely well done with the majority of detailing not in the brickwork itself; rather the beauty is seen in the subtle details within the simplicity of the overall design. I also like the use and expression of raw materials such as the concrete utilized for the large canopy on the west façade, round columns intermixed with brick wing walls, and the low wall fronting the courtyard on the northwest side of the building.  The design can be viewed as an architecture of honesty.

Posted
AuthorLee Martin
Innovation-Award-1024x438.jpg

The project team of Columbus State University, 2WR+Partners, and Brasfield & Gorrie was honored at the recent Facilities Officers Conference in Athens with the 2015 "Innovation Award" for the renovation and adaptive re-use of Howard Hall. 

The award critieria is described by the Board of Regents as follows:

  • A project demonstrating originality and creativity
  • Characterized by “outside-the-box-thinking” and ingenuity
  • The project clearly accomplishes the goal—but within an innovative manner
  • A fresh or inventive approach in the area of Adaptive Re-use
  • The recipient exudes excellence and quality work

Shown above is the CSU team accepting the award from USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby: (L-R) Byron Harris, Hank Huckaby, Tom Helton, Mike Medlock, Eric Pittman, and Kelly Wilson. 

Read more about the innovative project here:

The new Ethel Kight Elementary School in LaGrange, Georgia, opened for the first day of school August 10, 2015. In order to get the children from the outdated Ethel Kight Elementary School into their new school in time for the 2015-16 school year, 2WR+Partners (Architect) and Freeman and Associates (General Contractor) worked to fast-track the design and construction inside one  year, while the children temporarily attended classes in the old Westside Middle School  near the campus of LaGrange College. 

Features  of the new school  include:

  • Substantial daylight and views to the outside in each classroom
    Advantage: Increases health and academic performance
  • Energy Efficiency with VRF Heating & Air system, LED Lighting, as well as sunshading and careful building orientation designed to limit solar heat gain
    Advantage: Excellent indoor air quality and energy cost savings
  • Improved  traffic patterns and closed thru-roads  in order to improve dedicated access for school buses and cars, and included a long canopy shielding students from the weather during pick-up and drop-off
    Advantage: Improves road safety for children, parents, and faculty & staff
  • New purpose-built computer labs, media center, art, and music rooms, as well as technology-equipped classrooms and teacher support spaces
    Advantage: Supports the goal of the school system to provide the best opportunity for students to learn 21st Century skills while providing educators with exceptional tools and flexibility
  • Larger and more secured playground
    Advantage: Increases opportunities for safe play and exercise
  • Engaging interior color palette and patterns contributing to the bright, pleasant atmosphere for students, faculty, and staff
    Advantage:  Increases student attendance and faculty/staff retention

At the dedication ceremony on August 30, Lee Martin, project architect and partner at 2WR, joined in with school board members, alumni,  faculty, and staff to ring bells in honor of Ms. Ethel W. Kight, a beloved educator and champion for black students' education in Troup County. A monument was also erected on site to ensure her contributions continue to be made known to future generations. 

The mission of the Troup County School System is " to educate all students in a challenging and safe learning environment, so they will become productive citizens in a diverse and changing world." At the dedication, the school choir sang "We are the people of the 21st Century - We have the chance to do it right..." Indeed, the advantages of the new facility help to ensure the fulfillment of the mission of the school system now and well into the future.

Troup County School System Board Member Sheila Rowe concludes:
"The new Ethel Kight Elementary School is a wonderful asset for the community. The modern facility will foster a strong sense of pride among faculty and staff while providing an engaging learning environment for our students. Each of the stakeholders will cherish the opportunity they have to add to the dynamic legacy of Ethel Kight Elementary School." 

 

2WR+Partners (Architect) and Brasfield & Gorrie (General Contractor) celebrate the re-opening of Howard Hall this month to Columbus State University students, many of whom are freshmen attending their first classes here. On the first day, many were drawn to spend time in the new student lounges on the first and second floors, where they were able to re-charge and connect with one another.  

The renovation has truly re-established the building as a student destination. The design focuses on 21st century teaching technology, flexible classroom spaces, energy-efficient building systems, improved accessibility, and new gathering spaces for collaborative study. The exposed concrete structure highlights the original construction while a new stone wall marks the primary pedestrian axis through campus and ties in with newer campus facilities.  

John Lester, D.P.A., Assistant Vice President for University Relations at CSU, had this to say:

"With this renovation project, we have transformed one of the most heavily used buildings on campus into a stylish, technology-infused collection of classrooms and meeting areas that has already proved to be extremely popular for the students. We have no doubt that the physical improvements will help us with the recruitment of students, and we have no doubt that the improved teaching environments and technology will aid in learning and retention."

Pat McHenry, Professor of English and Associate Dean, College of Letters and Sciences at CSU, explains: 

" I've walked through Howard several times this week (the first week of classes), and I find students using it exactly in the way we discussed in the design process. They're interacting with each other and with faculty in the new common spaces, using the moveable furniture to create spontaneous study sessions, and taking advantage of the wifi and charging outlets for their devices. 

One of the main things faculty and students wanted in the renovation was a flexible learning environment. Before the renovation, it was difficult to rearrange a classroom, but now the entire space and its furnishings are designed to be rearranged as needed. Features that make this possible range from mobile and collapsible furniture, to the location of writing surfaces on more than one wall so the class is not locked into one orientation.

The thing that everyone notices is that the classroom space is just more pleasant. The new HVAC is a big improvement. The exposed beam ceilings make an enormous difference in the comfort level of the room compared to the low dropped ceilings that it had before. The acoustics are very good thanks to the carpet and the fiber panels between the ceiling joists." 

Ryan Wampler, Project Manager, Brasfield & Gorrie, states:

“Brasfield & Gorrie has been excited to be a part of the Columbus State University campus improvements and looks forward to continued partnership with the university, 2WR+Partners and the Columbus community as they continue to grow.” 

Michael Starr, 2WR Principal and Project Manager for the Howard Hall Renovation, concludes: 

"We have enjoyed the process of working with the staff, faculty, and administration at CSU and the Board of Regents to develop a project that serves their needs, many of their wants, and inspires its occupantswhile remaining under budget. As the first step in the development of the campus' master plan, may Howard Hall set the standard for future renovations."