Former Tannery Becomes Industrial Chic Office Space

industrial chic office
Furnishings and casework complement the original masonry walls and timber ceilings while carpet tiles and splashes of bright red are illuminated by wall-length suspended lighting fixtures and the introduction of ample natural daylight.

For the U.S. headquarters of life sciences-learning firm Red Nucleus, the design team transformed the interiors of a former tannery building in Yardley, Pa., built circa 1902. As part of the client’s goal to preserve the building’s history while creating a modern and efficient workspace, Joshua Zinder Architecture & Design maintained several key building features while adding in several contemporary design solutions. The collaboration with The Tannery’s owner-developer resulted in the creation of new, desirable and much-needed commercial office space for the Pennsylvania and Central New Jersey Region.

To make the best use of the volume, the design team installed a wide bleacher-style stair insert leading to a mezzanine-level work environment and recreation room. The stair provides a dynamic area for breakout sessions, as well as recaptures floor space for a kitchenette-pantry.

Demolishing most of the existing interiors, the design team exposed the steel structure, timber decking and building mechanicals to be integrated into an industrial chic design concept. To create a contemporary design that would take advantage of the historic building’s existing architecture, furnishings and casework were specified to complement the original masonry walls and timber ceilings while carpet tiles and splashes of bright red are illuminated by wall-length suspended lighting fixtures and the introduction of ample natural daylight.

Adapting the former tannery for commercial office use required assessing the chemicals used previously throughout the space as part of the leather tanning process, as well as addressing the potential impact on air quality and end-user health and comfort. The chemicals stained the existing timber but none were deemed hazardous so the design benefits from the rich history of the building.

BEFORE: Adapting a former tannery for commercial office use required assessing the chemicals used previously throughout the space as part of the leather tanning process. PHOTO: JZA&D

Removing part of the second floor that had been added earlier to the building interior, JZA&D restored the volume to its previous, airy double-height condition, allowing it to benefit from the original full-height windows. To make the best use of the volume, the design team installed a wide bleacher-style stair insert leading to a mezzanine-level work environment and recreation room. With colorful cushions, the stair also provides a dynamic area for breakout sessions, informal meetings, heads-down work, eating and, when needed, all-hands meetings. Underneath, the space-saving bleacher insert recaptures floor space for a kitchenette-pantry for employee use.

Key team members on this project included general contractor ML7 Construction & Design LLC, MEP engineer Chestnut Technical Services Inc. and structural engineer Harrison Hamnett P.C. Consulting Engineers.

The following is a sampling of materials used in the project:

Glass: Bucks County Glass
2X4 Altus Classic Lights: Simkar
Wood Doors and Barn Door: VT Industries
Drywall Frames: Steelcraft

AFTER PHOTOS: Michael Slack

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