After successfully working together on a number of large and small projects, Walsh Construction hired Holst Architecture to renovate the third floor of their Portland office. Holst made a number of bold moves to ensure the space was more efficient but also comfortable and aesthetically compelling.
Prior to construction, the third floor incorporated an under-utilized reception desk, enclosed kitchen, conference room, and a small lounge with two insignificant chairs. The odd configuration created a lot of wasted space and didn’t make a good impression on visitors. Furthermore, Walsh was undergoing organizational changes and the company needed to accommodate additional offices on the third floor.
In response, Holst reimagined the use of the central receiving space and chose to highlight the building’s attribute - exposed wood trusses – with lighting and an interior framework that aligns with the existing truss work. The wall that enclosed the kitchen was removed and a 20-foot-long island with a hand-trowelled milestone countertop was added to provide a focal point in the space. An existing office was converted into an open lounge with a south-facing window that allows natural light to flood the new kitchen area. The island and the lounge have become popular areas for informal meetings or company gatherings.
The conference room was also opened to the central space with a glass curtain wall; and the new offices that line a short corridor on the periphery of the floor feel voluminous because of window walls and the absence of a dropped ceiling.
The use of reclaimed Douglas fir on walls and cabinets compliments the existing wood trusses, and several pieces of the lounge furniture were made in the Walsh wood shop. The island is a popular spot for informal meetings or company gatherings while the intimate lounge is comfortably furnished and used by waiting clients, informal meetings with coworkers, or by staff for short breaks.