This restoration project turned a badly damaged, vacant, historic property into a Multicultural Center providing legal and educational services for women, low-income people, and workers from ethnically diverse communities. The design embodies the client’s program by delivering a high-quality, restored, green building.
Obtaining LEED Gold certification is an extremely challenging task for a historic preservation project. Green elements include reuse of the existing building, water saving features including drought tolerant landscaping, energy saving systems including geothermal heating and cooling, interior storm windows, living roofs, and use of sustainable products.
The work included restoration of both the exterior and historic interior spaces, adaptive use of service and storage areas, and an underground addition. In addition to all new MEP systems the work included structural repairs, increased fire ratings, and restoration of all existing finishes. Bucher/Borges Group (BBG) obtained federal, state and county tax credits. BBG also obtained approval of the project by the National Park Service as complying with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Special attention was given to the restoration of the highly decorative major spaces on the first floor, such the Beaux Arts style ballroom and the Tudor style lobby. The restored water and fire damaged finishes conceal the new mechanical, electrical and communications systems.
A large meeting and classroom space was provided by an underground addition in place of the severely deteriorated original terrace. The interior reflects the Latino symbolic world tree represented by a colossal tree that supports the heavens, connecting the heavens, the earth, and the underground.