Wayne Troyer, AIA, and his seven staffers were working with the developer of a city block of buildings in New Orleans' Warehouse District when they eyed this choice parcel for themselves. “The buildings were part of a former packaging company, and one of them had a small shoebox building adjacent to it,” Troyer explains. “I kept looking at it and saying, This would be so cool to have as an office.”

With the renovation of the building, his team's identity as sensitive interventionists is solidified. “Clients can see how we respected the original while making updates,” he says. To preserve the factory's expansive feel, opaque polycarbonate panels over metal studs separate the firm's conference room and studio from the reception area, and the ceiling rises virtually uninterrupted 18 feet to the original trusses, which were cleaned and reused. “We left the height everywhere except for a loft, which we rented to an interior designer,” Troyer says. “Then we put a little break room and a reference library underneath.” Troyer also lends space to his artist girlfriend and still has room left to sublet.

But it's the locale he touts most. “It's like the SoHo of New Orleans,” he says. “It's one neighborhood that has really come back after Katrina.”