In 2014, tres birds workshop took on the renovation of the two-story, derelict Salvation Army Distribution Center at 3000 Lawrence St in Denver’s Curtis Park neighborhood. At the start of the project, windows were shattered or boarded up, the site had drainage problems, the roof leaked throughout, and the floor plan created an overall negative energy. Rooms were dark and mildewed, brimming with bird waste, needles, and other detritus that affirmed many years of neglect.
Today the structure stands unrecognizable as a state-of-the-art co-working space. Members have access to spacious desks and offices, tech forward conference rooms, a game room with beer on tap, a full-sized commercial kitchen, a library, sound isolating phone booths, and a coffee shop that offers locally roasted coffee and grab-and-go meal options.
To achieve exceptional light quality inside the previously dim lower level space, a reveal was created in the earth along 30th Street to open this façade to the southern sunlight. New window wells were established, opening the lower level of the building to a flood of natural light. Exterior louvers shield occupants from intense, direct sunlight while bouncing light onto the ceiling to illuminate deep into the space. In addition to a well day-lit workspace, the louvers allow for light shielding in the summer that keeps the space cool and light gain in the winter that conserves overall energy use. The anodized aluminum louvers will never need paint, sanding or lacquers, eliminating the need for costly maintenance or upkeep.
The building’s entrance is surrounded by a large patio that offers ample opportunity for time outdoors. A steel stairway connects the building’s levels at the front door. Planting soil and an irrigation system sit at the ground level to facilitate a network of vines that will climb the stair shaft and greet occupants with a lush network of greenery. The stairs lead up to a shaded rooftop deck that is covered in part by a solar energy panel system. Energy modeling for the space predicts a 15% to 40% renewable energy offset with the building operating 65% more efficiently than would a new code-compliant building. This energy is conserved without accounting for 60kWh of solar energy capture.
Two levels of workspace options for both individuals and organizations are divided by DIRTT mobile walls that expand and contract to accommodate business needs and can be fitted with sound dampening, screens, or white board wall tiles. Lighting, internet use, conference room schedules, rent, and amenities are activated and managed with members’ key fabs and smart phones. Luton lighting system and Internet turns on and off when people are present in the room. All amenities including phone booths, meeting rooms, conference rooms, game room, library, full service commercial kitchens, rooftop deck, dynamic common spaces were thoughtfully executed with environmental and operational efficiency in mind.
Evidence of the building’s past stands in contrast to its advanced systems and forward-thinking efficiency. While the past shows in the modernist grid of abrasive blasted concrete columns that punctuates the open floor plan, the space is, above all, suited for the future.
Material Used :
1. DIRTT Walls - interior glass partitions
2. Kohler - Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures