December 2, 2014

Ames Chamber of Commerce

The Ames Chamber of Commerce had a vision to consolidate their separate offices to a singular location within Ames’s centralized Main Street Cultural District and seized the opportunity to move into this historic two story building. The Chamber also desired to creating an inviting space, open for use by all members and businesses, not just the Chamber staff.

The challenge of the project was to create a cohesive office layout between two levels and respect the historic character of the interior space. The solution was to create a receptionist desk on the main level to direct visitors either to the second level offices or to the first level conference rooms, creating a clear delineating line between public, semi-public, and private spaces.

The modern conference/board room on the main level utilizes a traditional material in white oak casework and accent walls, set in juxtaposition to the contemporary all glass corridor walls. The partial height walls of the board room with its “portal” ceilings expose and celebrate the historic tin ceiling. The overall effect is a modern and contemporary interior design that respects the historic character of the building, reflective of the traditional yet progressive values of the Ames Chamber of Commerce.

November 17, 2014

Saydel High School Renovations

The Saydel Community School District had a vision to refresh its high school weight room and practice gymnasium; centered around the ideas of activity and wellness.  Funded by a bond referendum, this renovation of their existing high school wellness facilities, administrative offices, and primary high school entry is the realization of that vision.

Wellness Components | The District desired to make wellness integral with their school curriculum and culture. Existing space limitations initially posed a challenge, leading members of the board and administration to assume that a costly addition would be necessary to house an expanded weight training and new cardiovascular training areas.  A space utilization analysis revealed that underutilized spaces in the existing high school administrative areas, computer lab, and practice gymnasium could be reorganized and reclaimed to make room for the expanded weight training and new cardiovascular training areas.  This analysis alone not only saved the district thousands of dollars of new construction costs, it also saved on the future heating and cooling costs of the additional square footage.

Entry Improvements | Multiple additions and renovations to Saydel High School over the past several decades had resulted in a strange circumstance, where the set of west doors (originally intended as a secondary entrance) became the primary entrance to the high school. This was not only confusing to visitors of the school as to “where is the front door,” but also presented major security problems as school administrators had no control over the flow of visitors into and out of the building.  The challenge to creating a sense of entry for the high school was working with only a narrow strip between the existing building and the parking lot. The solution was a to create a minimal, yet distinct entry canopy with lit banner flags, signage, and an accent retaining wall with landscaping.  Security was greatly improved by moving the administrative offices to the space directly adjacent to the front entrance (formerly the weight room), punching large windows for vision to the parking lot, and modification to the vestibule doors to funnel visitors through the administrative offices before gaining access to the rest of the building.