Southern Building Office Space
The new office space is open and full of natural light with windows wrapping around three sides and a corner view of the Washington Monument. In the fit-out of the space, we were determined to clearly express the materiality of the more than hundred year old composite structural system, leaving exposed heavy riveted cast iron columns and a terracotta block ceiling. Designed by the Daniel Burnham in 1914, the building is U-shaped with an internal courtyard providing the cross ventilation and abundant natural light needed in the days before air conditioning and modern lighting.
Opened in 1910, the Southern Office Building was originally owned and occupied by two insurance companies; the First National Fire Insurance Company, and the Commercial Fire Insurance Company.
The building was a reflection of the City’s growth and prosperity where prominent financial institutions began to build highly visible and monumental headquarter buildings primarily in and around the Department of Treasury at 15th Street & New York Avenue, NW.
We left the exposed rivets of the ironwork columns and the irregular order of the slab ceiling terracotta tile formwork as a remnant of an earlier industrial era.
The project is a design of subtraction as opposed to addition. More is done with less. We included a secluded wellness room – allowing for prayer, nursing, and private discussions.