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Adaptive Reuse of a Historic Structure

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse

Reimagining a historic, unreinforced masonry building in downtown Tacoma to ready it for future tenants.

Currently in Feasibility & Concept Design, this project proposes to completely rehabilitate the core & shell structure of a historic building, preparing it for a new life as an adaptive-reuse, mixed-use development serving Tacoma’s downtown core.

The developer’s vision for the project is to provide a vibrant food and retail marketplace that will contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood, extending pedestrian activity on Commerce Street, and engaging with restaurants and retail spaces along Pacific Avenue.

The upper floor will provide high-quality residential or office spaces, and the whole building will undergo a seismic retrofit, and aging systems will be brought up to date.

Our involvement in this project spotlights the Board & Vellum integrated design approach. We view the project through a holistic lens, seeking to deeply understand the building, its community, and those who will engage with it. From the beginning, the building design has been informed by our multi-disciplinary design team — engineers, historic consultants, the developer, general contractor, and the leasing agents.

Leveraging opportunities for strategic overlap between each discipline’s expertise, we identify cross-disciplinary approaches to efficiently ready the building for a diverse mix of future tenants, and design the most impactful and resonant spaces to engage the building’s users and connect to the surrounding area.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option A: Daylit Court

Centrally-placed skylights pull natural light into the center of the building and allow for a greater flexibility of unit arrangements. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

Option A: Daylit Court

Centrally-placed skylights pull natural light into the center of the building and allow for a greater flexibility of unit arrangements. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option B: Lightwells

Pushing the lightwells to the side results in more private moments of interest for separate tenants in addition to a more structurally-efficient central core. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

Option B: Lightwells

Pushing the lightwells to the side results in more private moments of interest for separate tenants in addition to a more structurally-efficient central core. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option C: Market Hall

A strong east-west lobby orientation strengthens the connection between streets and creates a unified, market-inspired space with flexibility for a variety of tenants. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

Option C: Market Hall

A strong east-west lobby orientation strengthens the connection between streets and creates a unified, market-inspired space with flexibility for a variety of tenants. Darmer Hay & Feed | Sketch by B&V Team.

As the project has evolved, our scope has grown to include and oversee many aspects of the project, including the design and planning of all interior shared spaces, the main lobby, stairs, elevators and bathrooms, and residential unit planning and design. We are also overseeing restoration and reconstruction planning and design, coordination of seismic retrofit work, multi-agency coordination, and permitting processes.

We are leading the efforts in navigating complex public utilities and agency coordination, overseeing the City of Tacoma Landmarks Review process, and working to achieve Federal Historic Preservation tax credits for all work done on the building.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option A: Daylit Court

The lobby and court are stacked perpendicularly to each other, limiting the overlap and impact each can provide, but creating the potential for an impactful focal point where they overlap. The lobby is pushed to the side and geared primarily towards Commerce Street, making the building façade more tenant focuses and limiting public connection between the two street frontages. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

Option A: Daylit Court

The lobby and court are stacked perpendicularly to each other, limiting the overlap and impact each can provide, but creating the potential for an impactful focal point where they overlap. The lobby is pushed to the side and geared primarily towards Commerce Street, making the building façade more tenant focuses and limiting public connection between the two street frontages. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option B: Lightwells

Though no longer integrated into one space, the linear relationship created along the north-south axis between the central lightwells and central core provides the potential for a series of diversified moments of interest and a more introverted experience of the building. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

Option B: Lightwells

Though no longer integrated into one space, the linear relationship created along the north-south axis between the central lightwells and central core provides the potential for a series of diversified moments of interest and a more introverted experience of the building. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

Darmer Hay & Feed Adaptive Reuse – Board & Vellum – Design process images for the adaptive reuse of a historic structure.
Option C: Market Hall

The central lobby allows for the opportunity to pull light down through the entirety of the building. It also aligns the main staircase with the daylighting core for the most efficient use of public space. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

Option C: Market Hall

The central lobby allows for the opportunity to pull light down through the entirety of the building. It also aligns the main staircase with the daylighting core for the most efficient use of public space. Darmer Hay & Feed | Rendering by B&V Team.

As we move forward with design concepts for the project, we are drawing inspiration from the historic building’s rugged and industrial character and its valued place in the community.

Respecting where it has been and the role it has played in the city’s history, we are designing for where it goes next — providing opportunities for greater access to daylight, and integrating natural elements to enhance user appreciation and well-being.

The street-level experience is also a high priority, with the ability to develop strong connections to the city. The end goal is to seamlessly integrate architecture, interiors, and landscape into an experience that builds upon the historical integrity of the building, while preparing it for many years of continued use.

We fully anticipate that the building and program will continue to evolve. Plus, there is opportunity for a future rooftop addition and connections to adjacent structures. Each design decision is intended to provide future flexibility for the building and allow it to continue to integrate with its surroundings in unique and adaptable ways as it enters its next chapter.

Notes & Credits
This project is in design. All renderings and sketches by the B&V Team.

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