The office for MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects provides 5000 ft2 of space for a thriving architectural practice. To the street, the office represents a defensive wall, through which one enters the building. One must pass through the porte-cochere, with its 16’ sliding red wooden gate. The southwest facing courtyard has two terraced levels: the lower, gravel terrace extends from the entrance level, with an upper level parking terrace separated by a wall constructed with granite stones salvaged from a 200 hundred year old foundation.
The entry level houses all the public functions. Entering the foyer, visitors find themselves in an informal gallery space including completed project models and a display wall for publications. All other cellular spaces (conference, administration, kitchen, restrooms) are contained within a centralized core. The studio floor, with its lofts, contains the “hidden” work room. This space is intentionally pinched off from the street and public level and is oriented toward the courtyard. This 80’ long room is focused on the monumental, communal worktable.
The design philosophy is based on the improvement of the neighborhood which is achieved through the dignity of the work. While the symmetry in plan creates a sense of calm, the asymmetry in section and elevation create a kinetic effect for the eye and body, the design of the workplace itself expresses the humanist and urbanist values of the practice – to be what you provide.
2004 Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Merit