CENTRAL OFFICE RENOVATION
In late 2016, Foundations, formerly known as American Foundation of Counseling Services (AFCS), bought a partially occupied building on the city’s west side to accommodate its growing service operations. The property, consisting of a brick exterior shell with small punched window openings, and narrow interior corridors had previously served as an OBGYN clinic. The small windows served the need for privacy at the time, but consequently provided little daylight to the core of the building. This daylighting challenge proved to be a significant design driver for the new facility. The owner and design team approached this challenge as an opportunity to transform the building into a welcoming, daylit and safe environment. Staff survey responses focused in on key characteristics the completed renovation should convey: safety, serenity, privacy, and comfort. Together, these elements needed to communicate that the nature of Foundations’ work involves mind, body, and spirit.
Providing safety to staff and clients presented the conflicting need for both privacy and openness; privacy to keep conversations and counseling sessions from being heard outside of the rooms where they take place, but also visibility into offices and throughout the building to maintain an awareness of where clientele are at all times. Glass walls with sound seals were used to address both of these concerns at the offices. Locating corridors along the outside wall allowed daylight into both the shared corridor and private offices. The lower level plan placed large interactive spaces and a lounge adjacent to the upper wall windows for the same reasons. Overhead doors can be rolled up to create flexible-use, large spaces, and spread the natural light further into the building.
The interior furnishings and color selections focused on soothing the mind and spirit with calming colors to create welcoming waiting and meeting rooms. Added insulation in the existing structure minimized the floor-to-floor noise transfer to maintain a quiet setting. This was especially critical over the youthful interactive space, where young people learn social and life skills to help them transition through the foster care arrangement.
The newly renovated building exemplifies how Foundations nourishes and supports the body, mind and spirit of its clients and the community.