Defoor Hills Warehouse Renovation

Smith Dalia Architects, LLC
Atlanta, Georgia

Project Location: Atlanta, GA
Completion Date: 11/11/2016
Owner: SWH Wyatt Defoor Hills

Additional Team:
Contractor: Derucki Construction Dave Peter | Structure: m2 Structural | Mechanical: Spencer Bristol Engineering, Inc. | Electrical: Spencer Bristol Engineering, Inc. | Plumbing: Spencer Bristol Engineering, Inc. | Civil: Eberly & Associates

Project Description

The warehouses at 2282 & 2300 Defoor Hills Rd. are conceived as a single project that re-purposes two nondescript warehouses into a vibrant mix of creative office environments. The design includes the removal of sections of both buildings to provide natural light and create shared spaces for future tenants.

Although distinct in character, the structures work in concert to establish a common identity. Soaring, daylit interiors and natural materials impart a warmth and presence that is a desirable feature of the modern office. This project is best seen as a catalyst for rebranding this district, toward transformation of the area into an urban destination.

CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES: The renovation of these two 1970s-era warehouses included several challenges. The first and most serious constraint involved parking limitations. When the building use was changed to office, the need for parking spaces necessarily increased, on a site with limited surface space. A balance was sought between the amount of leasable square footage within both buildings and the amount of parking that would fit on the site. In the end, an agreement for shared parking was negotiated with a neighboring church to make up the difference, wherein the church can accommodate business-hour parking and in turn use the site for overflow parking on Sundays.

While the 2282 building was primarily empty before construction, the 2300 building was an active filming studio. This resulted in some unexpected discoveries during construction. Above the main filming area, numerous skylights were found that had been boarded up. They were opened and restored to their original state and provide desirable daylighting for some of the interior spaces.

Second, the column grid and X-bracing were not aligned throughout the building. The position of the courtyard that was cut from one of the buildings ultimately had to align with the X-braces instead of the columns. The result is columns exposed in the courtyard that, while asymmetrical, appear as an interesting design feature.

Finally, after removing part of the soffit and façade at the existing loading dock (now an exterior deck), a fantastic weave of trusses and cross bracing was found below the roof. This discovery was exposed as a design feature at the new exterior deck.

DESIGN ELEMENTS: Because of the ubiquitous use of steel throughout the warehouses, steel was carried as a thematic detail for other necessary components. Steel doors on the restroom stalls, steel countertops, benches and other elements impart a freshness and boldness throughout.

Warmer accents are in surprise locations during the procession through the buildings and courtyard. For example, a wall of wood on one end of the courtyard warms that space. Although a generally relaxing color palette is used, there are punches of bright color that enliven the space. A communal sense is imparted by the shared-spaces design. There is already one major tenant, Crisp Video Group.