Preserving and restoring a heritage-protected architectural structure comes with some 21st-Century challenges. Contemporary usage often has to be woven seamlessly through its hallowed bones, and the reconsidered building also has to sit well with a brave new world where sustainability is a key consideration.
The Phillips Family Offices building, built in 1901, embraces representative features of the classic Beaux Arts style large composition, exuberance of detail, and colossal columns. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, its interior had undergone several modifications. Domain Architecture & Design and GunkelmanFlesher Interior Design were asked to restore the building to its original charm and adapt it for modern office usage.
Deborah Everson, a principal architect with Domain, led the project from a restorative/heritage perspective, while fellow architect Michael Everson considered the former library building and its park-like surroundings from a sustainability point of view. Andrew Flesher, a principal at GunkelmanFlesher, was involved in all aspects of the design and selection of the interior finishes, furnishings and space planning. The project has attracted several awards for both heritage sensitivity and LEED-driven sustainability.
In terms of faithfully rejuvenating the Phillips Family Offices building, the exterior has been cleaned and restored, and in some cases substantial elements and detailing have been replaced with modern, economical equivalents.
Deborah Everson says the entire marble facade was cleaned, missing panels restored and the front steps replaced. The balustrade also needed to be replaced, as the original had been destroyed by acid rain.
"To replace this significant feature, we used cast marble matched to the colour and shape only the original caps on the balustrade have been retained," says Deborah Everson. "Dilapidated windows were replaced with custom replica clad windows these are wood on the inside but painted aluminium on the outside, making for a robust, economical and accurate representation of what had gone before."