THE CITY MEAT BUILDING
205-213 N. Cameron Street, Winchester, Virginia
This project involved transforming a late 1890’s building into professional offices for a graphic design firm and an architectural office.
Historical research on the property revealed its long mercantile life, housing meat markets, grocery stores, and furniture stores. As a way to commemorate the building’s history, and the City Meat Market which once operated there, the building was dubbed The City Meat Building. A striking butcher shop photo from the 1920’s was enlarged and printed on light- reducing fabric scrims, which now shade the storefront windows. Additionally, the butchers’ images, at life-size scale, inhabit the back wall of a shared informal conference room / lounge.
When the owners purchased the building, it contained a contractor’s office and a church on the first floor. The second floor housed three small apartments; it had served as a six room boarding house during the Depression. The building was architecturally unremarkable and unembellished, other than the heavy Victorian cornice on the street front facade, and a large, gable framed skylight on the upper level.
The building had to be gutted and restructured. The existing building was restored on the exterior with a new first floor storefront, based on photos from the 1950’s. Original brick, wood joists, and flooring were exposed and cleaned. The interiors were executed with a modern approach, with new wood and glass walls, gypsum wallboard, and exposed structural steel.
The existing structure was converted into two, two story offices. The first floor contains reception areas and conference rooms, constructed of 2 x 8’s and laminated glass. The second floor studios were created by removing the existing apartments and their 8’-6” high ceilings, to create large loft spaces. Existing attic beams were accommodated by inserting a series of saw tooth “waves.” The saw tooth ceiling simultaneously hides and celebrates the beams’ random heights and spacings. Blue lights were placed within the recess of these waves and cast a purple glow on the ceiling.
The common, shared spaces in the building were placed in a new, 16’ wide three story tower addition at the rear of the building. The tower is comprised of a conference room / lounge on the first floor, a kitchen / dining / meeting room on the second, and an arbored roof deck at the top. This cement board clad addition was designed as a small scale modern counterpoint to the old structure. Since it sits within 12” of three different property lines, all exterior walls and the roof had to be fire-rated and windowless. Light reaches the lower levels through cracked glass floors, which are lit from above by clerestory windows and a skylight.