Very recently, a couple had a custom home built for their family on a beautiful site with water views in Chesapeake. However, the finished interior space lacked cohesiveness; more than that, in their words, it lacked a soul. WPA was brought in and tasked with harmonizing the residence, pulling its spaces and materials together, and infusing it with some much needed Zen. To do this, WPA went to as potent a source as possible locally: the Boat House concert venue in Norfolk, which was being torn down after sitting in a decayed state after being badly damaged by Hurricane Isabel. Eight of its timber columns were salvaged and set aside to be installed in the residence, replacing haphazardly-placed drywall-clad wood studs throughout the living space. Steel details were designed to tie the timbers gracefully to the house and to each other. An up-lit, Venetian-plastered barrel vault was designed to float above the music room. A once arbitrary soffit above the main path of circulation was stitched from the timber columns to the adjacent open kitchen by steel “light troughs.”
New pods for concessions and restrooms open to both the interior and exterior concourse and plaza.
Rendering of concourse showing new restroom/concession pods that bridge between the interior and exterior.
When Grow Interactive renovated their new office at 427 Granby Street in 2010, they performed one of the finest renovations the street has seen in recent years. At that time, Mel and Thom were still with other firms, and Peter was building their butcher block furniture out of his Granby Street workshop. This collaboration brings together a metric ton of mutual respect and great friendships while promising to do something tremendous for downtown Norfolk: the front portion of this new space will be designed as the premier gathering place in Downtown Norfolk for some lucky entrepreneur to use to launch a brand new business.
The 429 property has been vacant for many years and will be thoroughly gutted and rebuilt with offices and workspace for Grow in the rear, and a restaurant, complete with rooftop dining, occupying the front. The goal for the restaurant is to push the boundaries of facade permeability and customer-pedestrian interactivity in downtown.
Studies and the design process are ongoing, but we promise that this will be a space that helps to redefine Granby Street.
Piano room of the Chesapeake residence renovation.