, a 21st-century video surveillance and research and development software company in Norfolk, has selected a historic building for its new headquarters. The old Dubin Metals Building on Bowdens Ferry Road, constructed c. 1938, originally served as an acetylene gas manufacturing facility during World War II! Subsequently, it housed a metals recycling business. The original structure and subsequent additions yield a total building footprint of more than 28,000 SF. This is a historic tax credit project.
IPConfigure plans to utilize a portion of the building as its new headquarters; the company is looking for multiple tenants
for other pieces of the building to take advantage of the large outdoor space and help support revitalization efforts in the Lambert’s Point neighborhood.
Work Program Architects is helping the company imagine what it could be. Knowledge workers will occupy the historic portion of the building. Assembly will take place in a newer metal addition. An original loading dock canopy will welcome visitors into the building and an “Experience Center,” with a coffee shop, where visitors can see products in use. Skylights and new light fixtures cast a warm glow on the reception area when filtered through new wood slats installed in the steel canopy. A new steel staircase leads up to the original tower. What once was a testing ground for acetylene gas will soon be a conference room, break room, and rooftop terrace. Because of historic tax credits, certain features of the building cannot be altered. This includes the hole in the ceiling for the former test area. Designers configured a conference room under the hole. Above, rails surround the hole, supporting a glass tabletop at bar height. This will be the break-out room and kitchen.
One of the biggest draws was the surrounding tranquil green space. Uiterwyk says, “People can’t sit all day and write software code. They need to get outside.” This will be an important factor in recruiting and retaining employees. “We compete with Google and Microsoft,” he says. “This will be a place to work that doesn’t feel like work.”