US Waterways LLC


Norfolk, Virginia


4,708 square feet

Completion Date

March 2013

*Winner of an AIA Hampton Roads 2015 Merit Award for Interiors


Norfolk Tug Company, a leader in the water transportation industry in Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay, chose to adapt an existing late-1800’s Pickle Plant in the Berkley neighborhood of Norfolk as a new office and headquarters. The “Pickle,” as Norfolk Tug employees affectionately call the warehouse building, features bays of large widows with views to the water and the tug fleet, brick walls and piers, and heavy timber trusses.

The renovation was designed to highlight and utilize the existing character of the building to the greatest extent. The layout is an open-office concept, with perimeter offices framed by a custom steel and glass partition system, designed to allow as much natural light into the interior spaces as possible. The original pickle plant flooring was salvaged and used as thresholds and sill plates for the partition system. Hot water loop radiant floor was installed to heat the large volume of space and keep the heat close to building occupants for comfort and efficiency. A high-volume, low-speed fan helps to de-stratify the air and push the conditioned air down to the occupants.

Interior finishes complement the building’s warm material palette and evoke the nautical nature of the business. Finishes and furniture include a painted marine-grade plywood floor, porcelain tile, high-bay LED lights, a modular benching system, custom-fabricated desks, carpet, quartz countertops, and roll-up solar shades to control heat gain. Custom steel partition elements were modeled in Solidworks, and steel was fabricated directly from the model. A specially developed process was used to hand-patinate and seal the steel in place. The project was recognized by AIA Hampton Roads with a Merit Award for Interiors.

Project challenges including working through the abatement process and environmental submittal, as the building is located on the water and in a flood zone.