Monday, September 03, 2007

Back to bunker: Tucson restores its 1950s building

[Source: Tom Beal, Daily Star] -- George Caria feels quite safe in his new offices at 149 N. Stone Ave., where the city of Tucson has restored a former bank building to its 1950s concrete-bunker glory. It's a victory for the modern architecture preservation movement — salvation of a building that had grown so nondescript that most folks who walked by it daily couldn't tell you what it looked like. Opinion was divided when the city bought the building several years back, said Bruce Woodruff, a city of Tucson architect and project manager for restoration of 149 N. Stone Ave. "Half the guys said, 'Tear it down'; the other half said, 'Look at the bones.' " The systems — electrical, heating and cooling — were shot, Woodruff said, and they were stripped out. The windows — single-paned curtain walls with aluminum frames that spanned the north and south sides of the building for three of its four floors — were energy sieves. But it was "the bones" of the building — four stories of re-enforced concrete — that persuaded the city to keep it and spend $4.7 million to transform it into usable office and retail space.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Welman Sperides Mickelberg Architects.]