Artichoke

1608 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio  -  2016

The project is a renovation and addition to a 4,500 sf abandoned building in the historic Findlay Market area of Over-the-Rhine. A retail cookware space, Artichoke, occupies the ground level, with two apartments above. 

As the existing interior stair bifurcated the upper floors of the existing shell into unusable small spaces, exterior stairs and balconies were developed to provide access and egress, as well as generous terraces for the apartments above. The steel balcony structure also provides sun shading for the South facade. The project was subject to a high degree of scrutiny by the Historic Review Board due to the unconventional use of perforated steel cladding for the addition. The building is expected to receive LEED gold certification.

The storefront was designed using custom plate steel box frames to negotiate the out-of-square construction of the existing structure. In the retail space, an acrylic backlit wall and aluminum plate shelf system is coupled with raw steel frames and salvaged wood shelves to display the cookware. The sales counter features edge-lit, laminated acrylic surfaces. All retail fittings were designed and fabricated by the architect. 

Both of the apartments are organized around the existing window openings on the South façade, where enclosed spaces and walls are pulled away to create an uninterrupted flow of space. Cherry plywood walls and sliding doors define the 2nd floor unit, while two-story spatial volumes define the 3rd floor unit.