Cole & Denny Architects Building Renovations

The office building at 1010 North Fairfax, directly across from Canal Center Plaza, recently received a 21st Century makeover for an enhanced workplace image. All part of Old Town Alexandria’s trend promoting adaptive reuse of existing structures for modernized office environments within Old Town’s historic district. Alexandria-based Cole & Denny Architects (C&D) has transformed the interior two floors and rooftop of this 1980s structure from single tenant to contemporary multi-use office space featuring a 9,000 sq. ft. layout.
This design exposes the building’s original concrete floors, steel columns, beams, joists, and HVAC systems while updating light fixtures and plumbing throughout. Transformation of exterior brick from a light sandy color to a rich dark gray, installation of modern energy efficient windows, an upgraded entryway, and rooftop terrace complete the exterior makeover. Building owner Christopher Campagna of Braddock Commercial Realty believes this new image will attract a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“This revitalization effort will cater to start-ups and small businesses alike,” Campagna says. “Its design will facilitate a mobile workforce that doesn’t require lots of space or administrative support, where workers are not tethered to specific work areas.”
With the ground floor serving as entry lobby and parking, both second and third floors each provide 3,526 sq. ft. of rentable office space. Drywall partitions and drop ceiling tiles have been stripped away, revealing a more open “mechanical industrial” appearance with brick walls, concrete flooring, and exposed pipe and ductwork. Anticipating sole-proprietor tenants, kitchenettes with stainless steel cabinetry and concrete countertops have been added, along with bathrooms featuring glass tile accent walls and concrete trough sinks.
Interior renovations also provide multiple portal stations for computers, laptops, and smartphone connections. “This open floor plan is more flexible for today’s streamlined office environments,” says Louie Barbieri, AIA, a C&D Principal. “It promotes a more collaborative atmosphere for occupants.”
Capitalizing on a trend with commercial renovations in the metro area, Campagna requested a rooftop terrace. Partially sheltered by a stairwell canopy extension, it adds 600 sq. ft. of casual outdoor space for building occupants — its panoramic view of North Old Town serving as a unique amenity for meetings and social gatherings. Seen from street level, it caps the building with a partial brick enclosure, and a sloping metal membrane covering, to shield occupants from the elements.
C&D also enhanced the building’s main entryway with a striking new doorway, plus a steel-and-glass canopy which serves as a bicycle parking area. “This bicycle area accommodates those entrepreneurs who avoid congestion by pedaling to work,” says Brandon Francis, 1010’s Project Architect. “In historic districts, we find that creating accommodations for alternate transportation modes are increasingly popular options for commercial and business establishments.”
Another Cole & Denny conversion project is located at 130 N. Fayette Street. Formerly hosting an assortment of tenants ranging from a pool hall to a church, renovations to this early 20th Century structure now accommodate an open space floor plan for workforce flexibility. C&D refurbished a total of 3,050 existing sq. ft., while a new interior
mezzanine, outdoor roof deck, egress stairs, and contemporary bathrooms add another 1,030 sq. ft. of space.
Like 1010 N. Fairfax, 130 N. Fayette’s upgrades also meet contemporary office needs with state-of-the-art technologies. Architects removed interior walls and ceilings, creating work space featuring exposed wooden beams and brick, and new outlets for updated communications systems. The refurbished basement level offers spacious cubicle-style work stations — its environment brightened by modified light wells in ground level windows.
A new HVAC unit features an air handling system that circulates fresh air between sub-level and first floor. The original and exterior stairwells have been removed, replaced by a new set of interior egress stairs extending from basement to second floor, and another stairwell from second floor to the mezzanine level and roof deck. Wood flooring brightens the main level. Gene Ulm, 130’s owner, also requested a roof deck addition. Overlooking King and Cameron Streets, this rooftop space faces west towards the majestic George Washington Masonic Temple — reinforcing the revitalized work environment and showcasing the building’s central location in Old Town’s commercial district.
Situated on the visible corner of Fayette and Cameron Streets, 130 N. Fayette’s exterior facade retains its original character, accented by cleaned and painted white brick, new black window trim, and a striking bright red main entry door. Stairwell, mezzanine, and roof deck additions visible along the Cameron Street side of the building enhance its blended image of a modernized retro style in tune with historic context of adjacent structures.
“For both buildings, our firm applied flexible-use design to meet contemporary workforce needs,” says Mike Detomo, who served as 130’s Project Manager. “One of Alexandria’s major advantages for attracting a vibrant workforce is promoting a diverse community environment within Old Town’s unique environment.” Alexandria’s attention to historic detail features this diversified climate though other sustainable projects, where older structures have been preserved and converted to accommodate trade associations, retail establishments, restaurants, and other businesses. It’s part of Alexandria’s plan to remain economically competitive with other Metro DC communities, and profit from the city’s close proximity to the Nation’s Capital. “Building reuse offers innovative options for today’s mobile workforce,” Detomo adds. “With changing norms for workplace space, these buildings can adjust with the times, while upholding their functional, economic, and historic value.”
For more information about the 1010 N. Fairfax renovation project, contact Brandon Francis, project architect at Cole & Denny Architects at 703-684-5994. For more information about the 130 N. Fayette renovation project, contact Mike Detomo, C&D project architect also at 703-684-5994.

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