For this project, we transformed an awkward space in an aging industrial building into a letterpress print shop. We worked with an L-shaped plan (with the entry at the end of the long leg) to create a gallery to draw people in and located the new reception desk at the end in the main workspace. Low partitions separate reception and office areas from the printing area and help to minimize distraction from the activity and disorder of the printing process.

Since the building’s exposed concrete frame and brick infill walls prevented us from concealing electrical wiring, we developed a lightweight, red metal grid for the space composed of inexpensive channel framing. The channels carry electrical conduit to the center of the space, while the repetition of these elements throughout the space help to organize and unify the shop’s four distinct bays and act as a counterpoint to the rough and massive concrete structure.


AIA San Francisco, Design Award for Interior Architecture, 1991