When Cannon Design’s St. Louis office was looking for a new space to relocate, they found themselves setting up shop at the city’s historic Power House building.
Built in 1928, the building originally functioned as a coal-fired, steam-powered generation plant for a portion of the central business district. It was used as such until 1967, when it was decommissioned and left fallow for decades.
Now designated a landmark by the National Historic Register, the Power House underwent a modern interior transformation when Cannon Design moved into the space in 2008.
David Polzin, Cannon Design’s principal designer and project lead on the Power House project, says that the intention behind the building’s streamlined design was to “juxtapose new against old.” The result is clean, white contemporary surfaces against industrial surfaces.
“We tried to maintain the original as much as possible,” Polzin says. As the building’s sole occupant, Cannon Design was free to pursue a vision that upheld the integrity of the building while giving it updates aimed at LEED certification.
“We wanted the office to be demonstrative of our values. We pursued LEED certification and energy-modeled the whole project so that we were concerned with the performance of the building,” Polzin says. “We’re a signatory to the AIA’s 2030 Commitment to make all new construction net zero energy by the year 2030, and we’ve set internal goals to meet those standards.”
Cannon Design’s office space is proof of those values. Using low VOC paint, 90% recycled steel and recycled content in the carpeting in construction all helped the building achieve LEED Gold certification.
Not only did Cannon Design modernize the building with energy efficiency, it also preserved the character of the interior space as much as possible. A gallery space around the perimeter allows staff and visitors to see and occupy the total volume of the building. The building’s giant windows were replaced with historically accurate installations using insulated, low-E coated glass.
Polzin says that the new construction has been transformative for the Power House building as well as for Cannon Design’s working team: “The most gratifying part about the building is how usable the space has
been and how everyone has fit into it well … it promotes collaboration for teams and is transformative for design culture.”
With its streamlined interior, historical accuracy and energy efficiency, Cannon Design’s office certainly is a Power House.
All photos courtesy Cannon Design.
- Cannon Design
1100 Clark Ave.
St. Louis, MO, 63102