U.S. Building of the Week

BKCW

Mark Odom Studio
13. January 2020
Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Austin, Texas architects Claude Pendley and Fred Day designed the 2,500-square-foot building at 2001 North Lamar Boulevard for Southland Life Insurance Company back in 1960. BCKW, the new owners that are also an insurance company recently completed a renovation of the local icon with architect Mark Odom. The firm sent us some text and photos of the project.

Project: BKCW, 2019
Location: 2001 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas, USA
Client: BKCW (Meredith and Tyler Spears)
Architect: Mark Odom Studio
Interiors: Collaboration with The Renner Project
Builder: Franklin Alan
Photo: Leonid Furmansky

An iconic Austin office building, built in 1960, has undergone a complete renovation by local architecture firm, Mark Odom Studio. Cantilevering towards North Lamar Blvd, this mid-century structure is nestled along a main Austin thoroughfare and integral midtown park district.

Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Meredith and Tyler Spears, owners of the heritage and family operated insurance company BKCW, bought the building for its iconic mid-century architecture which they felt reflected their company culture, attitude, and goals. The project then began not only as a full renovation of the 3,000-square-foot office building built in 1960 (by architects Pendley & Day), but also as an adaptive reuse, ensuring the true preservation of the original building.

Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Over the years, the project had been internally subdivided, limiting the experience of the original building stature. Mark Odom Studio quickly set out to fully open the space, a nod to the open office layout seen in insurance and advertising companies in the mid-1960s. This approach fully expressed the entire building volume by not only opening up the interior, but by allowing the prominent glass facades to flood the space with natural light.

Photo: Leonid Furmansky

To accomplish many of the reuse portions, the project salvaged as much existing brick as possible and replaced existing storefront windows with new energy efficient glazing, framed with steel mullions to match the original window pattern. Internally and externally, the use of mid-century materials, such as vintage brick, stained wood paneling, and cork flooring, brought this project back to is former life. The careful resourcing of these details made it possible to update the original low ceiling, raising it one foot to achieve eight-foot ceiling heights throughout, with a seamless transition inside and out.

Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Keeping the dedicated views towards downtown Austin and Pease District Park was critical, both for the client and for the visual experience for the employees. Complimenting the very public southern and western views, the eastern windows now face a revitalized subterranean back courtyard, which acts as a respite from the North Lamar traffic. On the exterior, both the front, park-facing deck and the southern, down-town facing deck were added and expanded to accentuate the horizontality of the original structure while also providing more generous entry points for visitors and employees.

Photo: Leonid Furmansky
Photo: Leonid Furmansky
Photo: Leonid Furmansky
Photo: Leonid Furmansky
Photo: Leonid Furmansky

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