Moran Shipping Agencies, Inc., Adaptive Reuse & Historic Restoration Award, Rhode Island Medical Society Building, 235 Promenade Street
In 1911 the Rhode Island Medical Society hired Rhode Island architects Clark, Howe and Homer to design a new building in the shadow of the recently constructed Rhode Island State Capitol. Designed in the Federal Revival style, the brick building was patterned after eighteenth-century British townhouses. In 2006, Moran Shipping Agencies, Inc. purchased the abandoned building in order to relocate their world headquarters. Moran hired Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects to carefully preserve this architecturally significant building while simultaneously creating an exciting work environment that included sustainable technologies and “green” materials. To preserve a vaulted auditorium space while also creating a dramatic and healthy work environment, an open office plan was designed to provide natural daylight and views to the outside from all work stations. In a former library wing, a suspended boardroom with glass enclosure is held back from the exterior walls so that the three-story volume can be appreciated from all levels through restored historic windows. A new stair tower encourages employees to use the stairs, not the elevator, and was designed to be compatible with the historic building while clearly being a product of its own time. Installing a geo-thermal heating and cooling system (the first in downtown Providence) provided an opportunity to utilize a renewable energy source. High recycled content carpeting, forest certified woods, and high efficiency plumbing fixtures all contribute to a project that also involved re-using 98% of the historic fabric of the building and that is on target to qualify for LEED silver certification.