As part of a three-phase program in the Midtown District of downtown Oklahoma City, the 90-year-old, 40,000 square foot historic Guardian Building warehouse was a renovation and adaptive reuse project. It provides thirty-seven apartments and a ground level restaurant with shared entries onto the adjacent public plaza that was converted from a former rundown alley. The units provide tenants with true, industrial loft-style living and flexible floor plans. Movable closets and flip-top islands are amenities providing tenants opportunities to customize the space.
The original building design itself is unique, with large casement windows fully restored with insulated glass providing some of the most expansive views available of downtown Oklahoma City. The exterior features of gothic /art deco hybrid detailing was used as inspiration for the expanded metal panels’ stepped configuration within the stairwells and common spaces.
The new entry to the building itself is also unusual, with an inset Zen garden courtyard placed within the alley plaza on the side. This leads to a new internal grand metal stair filled with light borrowed from the skylight above and glass walls separating the restaurant space from the tenant space. This shared glass wall allows for visual interaction between the tenant commons and the commercial restaurant.
The long corridors are wide, open and clean with a skylight and floor opening at the corridor end opposite the main stair. Light fills all of the spaces. Original windows, brick walls, concrete floors and raw ceilings create a true industrial feel for the lofts. Tall ceilings, open spaces and movable islands lend themselves to the creation of tenants’ individual floor plans.
The industrial character and patina of the original building was left in place and enhanced with simple use of industrial and natural materials. Careful detailing and layout of mechanical sprinkler and electrical systems leaves the ceiling plane uncluttered to allow the bones of the building to show through. The units’ restrooms are slightly raised and plumbing was carefully planned to prevent any plumbing lines or drain traps from ever being seen or heard within the unit below.
The lower level mezzanines are one-of-a-kind. Suspended from the existing steel beams are salvaged metal industrial grating overlaid with a translucent polycarbonate flooring allowing for thin and light structure and visual connection of the upper and lower levels within the loft units. The Guardian Lofts provide for a comfortably warm and refined industrial aesthetic.