David T. Howard Middle School

SSOE completed the redesign and historic rehabilitation of the empty David T. Howard School, once attended by notable African American luminaries such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., into a modern middle school in the heart of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

The $52 million project, which began in early 2017, includes an administrative wing based on an originally designed element that was never built, a four-level classroom addition, media center, auditorium, music wing, and kitchen and cafeteria.

The design team’s approach focused on the existing plan diagram to ensure the building’s historic features were maintained. The new addition connects to the existing building with elements that keep the existing building’s brick visible and joins all the building’s components.

The school is a four-story concrete frame building with brick cladding. The floor plan is a simple “U” shape with corridors connecting the classroom wings. The main entrances along the bottom of the “U” are also identified by decorative brick and stone details. The existing classroom building reflects the original layout as much as possible, and the new classroom wing consists of core, science, and music classrooms; the kitchen and cafeteria; and an auditorium.

SSOE designed a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system with 100% outdoor air for the classroom portions of the building, including the historic building. The VRF system allowed the design team to minimize ductwork in the classrooms and maintain the existing high ceilings in the historic classrooms and corridors. Because the VRF outdoor units weigh less than conventional systems, the design team was able to minimize structural modifications to the historic building, saving cost and time. The areas served by VRF are paired with packaged roof top dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) with energy recovery. The new DOAS and VRF HVAC systems designed for the project will save energy over the years to come and contribute to an optimal indoor environmental quality for the students and staff and give each space served the ability to control space environmental conditions.

Kimpton Sylvan Hotel

Originally built in the early 1950s by Atlanta architect James C. Wise, the post-war efficiency apartment building has been restored to its previous mid-century modern style after previous renovations converted the building into senior housing and condominium units. Located near Buckhead Village, the SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson design team transformed the condominium units into a 216-key hotel that now features a restaurant and bar, courtyard dining, a private pool, and a rooftop lounge.

As part of this historic renovation, the original corridors and circulation cores were maintained, and the 216 guestrooms were configured to closely align with the footprint of the initial 1950’s apartments. The existing single-pane aluminum windows were refurbished, and large openings in the brick façade that had been cut-in for HVAC units were carefully toothed back. The entire exterior received a fresh coat of white paint, with light gray accentuating the horizontal elements of concrete brows and sills that trim the windows. At the rooftop, the previous deck was expanded by converting an abandoned mechanical penthouse into a colorful bar venue with roll-up doors and sweeping views of the Buckhead neighborhood.

The preservation of expansive landscaped areas, dining patios, and secret gardens surround the property, each with substantial hundred-year oak and magnolia trees providing canopy above. The seclusion offers a respite from the bustle of Buckhead, yet the property still engages with the urban fabric through the addition of two grand stairs connecting the sidewalk to the south entrance, which is under an existing concrete canopy. A restaurant occupies the same space as one did through the 1970s, with a new romantic dining patio overlooking East Paces Ferry.

The new porte-cochere on the east façade protects hotel guests’ arrival with a prominent steel and polycarbonate canopy inspired by angled canopies of the mid-century modern era. Guests enter through the original vestibule with new stained-glass windows and are met with an inviting living room area featuring a fireplace and views into the courtyard bar. That “secret garden” provides covered dining beneath a steel canopy and pergola, or intimate seating arrangements interspersed throughout the winding landscape paths.

The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel is an award-winning project for adaptive reuse and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

New Corporate Headquarters

ProMedica Health System, a locally owned, non-profit healthcare organization serving Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan established in 1986, has completed the renovation and construction of their new corporate headquarters in downtown Toledo, Ohio. The move to downtown’s waterfront entailed the renovation of the vacant historical Edison Steam Plant, renovation of the adjacent former Key Bank building, and construction of a new multi-level parking structure.

In cooperation with HKS, SSOE was the firm of choice to provide full mechanical, electrical, plumbing, technology, and fire protection (MEPT / FP) design services for the two large commercial office structures. Our team of experts carefully evaluated the existing buildings and the historic aspect of each building that needed to be maintained, and provided detailed engineering design for the HVAC and plumbing systems, the Data / Fire / Security systems, the fire suppression systems, and the electrical system, including site lighting.

The existing Key Bank building will house a new YMCA space in the basement level, the Chop House restaurant on the lobby level, and office spaces on floors two, three, and four. The large variety of mixed building use is unique to this type of project but was successfully handled by the design team. SSOE is proud to be a part of this local project that promotes economic growth and urban revitalization. The project was completed in August 2017.