By: Amanda Gibney Weko
Founded in 2008 in Amsterdam, the coworking company Spaces today includes 160 locations in 80 cities worldwide. One of the newest Spaces locations can be found in Center City, Philadelphia, in the Hale Building on the corner of Juniper and Chestnut Streets.
Built in 1887 by architect Willis G. Hale, who also designed the Divine Lorraine Hotel, the iconic building once housed a Turkish bath house, but stood vacant since the mid 1980s. The building has been restored with Spaces occupying 38,000 sf of coworking offices spread over six floors plus a 1,650-sf roof deck. A bi-level restaurant is anticipated for the ground floor.
According to Spaces, the company offers “creative working environments with a unique entrepreneurial spirit” including dedicated desk space plus a business club and networking events to foster and support its growing community of businesspeople. The Philadelphia location includes 300 dedicated desks and two meeting rooms designed by architects idGROUP of Dallas, Texas.
A modern aesthetic with historic detailing was executed by Patriot Construction, Inc. of Sharon Hill, Pa., and AGI member glazing contractor Synergy Glass & Door Service, LLC of Collingdale, Pa.
The design concept reimagined historic building artifacts with new uses. A signature element reuses historic wood doors as marker boards. The doors were refinished and fit with McGrory customformulated 5/16-inch 100 percent opaque laminated glass.
Installed on shared office walls, the boards can be written on by opposing offices without content transferring to the other side. Original doors and custom half-inch tempered glass also came together with a custom metal frame to form a unique conference table.
Interior offices are clad in aluminum storefront. Synergy installed 7,745 sf of half-inch clear tempered glass with Bohle clear copolymer butt joint filler strips (no caulked butt joints). Over 100 custom frames feature a custom black painted finish, and a combination of custom sill/base extrusions and standard framing.
The Synergy team included Owner Pat McIntyre, Project/ Preconstruction Manager Boyd Miller, Estimator Jesse Blankschen, and Foreman Brian Lee. According to Miller, the project would not have been possible without proactive planning and teamwork.
The building does not have a freight elevator and its passenger elevator was installed to fit the original narrow elevator shaft. All glass and metal had to be sized to fit and transported in the small elevator cab, which required smaller than normal lites of glass during installation.
To make matters worse, a water main break crippled the streets around the project just a week before glaziers mobilized, restricting access to the building and its loading area. All glass and metal were loaded at night or on weekends, and Synergy worked with the Philadelphia Police Department to make deliveries at 5:00 am so as not to impede traffic.
“Synergy did an excellent job. It all started during the bid process,“ explained Patriot Construction Project Superintendent Randy Kron. “Boyd was very proactive to notice that the glass size specified would not fit into the elevators. Had this not been caught early, all of the glass would have had to be carried up the stairs to each floor. The architects were very appreciative and quickly gave us a revised plan to fit the new glass size.”
Patriot CEO Greg Kunkle concurs, “Delivery of the glass was challenging, but Synergy met or exceeded the schedule. As a competitive GC, subcontractor pricing is most important.” Synergy’s proactive planning ensured price and quality.
Despite the extenuating circumstances, all of the glass was installed to current IBC codes, which exceed Pennsylvania codes. “At Synergy, we strive to go above and beyond when it comes to safety and building code compliance and to provide customers with superior products,” said Miller. “Even though Philadelphia has not yet enforced the latest IBC codes as standard practice, this job does. The half-inch glass used meets IBC 2403.4 and IBC 1607.14.”
Kron agrees Synergy’s workmanship and attention to detail were high quality: “They were the only trade that had NO ITEMS on the punch list.”
AGI Glazier: Synergy Glass & Door Service, LLC Collingdale, Pa.
Team: GC: Patriot Construction, Inc. ; Architect: idGROUP
Scope: Interior glass; custom framing, white board doors, and conference table
Size: 38,000 square feet
Completion: October 2018