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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2009 awards -> 855 South Center


Entry number: B09025
Project Name: 855 South Center
Building Type: Commercial
Completion Date: June 2009
Building Location: 855 S. Center Reno, NV
Type of Construction:
Materials Used: Concrete, wood, steel, glass
Building Area: 7,487 sf

Design Team:
Architecture Firm: GuiDenby, Inc.
Architect of Record: Allyson Wong
Wong Family Properties
Landscape Architect: Artemesia Landscape Architecture
Structural Engineer: Tobey-Wade Consulting Engineers
Electrical Engineer:
JP Engineering
Mechanical Engineer: ASPEN Engineering
Civil Engineer: Odyssey Engineering
General Contractor: GuiDenby, Inc
Photographer: Jeff Dow Photography

Statement of Design Approach:
This project was born from the desire of the owners to create a building which is sensitive to its immediate environment as well as the environment as a whole. In addition to meeting the problematic needs the owners, the building is intended to create a contemporary architectural statement to compliment other new projects in the area while maintaining the scale of the existing streetscape and complementing the character of the old neighborhood.

The intent was to create a contemporary yet approachable building that serves as a showcase of the owners’ work in sustainable design and construction. While meeting the programmatic needs as the company’s new headquarters. The building is also intended to give clients an opportunity for hands-on interaction with sustainable design, materials, and construction techniques.

855 South Center street is and office for a construction company with two additional tenant spaces for future retail office uses. The building includes 7,487 square feet on a 14,000 square foot urban infill site. The immediate surroundings of the site include both good and bad ,with an award–winning contemporary townhouse project across the street on one side and run–down buildings including a motel and tattoo parlors on another side. This project makes its mark on the neighborhood by creating a dynamic new space that complements the neighborhood’s existing scale and identity, while encouraging its ongoing redevelopment.

The building is entered either from the street side or the alley side (where parking is located) through custom doors into the main lobby. From the lobby, one can either enter the downstairs tenant space or the owners' offices, or climb the stairway to the upper tenant space. From the lobby area, building occupants can also access restroom facilities and the shared recycling area for the building.

The offices are designed to reflect the personality of the occupants, with spaces that are contemporary without having a museum-like quality. They are dynamic spaces with a lived-in comfort. Lively colors and durable materials are used, with many materials left exposed to reveal the construction techniques. All of the built-ins were a collaborative effort between the architect and contractor, and many of them are built from scrap materials brought out of the storage from the constractor’s previous projects. Old beam end cuts, salvaged sheet metal, and other orphaned building materials were used to create desks, shelves and tables.

The owner’s offices occupy a portion of both levels of the buildings. The main level includes reception and waiting areas, workspace for the bookkeeper, layout and copy areas, workspace for the bookkeeper, layout and copy areas, workstations for estimators and superintendents, restroom and kitchenette. Climbing the building’s second stair takes you up to the owners’ offices and small meeting area and to a bridge which accesses the conference room and connects back to the lobby.

The goal of this project was not just building space to work in , but creating a place that this family-owned and operated business can call home. Recently when one of the owners was asked why he built this building, he replied ,“My biggest motivation in the work we do is our three kids –what are we going to leave for them …what kind of example are we going to set?”

Sustainable Description:
855 South Center was designed as a showcase of sustainable design and construction practices, with the goal of providing clients and others with hands-on exposure to sustainable materials and techniques. Every decision made in the planning and construction of this building used sustainability as a primary factor.

The project’s urban infill site is located just south of downtown Reno in an area which is at the beginning of its revitalization. The site is within walking distance of several bus stops, a variety of services, and residential areas, including the one in which the owners reside. Design of the sire includes water efficient landscaping which uses 75% less water than a typical landscape of the same size. The parking area is constructed using light colored concrete and includes a drainage strip of permeable concrete to reduce run off. Bike parking is also provided.

As you enter the building walk-off grates help reduce dust and allergens entering the building. Air quality is also maintained throughout the building through the use of low and no VOC products and through air quality monitoring devices. Operable windows throughout the building give occupants the opportunity for fresh air within their spaces.

Passive solar design strategies are key to this building success. One example of these passive strategies is the back wall of the conference room, which serves as a trombe wall to store the heat gained through the rooms ‘s south-facing windows. Another energy saver is in the insulation and air-tightness of the building. The roofs are constructed with 10” sips panels, and the walls are insulated with approximately 2” of renewable spray foam insulation and the spray foam while reducing the cost to less than half of what a full spray foam insulation would cost.

Energy usage within the building is reduced through natural daylighting in 95% of all of the regularly occupied spaces. The daylighting is so good that the building occupants have only turned lights on when they have been in the building at night. Many of the light fixtures use daylight harvesting to dim or brighten accordingly as daylight levels require, and fixtures in secondary spaces used timed motion sensors. Photovoltaic panels provide much of energy requires for the building. In fact, the building has been occupied for three months and the owners have not used any electricity from the local utility. Water usage is also reduced by more than 40 % through the use of low flow fixtures and dual flush toilets.

Sustainability played a key role in the process of creating this building. The building will continue to serve as a showcase of sustainability as it is used by the owners and future tenants. In addition, the building has been and will continue to be used as an educational tool for the community through educational outreach programs which are being established by the owners.



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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:06 PST