By. Chris Stritzel
A nice renovation of one of the last remaining houses in the Midtown Alley area of St. Louis will soon be home to architecture firm JEMA. They announced the plans earlier this year (March 5th to be exact) to convert what is called "The Last House" into their new offices. Now they have published renderings of their planned project at 2823 Olive Street. Living up to what they specified in the March post, "to create a modern interior inhabiting the 145 year old brick and stone shell", JEMA is planning to overhaul this building to fit their needs in an undertaking that preserves a little piece of St. Louis history in an area that has changed much over the years.
JEMA will cut a 27 foot atrium into the building to provide a dynamic open space in the historic building. The plans include a large library and collaboration space for the architects, a fitness room, wood workshop, café and 3 meeting rooms. That's a lot for a 7,025 square foot building that was originally completed in 1874. The project will utilize all 3 floors of the existing building and will house 35 architects and planners. The "Last House" project also appears to be JEMA's first foray into dedicated historic building restoration design. At 3201 Morgan Ford, JEMA is leading design efforts to not only build a 4 floor new building, but also renovate a 1902 building at Wyoming and Morgan Ford. Whether or not that classifies as their first historic building restoration design remains a mystery to me, so I'll count this one as their first.
The new HQ project will use wood accenting to renovate the back portion of the building on the first floor. I like what JEMA is doing here with their new HQ project and believe that it will be a great addition to the neighborhood surrounding it. It also looks cozy in the winter time photo.