INFO + STORY
2008 HRACRE: Award of Excellence for Best Multi-family
Hampton Roads Housing Company, LLC
Downtown Norfolk, VA
93,126 square feet
The Rotunda lofts on St. Paul’s Boulevard is an extreme adaptive re-use and renovation of a 1970’s commercial office building. An eyesore in our revitalized downtown, City officials wanted this building to be demolished. It had clearly outlived its original purpose and had been sitting nearly vacant for decades as a dominant 7 story mid-rise drum prominently positioned in the heart of our downtown. Celebrating its unique form in lieu of fighting it was the natural way to go.
Step one: Function – Imagining the condominium units as slices of pizza set the geometry for unique floor plan development and one of a kind urban residential dwelling units. Every unit is wedge shaped and explodes with view and light as you enter at the small end of the wedge; upon entering you are sucked to the expanse window wall on the outside edge of the wedge. Fun, quirky shapes fill the wedge to accommodate cooking, bathing, lounging, and sleeping.
Step two: Aesthetics - Emphasize the cylindrical nature with bold ring bands to identify the floors and give it a base and a hat to ground the mass with a traditional 3 part classical ordering. The existing skin was removed and replaced with a heavy masonry and storefront base, a column and glass / stucco infill body, and storefront all around the penthouse level to maximize city views.
The transformation of the Rotunda contributes to the continued revitalization of Downtown Norfolk and is used today as a 66 unit loft style residential condominium structure with nine (9) stories. The City Officials now tout this property as one of the fine examples of Norfolk’s redevelopment potential and have tagged it as - “From eyesore to Icon”.