The existing double height lobby space that the design team was challenged with is shown below. Certain historic elements were required to be kept intact to comply with the guidelines for historic tax credits.
In addition to the lobby space, another constraint that challenged the design team was the existing second floor space that showcased the two original structural beams that were used to hang the printing presses. Working around these lower ceiling obstacles and low heights overall, tasked the design team to develop creative solutions for the Ohio Chamber Of Commerce’s new home.
Prove that the first and second floor office space in the skinny, low-ceilinged Dispatch Building could be transformed into a modern, inspired mix of private offices, collaboration spaces, reception, and meeting rooms.
To start, we sat in focus groups with Chamber employees, gaining insight into what was working in their current space and what wasn’t. “It was nice to listen and understand how they work and why,” says architect Stephanie Hayward. She adds these talks helped inspire the resulting layout, split over two floors, that encourages collaboration—something they lacked in their current office—while also giving employees and guests private spaces to confer.
On the second floor, our team configured the floorplan to include 19 private offices without sacrificing shared workspaces and natural light. Five executive-level offices are positioned at the corners so as not to block light of the gathering spaces along the south side of the building. Internal offices feature glass fronts to enjoy the most natural light possible.
And the large shared kitchen was intentionally placed in the middle to encourage everyone on the Chamber’s team to use it.
One of the biggest sticking points for the Chamber was having a meeting space on the first floor large enough to hold upwards of 80 people. “This room was kind of the clinch pin,” Stephanie explains. At first glance, the room feels really long and narrow. “We had to prove that this room would work to rent the space. Our team was able to show them the flexibility of the room—how screens would work if divided or not, seating arrangements depending on the style of event.”
Because the Dispatch Building is on the Historic Register of Places, there were elements of the space that couldn’t be altered, including the feature wall that separates the lobby from the offices. “This was the delineating wall from the factory part of the printing area and the front of house,” Stephanie says. “We had to keep 50% of it intact. We worked with the wall, designing it to do what it was meant to—divide the lobby from the offices in the back.” Now it’s a clear divide that nods to the history of the building, and adds to the story of The Chamber’s new office space.
Like a championship team, our bench is deep in project expertise and what we can offer. Our contribution to the new 20,000-seat Columbus Soccer Club Stadium, opening July 2021, is a prime example.
The 94-year-old Dispatch Building is arguably one of the most iconic structures in Downtown Columbus. Our team helped to transform the former daily newspaper headquarters — and recent addition to the Historic Register of Places — into a modern work space without losing its historic integrity.
We are located in the heart of the arena district at 405 North Front. Street. We love having visitors, by appointment. To make an appointment with our team please call our office line at 614.541.2801
About The Author
Molly Bryant - Interior Design
Molly is a NCIDQ certified interior designer here at the Columbus Architectural Studio. As an interior designer, Molly has a passion for creating spaces that solve problems and improve the overall environment to better support the end user. Molly values continuing education through design research. With a focus on creative and collaborative office environments in her graduate studies, she continues to apply this knowledge as a resource in workplace projects. No matter the size of the project, Molly gives her full attention to each client and is a firm believer that design is in the details. In addition to corporate office projects, Molly has design experience in hospitality, multi-family, and retail environments.