The Historic Dispatch Building Renovation

Posted by David Tyler | September 23, 2019 | Solutions
The Dispatch Building at Dusk

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 began by highlighting the historical features that make the Dispatch Building, well, the Dispatch Building. On the exterior, this meant removing ill-fitting windows (installed in the 1980s), restoring the openings to their original masonry, and refitting them with classic, double-hung windows.  Inside, glass wall divides maintain the integrity of the signature two-volume lobby while maximizing office space (including a conference room for the first floor tenant). Inspired by the building’s historically significant era — the 1920s to 1940 — our design team worked with a timeless material palette; a mix of glass, wood, stone, and brass fixtures.

Dispatch Building Exterior

Dispatch Building Exterior

On the sixth floor, we focused on creating a character-rich office space for building owners, Capitol Square Ltd. The space simply needed room to breathe. Over sized offices located around the perimeter gave the floor a closeted feel and drop-ceilings only added to the cavernous vibe. Our design team reworked the floor plan, moving offices toward the center adding a clear story windows to give the offices privacy without sacrificing natural light. Duct work was reworked to allow for higher ceiling heights. Windows were added to the building’s once nearly windowless south side to allow light to shine in on all sides.

Office Break Area

Office Break Area

Most of all, we loved how we were able to work with our partners to tell the story of the building — both its architectural history and personal. For example, when the team discovered an old stone cornice on the roof, the Capitol Square team asked to display it in their office as artwork.

If you ask our architect Stephanie Hayward, the real showstopper is the uncovering of the original hip roof. “When we opened up the sixth floor, we saw all this structure in the ceiling. We hadn’t planned on leaving it open, but once we saw it during demolition, we knew we couldn’t hide this,” she says. “It’s so cool. You get to see the history of the building. Where the hip roof is. We ended up redoing the structure of the walls and added uplights to get to see the original structure of the building. It creates a nice, memorable moment.”


Main Office interior entry

6th Floor Exposed Ceiling At Entry | Photography Credit: Kate Horgan

Then there is the design of the main conference room. “The placement of the conference room was really important,” says interior designer Molly Bryant. “Former Dispatch owner and publisher, John F. Wolfe’s office used to be in this corner. Our client knew they wanted an executive level conference room in that space to pay homage to Mr. Wolfe, who passed away a few years ago, and not just close it off with another office. It’s a little tribute.”


About The Author

David Tyler - Architecture

David was born in Michigan but grew up in Georgia and South Carolina developing a mix of northern and southern sensibilities. Living up near Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology was the assumed college destination. The University focus on engineering didn’t leave him many intriguing major opportunities; however, David quickly discovered an untapped passion for architecture and hasn’t looked back. Upon graduating, David returned to his northern roots for graduate studies at The Ohio State University and the Knowlton School of Architecture, and he remained in Columbus to focus on the relationships and community that he and his wife had grown to love.

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