Maria McVarish, Design Services was a small firm of 4 people. Maria, the architect, and her business partiner, owned the 44,000 s.f. warehouse built in 1909. During the 2 years I worked there, this was the firm’s sole job. Within this single building, there were several smaller projects: starting with extensive siesmic upgrades, 8 lofts, a large penthouse condo, offices, and a bakery.
The 3 story building was half timber, half unreinforced masonry. Due to its age, it had numerous qualities we did our best to preserve. Old discarded parts were often resurrected in some other form elsewhere in the building. For example, the no longer functioning steel elevator was extracted, cut up, and turned in to an exposed entry closet in the penthouse condo. Original wood and masonry walls that were once hidden were revealed.
The work I did there started with model making, hand drafting, and picking up redlines. But as is often the case with small offices, you end up doing a little bit of everything. By the end of my time there I had: helped compile/write several project manuals, put together permit and bid sets, as well as administering construction on the bakery and one of the residences.
*Sidenote: Collaboration with artists/ steel fabricators during this time would later influence me in my decision to take up welding/fabrication.