Scottish Rite Masonic Center Addition
About this project
In this project, increased office space and elevator access was required to accommodate an aging population. The addition was conceived as a nexus: an accessible street entry, vertical circulation, user-friendly office space, an accessible link to the existing building and to the adjacent parking structure. Our goal was to preserve the simplicity of the Masonic Temple as a free standing building while at the same time connecting it to the street edge.
Traditionally, there are two school of thought on how to approach designing an addition to a historical structure. One: the addition ought to match the existing structure. Two: because of the limitation of existing construction methods, it is not possible to replicate historical construction; it is preferable to compliment an existing building rather than build a close mis-match. In this design, we started with the second school of thought.
To create a building that reads as a void, the addition to the existing building was conceived as a strong, quiet and serene presence that would not impede the symmetry or classical temperance of the existing building. The building was set back to create a small urban plaza out in front for the community to gather, respecting the long history of users congregating on the steps of the Temple. Next, the building facade was angled to emphasize the punctuation in the street edge. The angle facade was articulated as a window wall to reflect a series of spectra from the surrounding classical facades. We used modern technology of a curtain wall and the play of light to reproduce the classical ambiance on the contemporary structure.