Project Feature: 401 Foster

Project Description: Durham, North Carolina Project Size: 5,500 SF 
Durham is known for an industrial urban fabric borne out of its textile and tobacco origins. Amidst rapid growth in the Triangle, Durham’s ethos has been to retain and repurpose the fabric of its industrial past for an emerging creative community. The transformation of 401 Foster draws upon this mission by repurposing a 1930’s-era auto shop into EVOKE studio. Selective demolition removed subdividing partitions to create a centralized open space. This open space forms the communal hub of the studio around which collaborative and supporting program elements are organized. In addition, the connected studio space celebrates the building’s bowstring steel trusses, exposed wood ceilings, and concrete floors. 

Name at least one unique challenge associated with this project? 
One challenge was the low ceilings in the meeting areas, a second was staying in budget. To complement, rather than compete with, the beautiful rawness of these elements, new interventions and lighting are placed in the Hub space which reflects and embraces the hands-on nature of the building’s history.

What factors contributed to the success of this project? 
Collaboration with architect and lighting representative was a big part of the success of this project. Up-light color changing LED brings texture of wood ceiling to warmth nature and historical perspective of the space. Direct-indirect pendant lights are used in the open space. A beautiful transition from pendant to recessed vertical mounting on the wall is installed at a particular location. Each insertion is strategically placed and reflects the studio’s material and fabrication explorations which combine both computer aided technology and traditional craftsmanship techniques. Arrival, gallery and conference areas take advantage of the now-glazed garage door openings along the street allowing for community engagement of the studio’s design process to reinforce and cultivate Durham’s vibrancy for innovation. Lighting in these spaces is designed to reduce glare and contrast. An art gallery is supplemented with track lighting to finesse gallery pieces and work drawings crafted in the studio. 

Design Team:
Lighting Design:  Ervin Kulenica, Director Of Engineering, Principal at O’Brien Atkins Associates, PA
Collaboration with Billy Askey, Co-Founder and Design Principal at EVOKE Studio Architecture, and Dawn Tafel, Specification Sales Engineer at Affiliated Lighting + Controls
All photographs © Mark Herboth Photography LLC unless otherwise indicated.

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