Restoring the old Chrysler building gave architect Brian Fitzsimmons a chance to preserve the old while experimenting with the novel.
The former Chrysler shop, 309 NW 13, now is home to an office suite spanning more than 21,000 square feet. Monterey Energy Group owns the building and leases to various tenants, including Teach for America and Oklahoma Public Schools Resource Center.
Blue letters spelling out Monterey sit atop the gray brick building, replacing a sign with the building’s old name.
Various garage doors serve as a reminder of the building’s past, as well as its proximity to Automobile Alley. One feature stands out inside the industrially designed space: a row of gray and white stacked shipping containers.
“There’s nothing new about this, but it’s exciting,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s become almost a novel thing.”
The 8-by-20 foot structures feature glass walls at the ends to reveal the interiors, which are dry walled and painted. There are seven containers on the ground, and six are stacked on top of those. Stairs lead to a catwalk that connects the top containers.
Multiple open office spaces surround the containers.
The size of the property provided a unique opportunity for open-air design.
“You just don’t have spaces like this anymore,” Fitzsimmons said. “You couldn’t build this cost-effectively nowadays.”
He said he was lucky Monterey’s tenants had the same idea. They preserved the open design with their leased areas.
A 35-foot high skylight fills the space with natural light. When the project started, neither the owners nor Fitzsimmons knew the skylight existed.
Before Monterey bought the property, it was a warehouse. The owners hung a drop ceiling, concealing the skylight, steel work, and other relics from the shop days.
The building’s original garage door, which was hidden above the ceiling, was restored, and two similar ones were added.
The ceilings also concealed original air hose devices. They now hang from the ceiling over desks, concealing electrical and internet wiring.
Hanging lights were strewn about randomly under the drop ceiling. They were collected and used to create a modern chandelier in Monterey’s boardroom, which originally was a paint room that had no electrical service to avoid risk of explosions.
The company’s interior designer, Cindy Curley, decided to maintain the industrial feel, adding many chrome finished pieces to the area, including hanging lamps made from antique ship lanterns.
In addition to the drop ceiling, the warehouse owners added brick walls around the outside of the building, hiding the original windows, which covered much of the exterior walls.
Fitzsimmons replaced these windows, installing as many as city code would allow.