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61 Commercial Street

A happy marriage of the new and the old

Rochester, New York

Originally a power house for the Rochester Railway Company, 61 Commercial Street had a historic façade that had been covered and modernized. This first of its kind building had a lot of potential, and with the help of state and city preservation agencies, we set out to redesign it.

The large, vertical arched openings, once used as access when the structure was a trolley car storage space, had been removed and replaced with opaque fill. We brought them back to life. Each one became a main building entrance, replicating the historic appeal.

But we didn’t keep it all in the past. With modern technology, we achieved a few sustainable goals too. We reactivated window openings and inserted light tubes into the roof, allowing for effective daylighting. The walls are insulated in strategically chosen locations to mitigate heat loss while preserving the aesthetically pleasing exposed masonry.

With other upgrades like advanced lighting controls and a displaced ventilation system in the high bay area, we achieved a LEED Silver rating and won the BOMA of Greater Rochester Award for Renovated Buildings. And it looks pretty cool, too. 

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