Former Atlantic Mills building in Providence converted into new office space

NECESSARY STEPS: On the building’s exterior, new stairs and a new entrance leading into the building were constructed in an alley in between the triangular building and the rotunda that was once fenced off. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
NECESSARY STEPS: On the building’s exterior, new stairs and a new entrance leading into the building were constructed in an alley in between the triangular building and the rotunda that was once fenced off. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Building owner: Eric Army
Building tenants: Studio MEJA Architects, Gravelly Hill Design Group, Aura’s Chocolate Bar

PLANNING: From left, Jay Futrell, project architect, and Eric Army, architect, have a conversation while reviewing plans for a project at Studio MEJA’s rotunda office. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
PLANNING: From left, Jay Futrell, project architect, and Eric Army, architect, have a conversation while reviewing plans for a project at Studio MEJA’s rotunda office. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Architect and interior designer: Studio MEJA Architects
Developer/general contractor: Wide Plank LLC

BEFORE: COURTESY STUDIO MEJA ARCHITECTS
BEFORE: COURTESY STUDIO MEJA ARCHITECTS

Cost: $300,000

MAKING THE ROUNDS: The 50-foot diameter rotunda, which previously held flammable gas, was converted into Studio MEJA Architects’ new office space, complete with work stations, coffee table and couch area, and layout tables. All of the firm’s collaborative work is done in this space. \ PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO

Use: The former Atlantic Mills Gasometer and Storehouse building, built between 1852 and 1864 complete with a gasometer – a large circular container that once held gas for the Providence Gas Co. – was recently renovated by Studio MEJA Architects and Wide Plank LLC to convert the facility into new office space for the Providence-based architectural and design firm. The rotunda, where the Studio MEJA office is located, has a high ceiling with a dome-like roof with trusses going across the approximately 50-foot span. All the collaborative work and layout tables are inside the rotunda. To combat the poor acoustics created by the hard surfaces inside the building, Studio MEJA installed acoustic panels in the space’s center with linear LED lighting in between, helping define the space’s collaborative zone. Additionally, there is one conference room, which has a set of two 6-by-10-foot polycarbonate sliders, with one wall being entirely translucent. In the building’s “triangular” section, where Aura’s Chocolate Bar is located, Studio MEJA painted the existing mossy pine with a gray color and used a sealer on the concrete floor in lieu of vinyl tiles. The wainscoting on the walls was covered with a clear acrylic, because pervious surfaces can’t be within a food-service safe space, yet retained the area’s original look. A new wide-planked floor, with lumber from a mill in Hopkinton, was installed on the upper floor of the building’s triangle section.

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BEFORE: COURTESY STUDIO MEJA ARCHITECTS
BEFORE: COURTESY STUDIO MEJA ARCHITECTS
GIVING PLANKS: New wide-plank floors were installed on the upper floor of the former Atlantic Mills Gasometer and Storehouse building’s triangular section, along with installing new walls and interior windows. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
GIVING PLANKS: New wide-plank floors were installed on the upper floor of the former Atlantic Mills Gasometer and Storehouse building’s triangular section, along with installing new walls and interior windows. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO