22 April 2011


Last night I attended the monthly AIA St. Louis meeting (that’s the American Institute of Architects, for all of you non-architecty folk), which was held at the “house” of two local architects.  I hesitate to call it a house because it is a 13,000sf building that originally served as a switching station for Southwestern Bell Telephone.  The owners, Tom, Sue, and their dog Lucy, lovingly refer to it as their “Big Ass Building” (B.A.B), and have been documenting their adventures in converting it into a livable space on their blog.

Photos from BAB

The meeting started with tours of the building, followed by a presentation given by Tom and Sue together.  It was interesting to see their work thus far: they have converted part of the first floor into a guest apartment that they will live in as they turn the 6500sf second floor into their house...

Photos from BAB

and to learn about their future plans for the building: the rest of the first floor will be used as workshops, studios, and a 4-car garage, and they also plan to build a roof garden.  I thought it was fascinating to hear about how they got to this point.  Not many people actively seek out large buildings to create live-work space for themselves.  I left the meeting wondering what I would do with all that space.  Essentially they have a 13,000sf blank slate!

In my fantasy, I would use half of the second floor as my “house,” and perhaps turn the other half into a movie theater, rec room, and/or gym.  The first floor could be used as an animal shelter.

In reality, I would probably tire of all the barking, so I’d be more likely to use the first floor as an architecture office and fabrication studio.  My dream is to own digital fabrication equipment, like a lasercutter, cnc milling machine, and 3D printer.  I know, I’m such a nerd!

What would you do if you had a B.A.B of your very own?

1 comment:

  1. Ah - now you have me looking to see if there are huge cool buildings for sale in Boston!! Of course, since I'm not an architect I'd have to get you to help me design it... I think I'd turn the first floor into a gallary, with some sort of boutique and a coffee shop - a place where people can just stop by or sit for hours! (Want to help me design? Of course, then you'd have to move back to Boston......)


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