Most industrial buildings were constructed either for factory uses or heavy loading as warehouses. Since these uses no longer represent the best use for owners, the zoning resolution recognizes the support required to continue these uses and allows owners to expand existing non-complying buildings, but only up to 50% of their existing floor area, regardless of the floor area permitted by the underlying zoning district. Many buildings are now taking advantage of these provisions to allow for a higher return and increase the lower rental value.
Adding floors to these types of buildings can be tricky because of the present day building code requirement for compliance with seismic design. The connection between old and new and the enhancement of the existing structure is typically mandated by these additions. A rigid core running from old to new and diagonal interior bracing allow both structures to act as one and resist wind forces and other load factors.
The look of a new five story mass topping the existing building is controlled by the zoning resolution’s sky exposure plane and by aesthetic considerations relating to that much bulk over an existing structure. By extending the addition along the side of the existing building as well as the top, the two begin to blend. With fenestration that matches the existing buildings openings, the addition appears to be a completion rather that an addition. Clean lines with exterior balconies and trim further unite the two structures and the signage from the street level reminds passerby’s where they are in a big way.