2007 was a big year for Education in the Gardner/Fox portfolio. We completed 3 very different, yet equally important, projects in the community. This week we decided to showcase all three!

El Centro Comunal Borincano Daycare is a child care facility that helps low-income families in the Camden area by providing childcare, health services, and nutrition counseling. Gardner/Fox built their brand new, state-of-the-art, Martin Luther King Boulevard facility in 2007. The project included complete site development and the construction of a three-story, 16,900 square-foot preschool. The new facility included a commercial kitchen, support offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, and a hydraulic elevator. This location was double the size of their original and gave El Centro the space to help 165 new children in the area.

There is quite an age gap between El Centro and the next project of 2007, The Lang Center at Swarthmore College. The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility helps to prepare the students at Swarthmore for public service and advocacy, as well as serves as a meeting space for campus groups. Gardner/Fox provided the center with structural alterations and two new entrance vestibules. Other construction details included all new finishes installed throughout the center, new fire safety systems, new water and sanitary services, and an updated HVAC system for a more comfortable learning atmosphere.

The education trifecta of 2007 is complete with Barnwell Library. During this renovation, Gardner/Fox completed the restoration of the historic high school library at Central High in Philadelphia. The work included the restoration of the historic ceiling and light fixtures, as well as the construction of all new mezzanines, a new technology center, classrooms, and an alumni archival room. The finish details required extensive cherry millwork, to match the original millwork in the space. The most important piece of this renovation was the installation of new 40,000-volume bookshelves, that’s a lot of reading.

In 2006 Gardner/Fox was tasked with a very unusual project involving cutting an existing 35,000 square foot, auto dealership building in half to create 2 independent buildings.  The reason for the separation was to provide two buildings with completely different identities expressed in radically different facades.  The end result was 2 new auto dealerships with 2 new facades, located directly on one of the busiest interstate interchanges in the region; the Willow Grove exit on I-276.

Cutting a building in half is a bit more complicated than cutting a 2 by 4 wood stud in half.  The building structures on both sides of the new 10 foot separation needed to be re-supported with new structure and new exterior walls.  The building mechanical, electrical and sprinkler systems also needed separated with new services to each.

The more straight forward aspect of this multi-phase project was the gut renovation of the two buildings to create to create Audi of Willow Grove and Infiniti of Willow Grove.  Both projects involved installing glass and decorative metal wall cladding systems on the exterior and new customer interface spaces on the interior.  Behind the scenes, the repair and service areas in both buildings were renovated with new lighting, flooring and tech stations designed to the latest efficiency standards. Both dealerships are still wheeling and dealing (pun intended) today! Check them out if you are in the area!

2005 was the year of restaurant construction for Gardner/Fox! We worked on Shula’s in Philadelphia, Shula’s 347 in Conshohocken, America Bar & Grill, and Ruby’s Diner in Glen Mills. While each project had it’s own design, the main kitchen and food service components remained the same.

At Shula’s in Philadelphia Gardner/Fox gutted the interior of a 5,300 square foot space to create a new luxurious restaurant with fine cherry paneling, crown molding, and a full-service granite top bar. At Schula’s 347, we renovated a 5,600 square foot hotel restaurant in the Conshohocken Marriot Hotel. The work included full interior demolition of the existing space, construction a new private dining room in the facilities old atrium.

Gardner/Fox built American Bar & Grill in Glen Mills from the ground up, with its rich contemporary interior finishes of wood, granite and stone. Finally, the most eclectic project of all, Ruby’s Diner. Gardner/Fox completed the new construction of the 4,800 square foot retro style diner. The 1950’s theme includes a suspended train track and an EIFS exterior finish.

In 2004 Gardner/Fox completed the multi-phase renovation of One Bala. The office building in Bala Cynwyd needed approximately 65% or 130,000 square-feet of space renovated and relocated to accommodate their tenets. The work included the construction of a new open floor plan offices, as well as executive offices. The new offices were separated by full height mahogany trimmed glass walls, and mahogany doors. The renovation also included the installation of built-in fish tanks, washrooms, board rooms, and executive lounges.

The fine details of the renovation include all new granite reception desk, new floor and wall finishes, new glass tile walls, a new sprinkler system, duct-work, and electrical distribution system.

In 2003 we had the opportunity to building a 3 story medical building right in our own backyard, literally. Right over the fence behind the Gardner/Fox office sat the original The Birth Center. It opened in a 100 year old structure in 1978 and has provided thousands of women with exceptional healthcare services, regardless of age or income. In a rapidly changing medical world, it was no wonder that the original 1978 facility was in dire need of replacement. Gardner/Fox worked closely with the Birth Center architects and owners to help design and build an attractive, cost effective facility for their unique needs.

Instead of closing down the original center to complete renovations, the Birth Center chose to build an entirely new facility on the same property, directly next door. This allowed the Birthing Center to remain open and operational during construction. The new 9,700 square foot facility stands at 3 stories and is complete with birthing rooms, consultation rooms, a kitchen, reception area, and offices. Once the new facility had opened its doors, the old facility was demolished, removed, and the space was paved to create their new parking lot. The Birthing Center has since changed its name to LifeCycle WomenCare, but is still open and providing exemplary care to this day. If you’re ever in the area (or at our office), check them out!

The Viking Range Corporation is known for their state-of-of-the-art kitchen appliances, but in 2002 they decided to expand their reach into the teaching world! Viking leased a 9,000 square foot facility in Bryn Mawr, PA, with intentions of opening their first hands on cooking school. Before they could begin classes, the facility needed to be outfitted with a theater, multiple kitchens, new appliances, and the latest and greatest in cooking gadgetry.

The major portion of the renovation was the construction of three custom kitchens, each with their own purpose. The first kitchen was built as a presentation kitchen, where the school hosted professional chefs. This kitchen included elevated theater seating, a stage and simulcast video of  the work surfaces where the cooking was occurring.

The second kitchen was a participation kitchen, where teachers worked hands on with students. This kitchen required space planning to assure plenty of elbow room for the students to move. The third and final kitchen was built for staff and employee use.  Each kitchen, classified as commercial kitchens,  required hoods protected with fire suppression, extensive welded metal exhaust duct work, and extensive ventilation systems.

Although this branch of Viking Culinary School has closed its doors, you can still check them out online here.

In 2001 Gardner/Fox completed a gut renovation of a 30 year old 50,000 office building to create the new corporate headquarters for Brokerage Concepts International, in King of Prussia. The building was originally designed and built for the Hewlett Packard Company and was very dated in appearance inside and out.

The goal of the project was to create an entirely new building that expressed the professionalism that Brokerage Concepts wanted to convey to their customers, as such, all of the interior and exterior finishes used during the renovation were of the highest quality. Some of the features in the building included a data center, telescoping main corridor featuring interesting art, a two story glass entry lobby, an employee fitness center, several board rooms, open offices and interesting seating areas and alcoves. The renovated building was designed to accommodate three times more employees than the original facility. All of the electrical, mechanical, telecommunication systems and life safety systems were replaced with new, state of the art equipment.

As part of the exterior re-cladding of the building approximately half of the existing exterior walls were removed to broadcast natural light into the building interior.  The increased occupancy required the parking areas to be re-planned, expanded, and paved to include an additional 230 extra spots.

In 2000, The Wellness Community, a non-profit group dedicated to helping cancer patients and their families, decided that they wanted to make the historic Ridgeland Mansion their new home. The problem was that the accompanying barn on the property was in structural disarray and the mansion itself was not structured as an office/meeting facility. Luckily, Gardner/Fox was able to help The Wellness Community create a perfect space to fit their needs.

The first portion of the renovation was to the barn. Having to repair the foundation and basic structure of the barn meant that most of the exterior decorative elements and interior were stripped away. In order to maintain the historical integrity of the space, Gardner/Fox replicated the original exterior finishes over the new structurally sound facility. Inside the barn a new multi-purpose room, conference room, catering kitchen, bathroom, and second-floor apartment were created.

The exterior renovations to the mansion itself included the installation of a new asphalt shingle roof and the conversion of the rear porch into a sunroom/activity area. Inside, we renovated and updated the bathrooms, and well as completed the installation of a ducted split system central air conditioning system. The final portion of the renovation included the paving of a new parking lot, installing exterior lighting, and putting in an all new septic system.

Although The Wellness Community no longer occupies Ridgeland Mansion, you can still visit! The mansion and barn are now open to visitors, so stop by and have a look!

This month Gardner/Fox broke ground on it’s newest dealership renovation projects, Porsche of Conshohocken.

Previously, the dealership was occupied by both Audi and Porsche, but with the new Audi of Wynnewood opening, the owner decided to transition the dealership exclusively to Porsche.

During the renovation, we will be transforming the Audi portion of the dealership, into a pre-owned Porsche facility. This includes upgrading finishes, renovating service bays, and converting what used to be an exterior drive-through area into an enclosed vehicle service drop-off location. The exterior renovation will consist of a whole new façade, made of a single piece of curved steel! We’ll have more updates to come, so check back soon!

Gardner/Fox has worked with many different luxury car brands over the years, such as Audi, Porsche, Lincoln, Maserati, etc. We had to get our start somewhere, and that start was with Don Rosen Porsche Audi of Conshohocken, in 1999.

The construction to the Conshohocken dealership consisted of an all-new 8,900 square-foot Audi exclusive addition that included a showroom, sales, accessory boutique, and service writer area. It featured a twelve-foot high ceiling, marble and granite floors, and custom casework.  In the service area, the addition provided the dealership with the space to build five new state-of-the-art (for the time) services bays, two wash bays, and a new parts area.

Coincidentally, the dealership is under construction now, but still open for business! Stop by and take a test drive!