One of Frank Gehry's earliest works, the former Rouse Company Headquarters, is currently undergoing a $25 million renovation that will see it converted into a Whole Foods market and community wellness center. The building, which Gehry dubbed an "elegant warehouse," was designed in 1974 for developer James Rouse, who founded Columbia, Maryland in the 1960s. The developer behind the current renovation is The Howard Hughes Corp, a Dallas based company that now serves as the master developer of Columbia.
Read on for more about the renovation
Though Howard Hughes initially attempted to let the building out to another company for use as a headquarters building, the lack of takers necessitated this adaptive reuse strategy. The architects Cho Benn Holback + Associates have proposed a strategy which retains the building's external appearance as much as possible, but internally they have made a number of changes to the building's structure, including removal of much of the third floor to give a double-height space to the Whole Foods Store.
They have also added new entrances, one on the second level next to the parking lot to give access to the store and a subsidiary entrance giving access to the offices on the uppermost floor. The wellness center will occupy the ground level, utilizing the building's existing main entrance. The building will re-open in stages beginning later this summer.
The Howard Hughes Corp is also in the process of renovating another Gehry building in Columbia, the Columbia Merriweather Post Pavilion. Designed when Gehry was a part of Gehry, Walsh, and O’Malley and opened in 1967, the $19 million renovation is intended to keep the building competitive as a performance space.
Story via the Architect's Newspaper