Columbia Craft Brewery – Revitalizing Vacant Sites

People love microbreweries in this college town and as an architect I enjoy revitalizing vacant sites like the Columbia Craft Brewery Company located in downtown Columbia SC.  Here are a few of the many lessons architects are often reminded of, which we employed with this project:

Lesson #1:  Internalize the client’s wish, and find a creative way to make it happen.

To enhance a feeling of community, Richard wanted to connect the brewery and the tasting room. The building code would not allow it left wide open. My design solution…glass walls that separate the spaces on the side of the bar. This gives people a window into the facility; they can still see what’s going on behind the scenes, and wooden walls elsewhere still ensure an earthy aesthetic.

Lesson #2:  Refurbish or replace as needed, while honoring its heritage.

Pulling all the old metal off and replacing it with new metal revealed a modern-day warehouse look. Coupled with brick on the exterior, the zoning board was pleased with our plan. We made it a little prettier, but it still looks like a warehouse.

Lesson #3:  A challenge is a problem that we solve.

The owner Richard and his boys love dogs. Likewise, they want to welcome dogs to enjoy the space outside the brewery. To realize this idea, we created a grass area that also met code, which required a certain amount of sodded or permeable surfaces. This also helped us meet the storm water runoff requirements. Now, brewery-lovers and dog-lovers alike can sit out there on a blanket or foldout chair!

Lesson #4:  We saw once again the importance of diligence up front.

A small business owner, like Richard, benefits from hiring an architect. In the long run, Richard saved time and money as we guided him through the process of design, zoning and construction. We go in from day one, and make sure the zoning officials are on board. That’s such a crucial step. And we tell our clients the truth – the City doesn’t always say yes!

Lesson #5:  At the end of the day, it’s all about building meaningful relationships with my clients.

That’s what brings fulfillment into my work. Richard and I bonded over his love of brewing and my passion for design.  And, as per his request, I did some research – I toured a few breweries and got a taste of his world!

I hope you enjoyed this short walk through this awesome project.  We welcome any questions or new projects!

View more project pictures of Columbia Craft Brewery in our Portfolio.

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