Resources for Human Development is a large non-profit organization, which administers numerous social service programs from a network of sites spread throughout ten states. Their main office has retained Stokes Architecture to plan a 20,000 sq ft expansion, doubling the size of the existing RHD office. Located in a large industrial building that once housed the Philco radio factory, the original office was built with an impressive sawtooth roof. The expansion exposes the roof’s existing skylights, and arranges offices in an open plan as a series of neighborhoods, with a central street connecting the various departments. Space is organized around a cafe and an indoor park, containing informal seating, facilitating interaction among the staff. Numerous meeting rooms and private spaces are provided as free standing objects, most of which are glazed with polycarbonate.
Located at the end of the city’s primary east/west avenue, and bisecting the town’s primary beach parking location, Stokes Architecture aimed to create a new focal point for the town. The nine foot stainless steel letters of the sign are visible to all motorists entering the city via Rio Grande Ave., and the colorful use of stamped concrete and brick paving as well as the “beach ball” bollards invite pedestrians in a friendly, playful way to enter the boardwalk. The space also acts as a public transit stop, as visitors can take the vintage 1950’s tram car up and down the boardwalk. These planning strategies have paid off, as the plaza has become a busy gathering place, a great photo opportunity, and a contemporary icon for the town.
LOCATION: Wildwood, NJ.
COMPLETED: summer 2007
The Seamen’s Church Institute is located in an existing warehouse building located just north of Old City Philadelphia. The new chapel, designed by Stokes Architecture serves as both a worship space for the merchant marines, and a performance space for the community. The plan of the chapel takes its inspiration from the traditional Greek cross plan. This arrangement allows the podium to be thrust out into the congregation, allowing a greater degree of contact between the celebrant and the worshipers. Chairs are at a 45degree angle, allowing worshipers to see each other, and to get closer to the altar. The formal design of the worship space takes inspiration from the ships the seamen are familiar with. Behind the altar a large image of a ship’s side, in four sections, forms a cross. The framing for the wood slats is inspired by the curved wood ribs of a ship, and the wood ceiling is shaped like the hold of a wooden ship, and extends down the walls to frosted glass, creating a connection between the secular and sacred spaces.
Honeygrow, the Philly-based fast casual food concept, wanted a headquarters and catering kitchen for their fast-growing company, and came to Stokes for the design. Located in a formerly abandoned, non-descript warehouse in Fishtown, the space is a mix of industrial and modern elements, playing up the factory setting. The existing factory sash windows were refurbished, and reused as glass partitions for the new executive offices. Skylights were added, with polycarbonate light funnels piping natural light into these offices, while simultaneously diffusing it into the open air desk area.
The layout, a mix of traditional and modern office design, incorporates many elements of interest into work areas to create a friendlier and more open work environment. The open desk corral (with desks built by Delaware’s Challenge Program) is dotted with planters and a garden. The added mezzanine houses a quiet library, and lounge and leisure areas are strategically placed throughout the warehouse to allow for socializing.
For the Fern Road Bandstand, Stokes created a simple meeting place and a recognizable landmark. The simple concrete pavilion, with large “CREST” signage, gives the quieter Wildwood Crest its own identity separate from Wildwood, and its own photo-op location.