Packard Garage

A long neglected downtown Ventura landmark, The Packard Garage, a 1925 auto showroom, has been repurposed as the headquarters for a prominent internet company. Originally built to serve a dominant 20th century technology, the automobile, The Packard Garage now supports the information age.

A board formed concrete warehouse partially buried into its sloping urban site, the original structure was blessed with a high volume interior formed by curving timber bow trusses, crowned by a series of industrial skylights. The two exposed facades were wrapped in a Spanish Colonial Revival design, culminating in a decorative, ramped, auto entry.

The ornate façade was restored to its original configuration with new plaster cladding, energy efficient wood windows and historically correct colors. Where once stately sedans rolled in, a new accessible entry was inserted in the form of a framed glass void contrasting with the mass of the historic shell and connecting the interior to the street.

The impressive wood roof structure becomes the dominant interior element. An open office plan promotes informal interaction among employees. Natural light from the restored skylights bathes the space, connecting it to the larger world outside beyond the computer screen. Enclosed offices and conference rooms are relegated to the perimeter and treated as distinct, smaller, volumes within the larger whole. Sliding glass doors that mimic the entrance provide transparency and openness throughout.

Spacious lounges for the techie inhabitants include a kitchen, café and recreation areas. Showers in the restrooms allow those who bike to work, or want to take a surf break during the day, to have a convenient place to wash up. The interior palette is a study in blue and gray: blue suggesting the nearby ocean, a vital part of the local sense of place and the gray of the original concrete. Where ever possible the original materials are left exposed and juxtaposed against the modern finishes and furnishings.

Practical considerations include energy efficient LED lighting, a state of the art communications infrastructure, industrial scale ceiling fans for cooling, ergonomic furnishings and energy efficiency upgrades.