Established in 1903, Calfee is one of Cleveland’s oldest law firms. At the time of project inception the firm was in the process of reorganizing and determined that their current offices, more than 20 years old, were ineffective for today’s modern law practices and in need of a technology overhaul. After looking at several leasing alternatives, including build-to-suit opportunities, the firm committed to relocate to the historic Rockwell Building, comprised of 115,000 SF. Calfee was presented with the opportunity to not only reclaim this beautiful building but to once again make the corner of East Sixth and Rockwell a forward-looking place of business.
The primary challenge was to integrate the technology associated with a 21st century law firm into the historic structure. The pursuit of tax credits further challenged the design team by requiring the complete historic restoration of the first two floors, limiting the introduction of new walls and requiring full restoration of the ornamental plaster ceilings.
The design solution embraced the historic guidelines while integrating modern building and technology systems. The transparency of new design elements creates a visually stunning interior. The old and the new, mutually contributing to the success of the design, serves as a metaphor for the firm’s future. Modern design elements introduced to the lobby include a 34 foot long water feature, a glass connecting stair and a dynamic, fluid custom reception desk. All new partitions on the first and second floor are glass; their transparency both supporting and comfortably integrated with the historic lobby elements such as stone columns and walls.
Overall, the seven story Calfee Building contains lawyer offices, conference rooms, lobby atrium, a cafe, market, lounge, fitness/yoga studio, rooftop terrace, collaborative spaces and has earned LEED-CI v2009 Gold Certification.