Minneapolis office building by Salmela Architect has chequerboard facade

Search results:

Minneapolis office building by Salmela Architect features a chequerboard facade

Salmela Architect has completed an office building for a Minneapolis advertising agency featuring a gridded monochrome facade and a monumental fire escape.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

Called Fast Horse, after its new occupant, the building was formerly an automotive repair shop in an underused area of Minnesota's largest city.

Local firm Salmela Architect added two storeys to the structure, so the building now encompasses 9,000 square feet (836 square metres) of enclosed space and 3,000 square feet (280 square metres) of terrace and balcony spaces.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

Cost-efficient corrugated steel panels were chosen for the exterior cladding. With tones of both black and white, these give the building a chequerboard-like appearance.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

A prominent pair of fire evacuation staircases run up one of the exterior walls, linking up with a set of balconies. The architects envisioned these as more than a purely functional feature.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

The metal structure acts as a shade buffer for the building's southern facade, while providing a variety of spaces where workers can sit outdoors. It also extends up to the rooftop, where there is an outdoor gathering space for the agency's employees.

"What was abundant was the faith the client placed in the idea of frugal innovation," explained the architects.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

Inside, the aim was to create a range of conditions to suit a non-traditional workplace. Decorations were kept to a minimum, and visible steel structure and mechanical equipment give the spaces a utilitarian feel.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

Rather than open-plan floors, the floors are divided up into areas of different sizes, suitable for various activities.

"The entire construct emerged as a series of spaces with varying sizes and degrees of visual and acoustic privacy," said the architects, describing their goals as being "freedom, creativity, flexibility but also functionality".

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

"Each person decides for themselves the most suitable environment for the work that they are trying to accomplish on that particular day," they added.

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects

Salmela has completed several other projects in the Midwestern state of Minnesota. These include a country home that draws cue from local agricultural buildings and a remote cabin that features a stark white sauna overlooking Lake Superior.


Project credits:

Principal architect: David Salmela
Project architect: Malini Srivastava
Project team: Darin Duch, Stephanie Getty and David Getty
General contractor: Watson Forsberg
Structural engineer: Meyer Borgman Johnson
MEFP engineer: EDI Limited
Civil engineer: Pierce Pine & Associates

More images and plans

Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Site plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Ground floor plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Mezzanine floor plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
First floor plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Second floor plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Third floor plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Roof plan
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Section one
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Section two
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Section three
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Section four
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects
Fast Horse by Salmela Architects