The Brunson Building

Columbus, Ohio
Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design

A Chicago-style turn-of-the-century office building is transformed into 22 luxury condos with a modern flare.

In addition to the demands of renovating a large-scale historic structure on a tight urban site, the challenges to create The Brunson Building Lofts were complex. The owner required an expansion to the original 12-story former office tower to provide additional floor area for the residential units. How do you marry historical architecture with a modern expansion and create aesthetic, structural, and functional harmony?

The Brunson Building
Photo © Brad Feinknopf of Feinknopf Photography

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Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design’s expertise in leveraging the building codes for existing structures delivered a safe, efficient and cost effective renovation to the owner. The firm's philosophy regarding historic redevelopment led them to create a relationship between the existing and new towers based upon aesthetic ideas of composition and scale rather than the imitation of historic styles.

The modern character of the addition creates a bold contrast to the traditional masonry details of its host, while the alignment of facade elements in both towers establishes a subtle yet precise continuity between old and new. This compositional relationship between the two structures is a result of the alignment of the horizontal opaque glass panels of the addition with the bands of brick and stone that compose the historic façade.

The 12-story glass and steel addition creates two residential units per floor of 1,500 to 1,900 square feet each. The addition respects the original building, not by copying its well–weathered brink and stone, nor attempting to mimic the style of another age, but by contrasting it with a conservative restrained and sophisticated modern façade. The suspended open terraces of the addition cantilever beyond the building’s edge, producing an impressive 180-degree urban experience above the bustling High Street, downtown Columbus’ main artery.

The $13 million renovation and addition to the Brunson Building has transformed a nearly abandoned historic building into a new residential tower in an area of downtown Columbus that is experiencing significant gentrification. The original storefronts remain and have been expanded to include an art gallery and design firm. The new tower addition creates a successful financial pro forma for the project, an architectural identity for the building’s new use and an important urban infill of the downtown neighborhood gap.

Formal name of project: The Brunson Building

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Gross square footage: 62,772 sq.ft.

Completion Date: Spring 2006

Total construction cost: $13,000,000 million

Long & Wilcox LLC  (

Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design
153 E. Main St. Suite 300,
Columbus, OH  43215
fax: 614.228.7552


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