Raymond Hartshorne Spotlight

Ray_Hartshorne_-_sized.jpgYou can be forgiven for walking by the office of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) without noticing it. From the outside, this one-story brick storehouse looks like nearly every other vintage warehouse in Fulton Market, Chicago’s neighborhood of recently-gritty meat packing warehouses just west of downtown. It isn’t until you’re buzzed in by the receptionist behind glass that your expectations change. The interior expands into an open workspace saturated with natural light from a raised ceiling that was invisible from the outside.

Ray Hartshorne started his firm in the late 1980’s with partner Jim Plunkard. Early on, the two classically trained architects began working on small renovation projects. They quickly discovered that the adaptive reuse of historic structures can present a greater creative challenge than designing a building from scratch. “To succeed, you need to be able to recognize the spirit and intent of the original design and then build on that.”

In 1997, they purchased an empty warehouse on Carpenter Street, in the heart of an active, yet slowing, food packing district called Fulton Market. As architects well-versed in how to reinvent old buildings for new uses, it was the perfect fit.

After doing research for the design of MDA City Apartments, the first boutique apartment building in Chicago, Ray saw a trend and in 2000 formed an interior design group to complement his architecture practice. With an in-house interiors studio, the firm focused on placemaking and branding techniques to address the growth of millennial tastes and amenity-driven spaces. “I saw the relationship between vintage buildings, amenitizing, and the digital boom. There’s a real hunger now for a place to work that feels authentic.”

In 2011, working with Sterling Bay, Ray and his team designed the most pivotal project in Fulton Market’s transformation: 1KFulton, the West Loop home of Google. Tech companies were quick to see the neighborhood’s appeal as a unique place that catered to their desires more comprehensively than anywhere else in the city.

This year HPA celebrates 30 years of practice. A CSI member for --- years, Ray invites all HPA architects to attend CSI certification courses. “Having a staff that balances design with technical skill is important. CSI offers a great way to enhance our firm’s technical training.”

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