The staff of LPA Inc. architectural firm are getting a change of scenery this morning, after moving into new offices in downtown Sacramento over the weekend. For 15 years, they had worked in suburban Roseville.
“Moving to Sacramento gets us better connected with the community,” said LPA principal Kevin Sullivan. “I feel really strongly that we want to be in the heart of the city with all the excitement, everything that’s going on with the Kings arena and the railyards project.”
It was Sullivan who first spotted the space that LPA will occupy in a 1920s-era building at 431 I St. It sits right next to Amtrak’s Sacramento Valley Station, a terminal that Sullivan frequently used for weekly visits to LPA’s San Jose office.
“The first time I came, I thought, ‘What a neat part of town. I love this train station, and look at that building over there,’” Sullivan said. “I saw the Starbucks in the corner and a ‘For Lease’ sign. I thought, ‘What a great place to have an office.’”
When he and other principals began looking last year for a new office in Sacramento, Sullivan recalled the space and suggested that it be one of those considered. When the firm settled upon the space, Sullivan and his wife decided to lease out their Meadow Vista home and rent an apartment near Raley Field in West Sacramento.
“We have a view of the Sacramento skyline,” he said, “and I can walk to work.”
LPA also has leased about 25 spaces for employees in the parking garage near Old Sacramento. Clients can park in the lot at the train station, Sullivan said, and LPA will pay for their parking.
The firm will occupy roughly 4,100 square feet in its new home, Sullivan said, and because of the Irvine-based firm’s commitment to integrated, sustainable design, the firm’s staff decided to take the building back to its roots.
“We wanted the building itself to express itself and not carve it up with a lot of walls,” he said. “We basically gutted it back to its bare bones. ... The lighter you touch a building, the more environmentally friendly it is.”
One column in the space had graffiti on it, and LPA’s designer opted to leave it just as it was. They added ceiling fans throughout the space to generate enough air quality and coolness to avoid heavy use of the heating-ventilation system. Walls have been painted gray, except where the building’s original brickwork is exposed.
LPA interior designer Winston Bao describes the gray walls and brick as a neutral canvas that really allows the red flooring, the white furniture and the people to stand out. That furniture and flooring is made from 90 percent recycled materials, he and Sullivan point out, and the space is 31 percent more efficient than required by California’s Title 24 building standards.
“Those glass blades leverage light output to have a better beam spread,” Bao said, “so we can buy fewer light fixtures but have better coverage. And, visually, it’s interesting. It unclutters the ceiling.”
They have also left room for a collaborative space with an 80-inch video screen that can be used for PowerPoint presentations or for interoffice videoconferencing with the 225 employees who work at LPA’s other offices. The only enclosed spaces are a conference room with frosted glass windows, a utility room and the bathrooms.
Around the Sacramento region, LPA has designed the headquarters for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency on 12th Street and the Heron School on Banfield Drive in North Natomas. LPA was founded in 1965 by Leason Pomeroy, who along with brothers Jon Pomeroy and Lynn Pomeroy became an architect.
Lynn Pomeroy founded Foothill Design Group in the Sacramento region, and the two firms merged from 1989-99 when Leason Pomeroy retired. Despite the split, both firms have used similar acronyms, with LPA operating out of Roseville and LPAS out of Sacramento. Now both firms will have offices in the capital.