Grand Award: Rise and Shine

An auto repair shop is transformed into an architect's office, complete with a surprise design element: a sculptural undulating wood slat ceiling.

Before the remodel.

Architect Rob Paulus and his team transformed this old auto-repair building into offices for Rob Paulus Architects. They created two separate 2,000-square-foot suites one for the 15-member architecture firm and a similar suite for a tenant.

The most striking feature inside the architecture office is an undulating ceiling made of pieces of 1/4-inch thick plywood. Paulus says that his violin served as inspiration for the ceiling. The curved structure increases the surface area, which makes the space feel bigger.

Contractor Ted Kline and his crew stripped the original structure to the steel frame, then wrapped it with a thermal barrier and installed 7 inches of expanded polystyrene. The exterior is made of an aluminum skin that floats free from the base to allow for air circulation.

The designers kept the size of the original garage bay openings but replaced them with fixed windows and tall doors.

The designers found uses for the construction debris from the project in the landscape and the buildings exterior: the roll-up garage doors became fencing, broken concrete pieces were used for paving walkways, and steel beams were used to create steps.

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