Co-op Connections Building

ClientCommunity Food Co-op
LocationBellingham, WA
AwardsCitation Award, AIA Northwest Washington, 2016
HighlightsCommunity Project, Bakery, Kitchen, Gathering, Offices, Retail, Sustainable, Pedestrian- and Bicycle-accessible, Downtown, Revitalization of Existing Structure, Seismic Reinforcement

The question: how to grow without leaving a downtown location that’s already maxed out? That was the challenge for the Community Food Co-op, whose commitment to economic resiliency includes making both grocery and gathering spaces available within walking or biking distance for downtown residents.

The answer: think campus—maintain accessibility by making the building across the street work for the Co-op. While the old automotive structure didn’t follow the “what makes a good downtown building” recipe, RMC’s solid-void design approach mitigates its flaws (blank walls, aloof presence) and celebrates its best features (warehouse form, elemental materials) with a welcoming new presence that now meets the street. The project includes a bakery kitchen, bakery retail space, classroom/community room, and office space. The new Connections Building is a people place that supports the Co-op’s sustainability and program goals, while contributing to an increasingly vital corridor at downtown’s edge.

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