JZA+D Transforms Tannery Building into Cutting-Edge Workplace

Business owners looking to set up shop have lots of options these days, and not just in commercial office parks: even old industrial buildings are now fair game.

Illustrating the point, Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D) recently completed the U.S. headquarters for life sciences-learning firm Red Nucleus, carved out of the interior of a former tannery building in Yardley, Pennsylvania, that dates back to 1902.

The building once used for treating leather now houses an innovative modern workplace.

JZA+D demolished the existing interior, exposing structural timbers and building mechanicals, which the firm incorporated into the new interior design to make the building’s history a part of the character of the new offices. Contemporary furnishings and casework mingle with original masonry walls and timber ceilings, while carpet tiles and splashes of bright red are illuminated by wall-length suspended lighting fixtures and plentiful natural daylight.

To accommodate gatherings of the whole company, JZA+D inserted a large-scale stadium bleacher area, with colorful cushions for informal seating. The space-saving bleacher-stair feature creates a dynamic spot for relaxing and breakout sessions, and also serves as a unique stairway to the mezzanine lounge/recreation room and workspaces, while taking advantage of the space underneath for use as a kitchenette.

To make room for this feature, the architects removed part of the second floor that had been added to the building previously, restoring the space to its original, airy double-height condition. This opened up the space to benefit from its original, full-height windows, too.

The spacious 68,000-square-foot offices include a striking conference room, private offices, and an expansive open plan.

“The new offices for Red Nucleus provided us with an opportunity to make bold choices within an adaptive reuse project,” says founding principal Josh Zinder. “Reimagining The Tannery as a high-performing workplace, we strove to find ways to combine modern and historic sensibilities.”