3 years of renovation in 40 minutes. Just a slideshow.

My favorite write up by Architect Bob Frankeberger of Arizona State Historic Preservation Office:


This is the latest achievement, and arguably the best of this designer-developer’s industrial building transformations. Which, including the forward-looking rehabilitation of the Phoenix Linen and Towel Supply building that currently houses the Bentley Projects Gallery and City Bakery Restaurant, taken altogether have been instrumental in elevating a can-do perception of Phoenix’s Warehouse district’s economic and community development potential, and serve as catalyst of the district’s redefinition and reclamation.

Within this redevelopment and building conservation context, this singled-out historic preservation project achieves a standard for Rehabilitation that is rarely met. And in doing so, creates a model to be emulated.

A building that, for the better part of a century, survives a succession of diverse use and ad-hoc change conveys a complex history. Provided, however, that a perceptive architectonic excavation results in its revelation. Sifting through an accretion of dropped ceilings, partitioned spaces, plugged openings and punched walls, the signs and physical evidence of human creativity, industry and enterprise become apparent. But more to the point, comes an assessment that with each subsequent iteration, the resiliency of the building’s essential fabric is confirmed. If the building’s history is any indication, its current, and laudable, status is not the final iteration relegating the building to history. The task settles on preserving this dynamic. And in this objective the project succeeds in inspiring an exciting future.

Reaching beyond the fundamentals of preserving significant historic fabric, the building’s industrial origin is revealed and celebrated in its comparison with a complement of added features and details that are unapologetically expressive of current technology. In the perceptive and illuminating juxtaposition of past and present building techniques and materials, this exemplary rehabilitation is distinguished from rehabilitation practice that routinely attempts a seamless assimilation of the new within the old.

It is profoundly respectful in its deference to the authentic humanity expressed in these physical remnants of honest industry and purposeful workmanship; and eschewing the flattery of simulation, engages this legacy with a straightforward and unaffected compatibility in design integrity.

Given this more insightful treatment, it should be no surprise that this historic property which once facilitated the artisans and craftsman of heavy industry, continues to resonate with today’s creative occupations.

More than a building preservation, it embodies a continuing homage to the meaningful activity once animating the district. Something mere entertainments cannot.

2007 Karlson Machine Works Buildings/Southwest Cotton Company, Phoenix
GRAND PRIZE WINNER. For years, Phoenix’s warehouse district has been the central topic of the preservation conversation in downtown Phoenix. While some would like to see the rehab and reuse of the buildings akin to Denver’s LoDo, others see the real estate value of putting in high-rise condos. While its easy to see the economics of the latter, one project truly stands out the exemplifies the potential for rehabilitation and reuses: The Southwest Cotton Company and Karlson Machine Works Buildings. This project is an excellent example of Standard Number 9 or the Secretary of the Interior’s Treatment for Historic Properties. Designer-developer Michael Levine achieved a standard of Rehabilitation that is rarely met due to his skill in blending the contemporary with the historic fabric.

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