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  CDG Architects Office, Page 28CDG Architects Office

2102 N. Country Club Road, #9, Tucson, AZ 85716

Tucson, Arizona
Total Square Feet: 5,581
Construction Period: Apr 2002 to Dec 2002

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Milestone Corporation - 4021 E. Grant Road, #202, Tucson, AZ 85712
INTERIORS: Integrated Interiors, Ltd. - 340 North Joesler Court, Tucson, AZ 85716
LANDSCAPE DESIGNER: Desert Horticulture - 2838 E. Cushman, Tucson, AZ 85716

CDG Architects faced a challenge common to business owners across the country - their goal was to build a unique and attractive office space for themselves on a small infill lot in the city center for a reasonable cost. Frank Mascia, principal architect for CDG Architects, believes strongly that the achievement of design excellence need never be compromised by a limited budget. The design goals were straightforward: to create a distinctive building form without requiring complicated and expensive construction methods, to make a small space feel large and, most importantly for CDG, to provide an environment ideally suited to the practice of architecture.

The lot selected for the building was in an existing office subdivision, between two buildings that did not share the character that the architect envisioned for his own building. Mr. Mascia adopted both the scale and massing of the existing context while distinguishing his office from the others using a variety of materials, textures, colors and landscape planning. All of the construction materials were affordable and easy to maintain: concrete masonry, Portland plaster cement (stucco) and corrugated metal. The masonry was sandblasted to bring out the texture and colors in the concrete; joints were raked to further express the pattern of the masonry units. The "stucco" was finished in a rough circular pattern and painted bright colors. Unfinished corrugated metal, installed horizontally in various places, added vibrancy to the building, picking up on metal fascias at the roof lines. The architect selected a rich palette of native and non-native drought tolerant plants to create an "oasis" in this close, urban setting. Mature trees were planted, surrounded by fast-growing shrubs. The landscape plants will be allowed to maintain their full, natural shapes, gracing the office grounds and providing both lush greenery and color.

Mr. Mascia's commitment to architecture as a collaborative effort is tangibly expressed in the open, classical drafting room positioned at the center of the office. Partial height walls define individual computer stations that encircle the room; the open floor plan facilitates passage of information between staff members. Large, north-facing windows (actually sliding glass doors mounted three feet off the floor) allow ample natural light and ventilation into the space. A greater feeling of volume is created by raising the ceiling in this area and by "borrowing" the landscaped courtyard through the large windows. The functions that support the activities of the drafting room - project and office administration, inhouse reproductions, reference libraries, file storage and conference rooms as well as kitchen and rest facilities - "grow out" from this core space. Office "niches" for the principal architects and their support staff allow private spaces separate from the common work area. The interior finishes give the space an industrial feel: masonry is left exposed to create accent walls, and sandblasted in the same way as the exterior, mechanical ducts and plumbing pipes are exposed at the ceilings, the floors are concrete, scored and polished, natural in color. Juxtaposed with the spare finish materials are striking original pieces of art and brightly colored, contemporary furnishings. 

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