Nordica SoHo’s Techniques

Nordica Development has brought several unique aspects and methods from the European architecture and design market to the United States market.

In Europe, space is at a premium, and there are further constraints on building. Many European cities are very old with special permits required to perform any construction or design work.

This is also the case in many cities and areas within the United States, especially in the Northeastern region.

A major challenge has always been how to modernize old buildings without disturbing the structural integrity of the building. Here are some unique methods that Nordica has adopted that are not often seen in the United States as of yet:

  • Specialized Materials Handling

It is not a simple task to renovate a historical building. Many items must be taken into account. The logistics and programming of the project are as important as the actual building materials to be used.

Nordica has extensive experience in completely upfitting older buildings while reusing over 95% of the existing building materials, such as brick, columns, slate roofing materials and other sections of the building.

We go so far as to number and catalog each and every brick used in the building exterior, and if a wall penetration must be made, we can ensure the bricks are each returned to the exact location they were originally in.

We also precisely match the look and color of the mortar used originally when our contractors perform masonry work.

  • Converting unused utility space into living or working areas

While many old buildings (In the U.S. and Europe) were built far smaller than the current modern trend of large living and working spaces, a significant portion of the building was reserved for background processes and utilities, leaving little room for living quarters.

Many fine homes in large cities such as New York, London, Stockholm, and others, for example, had 1 or more subterranean floors dedicated to tasks such as cooking, cleaning, maintenance, heating and cooling.

These tasks are now of course automated and modernized, with much less square footage needed for cooking spaces. Modern heating systems take up far less space than burners and boilers from a hundred years ago.

These spaces may now be renovated and re-purposed for living or working spaces, creating more useable space and opening up floorplans despite an overall small building size.

  • Utilizing access flooring to upgrade wiring

In many areas of the world access flooring (raised floor) is successfully being used to create underfloor cavities which can be utilized for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

While some products remain in the industrial sector, some new products exist that can be used for commercial and residential applications.

Lower profile access floors successfully “hide” wires and plumbing systems underneath modern floor finishes such as wood planking and tile.

This allows us to upgrade building systems and bring them current with code without ripping into walls or ceilings. This method is quite common in European countries, and Nordica has been a major proponent of its use in the United States, when applicable.

  • Selecting architecturally-correct fixtures and appliances with reduced power requirements

Despite the overall trend of upsizing over the past several decades, it is often prudent to “rightsize” parts of the structure, as well as the internal building systems.

One of the major building systems that need special attention is the electrical system. Old buildings are fitted with fuses, not circuit breakers, and old wiring does in fact degrade over time.

Local and state level electrical codes are continually changing. The type of wiring and circuit protection used decades ago is likely not acceptable.

By using highly efficient fixtures and appliances, the total electrical usage of the dwelling or commercial office can be reduced by several orders of magnitudes. This often makes the process of upgrading the electrical system far simpler.

We feel, however, there is a major lack of architecturally pleasing lighting options for older buildings. The trend for new (especially LED lighting) has been for a modern look. The practicality of the LED and associated circuit board comes first, and the design of the fixture second.

However, this trend is changing, and we are seeing a more “function and form” balance.

Nordica even goes so far as to ensure the color temperature of the light is appropriate. Studies show that different light color temperatures affect occupants differently, at different times of the day. We incorporate the most advanced LED lighting into our projects.

For further information on how Nordica can successfully reinvigorate your building for modern use, please contact us.