Adaptive reuse of the landmarked Morris Sachs Building transformed vacant neighborhood blight into the Hairpin Lofts development, composed of affordable housing units, a community arts center and retail storefronts. While the flatiron structure was restored to its original1929 appearance, it was modernized with advanced sustainable features to maximize energy efficiency and mitigate dramatic fluctuations in utility costs that can be challenging for affordable-housing residents.
Painstaking effort was made to repair its unique ornament and restore lost historical elements. Exterior preservation involved repairing limestone cladding, recreating the parapet from historic photos, and restoring the iconic camel-motif exterior panels and lobby floor tiles that reference the building’s origin as the Hump Hair Pin Manufacturing Company’s store and office.
Ten rooftop solar panels provide heat for domestic hot water; excess solar heat can be shunted to the heating and cooling system, comprised of 13 ground-source heat-pump wells. All of the building’s exterior and structural elements were retained, preserving environmental resources by utilizing the embodied energy of the structure. Certified LEED Gold, Hairpin Lofts serves as a successful model of integrating sustainability within the context of historic preservation and affordable housing.