While Austin seems ever more full of creative spaces and studios at the moment, an innovative and offbeat building known as Upcycle has the bonus feature of being redeveloped in a sustainable way. Built in 1972, the former industrial warehouse was transformed by Gensler, which reused 95 percent of the existing building structure and materials found onsite, including walls covered with graffiti.
The building, located at 2416 East Sixth Street, was originally a manufacturing/shipping facility for drywall, later purchased by Balcones Recycling. It was unused and largely abandoned after the recycling center changed locations, with the exception of a brief tenancy by popular pop-up supper club Monkeytown in the winter of 2016. Everwest Real Estate Partners purchased the property shortly thereafter.
The ambitious renovation, overseen by Gensler project manager Travis Albrecht, included the shipment of a vintage box car from South Carolina with a police escort in the middle of the night (to avoid traffic), an operation for which onsite rail tracks that had been used for moving drywall came in handy.
In addition to reincorporating outdoor panels that had already been festooned with graffiti, Gensler commissioned five graffiti artists for the lobby and interior social areas. Clerestory windows and garage-door-style roll-up windows were also added to bring in more natural light.