515 Tower stands as an icon in the architectural landscape of our community. Designed by prolific local architect Bill Browning, the tower soars from the leafy surroundings of downtown Salt Lake City, lending an instantly recognizable form to the skyline. Its bold angles and monolithic brick and concrete structure cement the modernist work’s place in the community, one as much a part of the fabric of the city as the mountains that surround it.

Reworking any part of a historic building is a task to take seriously. When given the opportunity to design an updated lobby for 515 Tower, we knew that we’d have to seamlessly blend our design instincts with a deep appreciation of history. We centered both community and history as we began to imagine a lobby for the tower that would be welcoming to visitors. The resulting space is warm and inviting, infused with bursts of energy, and honors the history of the building in every detail.

Our design approach was more surgery than amputation; rather than trying to build everything from scratch, we strategically uncovered elements in order to transform the space and show off the beautiful original structure of the building. In initial explorations of the lobby, we found that still intact existing materials had been covered up when the building was first constructed. We uncovered original columns, refinished the concrete floor, and brought covered brick elements back to life, all of which bring together the building’s hefty exterior and the bold, angular structure that makes up its interiors.

Preservation was important to more than just the structure, though. Our research of the building’s history led us to an incredible story full of details about Salt Lake City over the years, and we knew that story was a major part of the lobby we wanted to create. Our team came up with a custom timeline of the building, a branded and integrated piece of art that fills what used to be an empty and overlooked corner of the room.

Tying the seating area together is a collaboration between our photography and interiors team, a suite of custom art pieces features the massive Frank Riggs sculpture that is so prominently featured in front of the building, its instantly recognizable form and striking color inseparable from the building itself. The pieces invite viewers to look at the sculpture from new perspectives and bring it indoors, blurring the lines between quotidian and original.

Project No: 2129

Client: Nearon Enterprises

Completed: 2022

Budget: $55,000

Size: 2,500 SF

Architect: mow

Interiors: mow

Manage: Cushman Wakefield

Elec: Rocky Mountain Consultants

Mech: None

Struc: None

Construction: New Concepts Construction

Furniture: Interior Solutions

Art / Brand: mow

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