Redefining Spaces: A Peek into Baker Associates Innovative Remodeling Projects

Welcome to the world of Baker Associates, where architecture and interior design merge to create lasting impressions. Baker Associates is more than just an architectural firm; we are a collaborative network of innovative thinkers dedicated to crafting transformative spaces that narrate compelling stories in our Minneapolis community. As a premier provider of architecture – such as remodeling projects – interior design, and planning services, our portfolio spans a multitude of sectors and clients throughout the years.

We approach each remodeling project not as a task but as a journey in which we partner with our clients to bring their visions to life. Our mission isn’t solely to construct buildings or redesign spaces but to create environments that embody the unique narrative of each client. Our firm conviction in the power of a collaborative spirit drives our process, which centers around one foundational principle: Together, we create designs for you.

In this blog, we’ll take you behind the scenes of three of our favorite past remodeling projects: the Luther Jaguar Land Rover, the Capri Theater, and the Luther Westside Volkswagen. Each of these projects is a testament to our adaptive and inventive approach to design, demonstrating how we redefine spaces to enhance functionality, improve aesthetics, and, most importantly, encapsulate our client’s story. Plus, who doesn’t love a good before and after? Let’s delve into these remodeling projects and see how Baker Associates continues to be a powerhouse architecture and design firm in Minneapolis since 1959!

Project 1: Luther Jaguar Land Rover

Before

AFTER

While the dealership continued its operations, we undertook a significant remodel for the Luther Jaguar Land Rover project. This project presented a unique challenge, requiring clever planning and staging of operations to minimize disruptions. A pivotal part of the project was collaborating closely with the client and the general contractor to puzzle piece the operations, keeping the dealership functional even during the remodeling process.

Initial Challenges and Solutions

The principal challenge of the project wasn’t architectural but operational – the dealership needed to remain open during the remodeling process. The team managed this through strategic planning and phasing. The project began with the remodeling of the building, followed by the adjacent service drive and showroom areas. In the interim, we moved the service advisors to the showroom, dividing them between sales and service advising. Once we completed the service drive remodel, we relocated the service advisors to their final location. We then temporarily converted the service drive into the sales area before demolishing and reconstructing the showroom.

Another significant challenge was complying with the stringent standards set by the car manufacturer. Their 400-page design intent document made it difficult to adapt to dealership preferences, adding complexity to the approval process. But never fear because, at Baker, we love a good challenge. 

In terms of innovation, the project showcased clever solutions in staging and phasing. The team demonstrated creativity by using existing parts of the building for operations during different phases of the remodel.

Regarding design, the project didn’t bind us to historical preservation, instead, it opened the possibility for a complete rebrand. We stripped the interior back to the structure, then rebuilt all finishes, lighting, and other elements to meet the new design standards. The remodel featured an ideal blend of preserving the original interior architecture while introducing modern design elements, resulting in a fresh, modern look.

Impact and Benefits of the Redesign

The redesign presented numerous benefits, starting with a brand new, modern aesthetic that appeals to customers and enhances the dealership’s brand image. The remodel has also resulted in more efficient use of space, improved workflow, and updated facilities for both staff and customers.

The biggest takeaway from this project is that successful remodeling goes beyond architecture and design. It requires understanding the client’s operational needs, ensuring continuous operations during a remodel if possible, and being prepared to adapt and innovate throughout the project. And, of course, always having a contingency for those unexpected “surprises” that often crop up during a major remodel.

In retrospect, the most satisfying aspect of this project was the challenge it presented and how our team managed to keep the dealership operational during the entire process. This was achieved through smart planning, flexibility, and advocating for the client’s needs, even when dealing with the strict standards set by the car manufacturer.

Project 2: Capri Theater 

Before

AFTER

The Capri Theater in North Minneapolis has been a centerpiece for community engagement since it first opened its doors in 1938. After its recent renovation spearheaded by us at Baker Associates, it’s prepared to weave itself even more intrinsically into the fabric of the community. We take great pride in our involvement in this remodeling project and believe that the theater is better than ever, eagerly awaiting the new memories it will host for the residents in the future. So, how did this metamorphosis transpire? Join us as we delve into the transformation of this iconic theater and the ways it caters to a community that was yearning for a space like this.

Initial Challenges and Solutions

Our mission was to craft a space that was not just functional but also inspirational and impactful. Collaborating closely with the theater director, we assembled a list of essential features for the remodel. The aim was to meticulously plan every corner of the theater, including crossover space behind it, dressing rooms, green rooms, and shop space, so they all harmonized like pieces of a puzzle. This was a demanding task, but we remained committed to our vision, and we’re immensely proud of the results.

An early challenge was the city requirements which didn’t allow the community theater, dubbed the Paradise Theater, to be a solid mass along West Broadway Avenue as per our black box theater design. To address this, we provided windows to comply with the city requirements but installed blackout curtains that doubled as light blocks for the window components and the interiors, thereby achieving the desired outcome.

One of our favorite elements of the new Capri Theater is the rejuvenated lobby and concessions area, designed to be a bright and inviting space. The client’s desire was to have a welcoming and neutral space capable of being a backdrop to a wide variety of events, from weddings to union meetings. Keeping in mind the diverse needs of the North Minneapolis neighborhood and the city’s diverse events, we were inspired by the original heavy brick design of the 1920s and decided to make the restoration lighter and brighter.

Impact and Benefits of the Redesign

Our client is exceptionally pleased with the outcome, appreciating how we met their specific requirements while creating a welcoming space for people from all walks of life. The new theater design accommodates a plethora of events, allowing the space to be rented out for various occasions. This aligns perfectly with our shared vision of a community-oriented space. The community and the Plymouth Christian Youth Center school have widely appreciated the project. With a significant emphasis on acoustics and lighting, the remodeled Capri Theater has become a beloved part of the community. Not only does it continue to be a venue for people to come together for live performances, but now it also accommodates more people, including students, providing an enhanced experience. Don’t take our word for it; check out this news story about the theater’s impact:

In conclusion, we at Baker Associates are honored to have contributed to the transformation of the redesigned Capri Theater, which now stands as a shining example of a community-centric space. If you find yourself in Minneapolis, we invite you to visit the new Capri Theater and experience its charm for yourself. 

Project 3: Luther Westside Volkswagen

Before

After

Initial Challenges and Solutions

Unlike other projects, the Luther Westside Volkswagen remodel posed relatively fewer challenges. The primary challenge was similar to what we encountered with the Luther Jaguar Land Rover project, albeit on a smaller scale: maintaining dealership operations during the remodel.

The project involved no expansion of the existing building; instead, the remodel focused purely on the interior. Once again, the solution was strategic planning and phased implementation of the remodel. This entailed designating alternate areas for various functions – for example, transforming the vehicle delivery area into a temporary sales area. By adjusting to different spaces and shifting operations accordingly, we ensured minimal disruption to the dealership’s everyday business.

Impact and Benefits of the Redesign

While the remodel might have been straightforward, its impact was far from simple. As with all successful remodels, the Luther Westside Volkswagen project brought a refreshed, modern aesthetic to the dealership, which can enhance the customer experience and elevate the brand image. Further, the remodel allowed for more efficient use of the interior space, likely improving workflows and creating a more enjoyable workspace for employees.

Even straightforward projects such as this can yield significant results, both visually and operationally. This project serves as a testament to the benefits of a well-planned, expertly executed remodel – and how it can transform a business without necessitating large-scale, complex changes.

In Conclusion 

Baker Associates has consistently demonstrated a unique approach to remodeling projects in Minneapolis that centers around understanding the needs of the client and prioritizing operational continuity. We’ve showcased this through our work on remodeling projects such as the Luther Jaguar Land Rover and Luther Westside Volkswagen remodels. Our ability to innovate and adapt, even under strict guidelines or during operational challenges, has allowed us to deliver successful transformations that don’t merely change the aesthetics but truly revamp the business operations, improving workflows and enhancing customer experiences.

As we look towards the future, Baker Associates is excited to continue growing and innovating in our field. We commit to maintaining our approach focused on our clients and eagerly anticipate taking on new challenges beyond car dealerships. While every project has its own unique requirements and challenges, our experience and innovative spirit equip us to handle whatever comes next. We look forward to bringing our expertise to an exciting roster of upcoming remodeling projects, continuing to reshape spaces, and exceeding our client’s expectations.

Interested in seeing how we can transform your space or want to keep up with our latest remodeling projects? We invite you to get in touch with us at Baker Associates. Follow us on our social media channels for updates on our innovative designs and to gain insights into our future projects. Don’t miss out on seeing the transformations we’ll be crafting soon (stay tuned for some super exciting new projects!) We look forward to helping you bring your vision to life, no matter the scale or complexity of the project. Reach out to us today, and let’s build your future together.