Bloom Coworking



Portsmouth Partnership found a home for their nonprofit Coworking space in the long-vacant Blumburg’s Department Store on the corner of High Street and Effingham Street in Portsmouth’s Olde Towne Historic District. The still-in-tact sign of the department store helped the partnership come up with the name “Bloom Coworking”. Bloom, in this case, acts as both a nod to the past and a hope for the business of Portsmouth to ‘bloom’.

The theme of slightly altering the name and history of the store to fit the Partnership’s needs continues on the interior of the building. The two wythe solid brick walls are left exposed, and the once blocked up clearstory windows along Effingham are reopened, allowing for more natural daylight. Up on the mezzanine, floorboards and wood decking were removed to leave the beams, joists, and columns exposed. LED strip Lighting was added to these joists to help facilitate the flow of light into the deeper areas of the space. The resulting effect gave the space below a pergola-type feel. Black ceilings help disguise the myriad of plumbing soffits as well as make the space appear even taller than it is, which was especially important over the open desk seating area.

Offices were placed on the perimeter of the building to take advantage of the daylight coming in from the existing storefront. Additionally, the glass doors in these offices allow for light to reach even deeper into the building. Moveable partitions make these offices even more interesting as their size can change to match the user’s needs. The exposed brick walls and joists help create a cozy alternate working atmosphere in the café at the back corner of the building. The café area can also be used for gathering events in the evening,
complete with a keg tap and dual dishwashers for convenience. Phone booths, an eight-person conference room, and a board room make this space even more customizable for each user’s needs and wants.

Overall, the space has become a brighter, livelier, and welcoming location for young businesses to set up shop and feel at home. This project shows that you don’t need a large budget to do great things and make great spaces for your community.

Client: Portsmouth Partnership

Location: Portsmouth, Virginia

Renovation : 8,833 SF

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Landscape Architect: WPL Site Design

Structural Engineer: Sinclair, Pratt, Cameron, P.C.

PME Engineer: Coastal Engineering, PLLC

Contractor: Taylor Construction