CATHEDRAL CANDLE COMPANY
Location: Syracuse, NY
Completed: November 2014
Construction Type: New Construction
Cathedral Candle Company has served Christian churches through the master craft and art of candle making for more than a century. The original Syracuse factory began production in 1897 and continues to supply candles to Christian churches around the world, including the Vatican. The new Cathedral Candle Office Building is the first step in a Master Plan that will renovate and expand their campus located on Syracuse’s North side. There are no photos in existence documenting their original factory, and the great-grandsons of the company’s founder wanted to recapture some of that history with the construction of a new office building.
The office building is a freestanding structure that needed to compliment the existing factory as well as the surrounding residential neighborhood. Following the principles of the Master Plan, the building reinforces the fabric of the city block by locating the parking at the core of the site. The building was intended to address the street with a dignified and traditional ‘formal entrance’ while allowing for a universal walkway, which connects visitors from the parking area to the front entrance.
The program is comprised of open office space for sales and accounting, located adjacent to banks of large windows intended to maximize workers opportunities for views and daylight. Additional conference rooms for staff meetings, an employee break room, a lab for developing candle prototypes and private offices round out the balance of the two floors.
The buildings exterior design was intended to speak to the long standing and rich tradition of the neighborhood by incorporating several key architectural features including a brick façade with arch top windows, a corbelled brick cornice, wrought iron railings and wood trim detailing. In an effort to contrast the more traditional exterior, a brightly day-lit, modern interior was achieved through the use of polished concrete floors, an open office design, glass walled conference rooms and bright colors. The design focused heavily on the experience of this transition from outside to inside, more traditional to contemporary.
This journey begins at the custom solid mahogany stained entry door with glazed sidelights, which welcomes visitors into and through the glass vestibule to the double height lobby. A generous public stair framed by a large window leads to an ‘art wall’ located on the second floor that will be populated by historical items from the company’s past. Upon climbing the stairs, the bridge that was overhead at the entrance reveals one of the primary spaces of the office building. This space serves as a conference room for clients and potential clients, purchasing candles from the Cathedral Candle Company. The conference room is treated as a ‘jewel space’, which projects through the brick façade above the main entrance, offering up a dramatic experience from both the interior and exterior of the building. Columns salvaged from the original office-building frame the view from the entrance of the conference room to the neighborhood beyond. The design reflects the rich past and continued future for the Cathedral Candle Company.