Renewing a Downtown Jewel

Esther Short Building

Esther Short Building


A remodel of the 32,800 SF Esther Short Building was completed by LSW Architects and the LSW Interior Design Studio. This 2-story office building is located in Downtown Vancouver, Washington, adjacent to City Hall and Esther Short Park.

Key Stats


Vancouver, WA

Total Square Footage

32,800 SF

Completion Date



Formerly a vacant building, the remodel of the 32,800 sf building brought new life and business to the area by providing office space for six tenants (including LSW) and a community gathering space.

Esther Short Building
Esther Short Building


The majority of the exterior improvements aim to create a more welcoming building that is in synch with its surroundings. New landscaping on the park side of the building makes the building more visible and creates an inviting entry. The community room opens to a renovated patio on the Northside, creating an attractive meeting area complete with fire pit and water feature.

The first floor of the building was constructed in the 1970s with the second floor addition occurring in the ‘90s. This resulted in a number of unique design elements including a sculptural stair in the main lobby and glass enclosures at the main and west lobbies. 

The building also has an abundance of glazing around the perimeter that provides plentiful natural light for each of the tenant spaces. The majority of the rest of the building has been renovated to include new interior finishes and areas for art display.

Esther Short Building
Esher Short Building
Esther Short Building


To make sustainability a key consideration with every project, we organize our efforts into the following categories: Energy Efficiency, Embodied Carbon, Human Health, and Resource Conservation. Each category is associated with goals, processes, and metrics that we use to hold ourselves accountable to our clients, our community, and to current and future generations. In alignment with our sustainability benchmarks for projects, the following features were implemented at the Esther Short building:

Energy Efficiency 

  • Building is all-electric (contains no natural gas): features daylight sensors, automated lights that power down outside of office hours, and LED lights

  • The heating and cooling system are on timers that save energy outside of regular business hours

  • Reduced consumption

    • New LED lighting to reduced power use

    • Low-flow faucets and dual flush toilets to reduce water use

Human Health 

  • Programmed space for community use and indoor/outdoor connection

    • Community room - Door opens to outdoor area and covered area

    • Café space for public to use

    • Shower and changing facilities to support an active lifestyle 

    • Indoor bike racks

Embodied Carbon

  • LSW opted to renovate the building, rather than rebuild

  • Reclaimed materials were used during construction, including both carpet and wood flooring

  • Preserved the expansive glazing around the building perimeter  to keep office spaces open with views to outside (and park):

    • Demoed all the interior walls to have more openness to windows and daylight

    • Old ceilings were removed to open interior space

    • Removed obstacles of daylight so that people deepest in space still get to experience views and daylight

    • New interior glass systems have no mullions to keep as open as possible

  • Selectively demoed and preserved elements to balance out salvage and new:

    • Stair guardrail and rail were preserved. We used a chemical solution to coat brass into a darker look and salvaged all of it rather than replacing it

  • Recycled and Re-used flooring:

    • Staff at LSW installed carpet ends used in office space

    • Reclaimed wood from old mills in Eastern Washington used in Café and Porch flooring 

To read more about sustainability at LSW, download our Sustainability Action Plan here.