National Holistic Institute

location:Emeryville, CA
owner:National Holistic Institute
completion:February 2010

National Holistic Institute, a leading massage therapy school with five campuses in California, wanted to consolidate their Emeryville campus into one new building. We renovated an aging one-story warehouse into a building that reflects N.H.I.’s mission of caring massage therapy. With a second floor addition, the renovated building houses teaching and faculty spaces along with the school's administrative headquarters. The interiors are based on modern uses and the exterior places a modern industrial image on the corner of 59th and Doyle Streets. The building is both functional and comforting; the redesign belies its former life as a warehouse.

Kava Massih Architects’ design for this project began with architectural programming to gain a clear understanding of how the Certified Massage Therapy School went about their mission of teaching and operating a statewide education program. Through several work sessions, we developed an architectural program that focused on how the School wants to educate students and present itself to prospective students and faculty. The building’s design emerged from those meeting and included a sense of place in Emeryville’s changing urban fabric.

The original 1950’s building was a typical concrete tilt-up structure with bowstring roof trusses that enclosed 24,000 square feet of space on a 34,000 square feet site. Emeryville’s zoning limited the buildings redesign to its original size but needed include 85 parking spaces, which necessitated a second story on the new part of the building. The neighborhood used to be an industrial area that typified the City’s character in the 1950’s.

The National Holistic Institute is the primary tenant and its use set the design parameters for the comprehensive rehabilitation. They required 18,000 square feet of space. The entire first floor and part of the second floor was reserved for NHI while 6,000 square feet were set aside for Streamline Events, Inc., an events planning business. The design included a separate entrance for them.

This project was awarded LEED certification.