Offices of Re4orm Architecture reflect firm's modern focus

Premium Content from The Times Union - By Leigh Hornbeck
Date: Monday, November 3, 2014

J.T. Pollard started his career in the suburbs, but it flourished in the city.

Pollard joined Re4orm Architecture in 1996, when the company was located in Ballston Lake. He bought the business in 2005 and moved it to 323 Clinton St., Schenectady. Some might shy away from the city, but Pollard, who commutes to work from his home in Burnt Hills, stands up for the Electric City.

"It gets some bad press, but Schenectady is getting better," he said.

Pollard planned to salvage the building on Clinton Street, but once he got inside he found a bowed, collapsing foundation. He had the Victorian-style building razed and built a markedly different structure on its footprint. Re4orm occupies a thoroughly modern, 4,200-square-foot structure, its two stories sheathed in metal and topped with a domed, translucent roof made with Kalwall, a fiberglass composite.

Inside, glass stairs connect the first and second floors. Stainless steel cable was used as balusters. Pollard's seven employees work upstairs on one side of the stairwell in a loosely divided space that allows for interaction on Re4orm's many projects. Pollard's office and several drafting tables covered with designs occupy the other side of the stairwell. The building's ductwork is exposed in the industrial-looking style Pollard said is popular.

The defining characteristic of 323 Clinton St. is the light that filters through the roof and many windows.

"My favorite thing is all the natural light," Pollard said. "Ninety percent of the time, we don't use any electric lights."

Re4orm does historic renovation, but trends toward modern style for its commercial work. The company's projects include theBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake Library, Bow Tie Cinema in Schenectady and an expansion of the Schenectady County Public Library. Another Re4orm-designed building, the offices of software developer Transfinder, is under construction, and the firm is also designing Mohawk Harbor, a redevelopment project in Schenectady, and a downtown revitalization project in Denver.

In addition to projects in Schenectady, Pollard has made a personal commitment as well. He bought property at the corner of Lafayette and Franklin streets, using a grant from Metroplex Development Authority.

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Written by Leigh Hornbeck - Albany Times Union Reporter