Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew

Law Offices


Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew is one of the most prominent and oldest law firms in Vermont. Their offices are located in three adjacent buildings in Burlington’s historic Waterfront District. Two of the buildings are handsome stone and brick 19th century warehouse buildings that were converted into commercial office space in the 1970’s. All buildings have striking views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the west. Unfortunately interior spaces were haphazardly spread out across the three buildings and had limited internal spatial organization. The firm’s reception area was very dark, cramped and dated; their conference rooms were randomly located on different floors and in different buildings. Altogether, the arrangement and interior design lacked a good first impression, had a limited ability to hold multiple meetings at one time, and contained no focal space where visitors and colleagues could meet.

The firm asked Bread Loaf to assess the existing conditions, evolving programmatic needs, and propose design solutions that would respect the historic buildings; present a distinguished but energetic image to the public; bring cohesion to the interior layout; and create a conference room center which could accommodate visitors and multiple meetings separate from the realm of private offices.

Bread Loaf proposed several options that ranged in scope and cost. Ultimately, the firm chose a scheme that gutted the central portion of the middle building, including the reception area, staff kitchen, and library. Partition walls were removed, original stone and brick structural walls exposed, ceilings raised and skylights added to transform this area into open and airy reception and waiting spaces. Surrounding this open space are a series of conference rooms and small consultation nooks.

The new rooms are defined by cherry wood and glass screen walls. Cherry paneled walls offer discreet views of adjacent spaces and establish a consistent, modern, architectural language that compliments the historic stone and brick walls. Visitors now arrive at the sunlit reception area via a glass enclosed stairway and have easy access to the public meeting areas. The overall office space now has a central node that efficiently ties all three buildings together and acts as a natural meeting place to interact with visitors and colleagues.

As part of the main renovation, many existing staff amenities were moved to a ground floor space that had been under utilized as a temporary tenant space for decades. This area was refurbished/renovated to create a staff lunch/break room, kitchen, staff conference rooms, library, exercise rooms, bike storage, mudroom with cubbies and two bathrooms with showers.