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Platt/Whitelaw Relocates to Old Town

ARCHITECTURE: New Office Exemplifies Firm’s Style

Platt/Whitelaw Architects has moved from the North Park offices that had been the firm’s home for nearly 20 years to a renovated office building in Old Town.

Naveen Waney
Principal
Platt/Whitelaw Architects

The firm is leasing about 4,000 square feet at 2251 San Diego Ave. on the second floor of Old Town Plaza, twin buildings that were renovated by Casey Brown Co.

The North Park building that had been Platt/Whitelaw’s home was owned by Allison Whitelaw, who had been a principal of Platt/Whitelaw until she retired in 2020, Waney said. He said Whitelaw sold the building in mid-2022.

“We knew she was selling the building. It wasn’t a surprise,” Waney said. “After her retirement, she just wanted to simplify her life and the time was right for her.”

Waney said the new owner or the North Park building, Premium West “worked with us and was very accommodating until we were able to find a new place.”

Having it Their Way

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“Our philosophy has been to be located in a place that has a strong community presence,” Waney said, and the firm wanted its new home to reflect that.

Before it was in North Park, the firm’s offices were in Mission Hills, Waney said.

“We wanted to carry on that same presence to our new place,” Waney said.

The firm settled on Old Town in part because of the neighborhood’s history  and its central location, within an easy commute for the firm’s staff.

“One of the oldest (architectural) firms in San Diego locating in Old Town was just a match made in heaven,” Waney said.

The move gave Platt/Whitelaw a chance to design their new home in a way that exemplifies the firm’s philosophy and style.

“In North Park, we were locked in pretty much on both sides of the building and we only had a storefront that allowed any kind of daylight into the building,” Waney said. “When we started here, it was a blank canvas. There was nothing in this space except walls and glass around the façade.”

The firm’s new home is a modified open design with large glass windows  that have views all the way to Point Loma and downtown San Diego. The offices overlook a courtyard with outdoor seating.

From the glass door entrance, there is a clear view through the office.

“The way we do our work it’s much better to have open spaces with a lot more collaboration, to be able to walk through the office and not have any offices or doors that block you,” Waney said. “We have a lot of low walls, we have a lot of glass, we have a lot of open islands and collaborative areas. That’s we discovered is very beneficial for our staff to huddle around an island and exchange ideas.”

The large reception guest that greeted visitors in the old building is gone.

“We don’t have a receptionist anymore. That role doesn’t exist,” Waney said.

Most of the ceilings have exposed beams, except for a kitchen area, which has a wood slat ceiling with linear lighting integrated into the slats “so you feel like you’re floating,” Waney said.

“It’s a very open feeling,” Waney said.

The color scheme are neutral grays, tans and light blues.

Room to Grow

As part of the move, the firm “did a major purge of documents and samples of materials.

“We had a team of staff members that went through every same and got rid of the stuff that was out of date that we didn’t need,” Waney said.

Platt/Whitelaw Architects

Founded: 1955
Principals: Naveen Waney and Sandra Gramley
Headquarters: Old Town
Business: Architects
Employees: 16
Website: www.plattwhitelaw.com
Contact: pwa@platwhitelaw.com
Notable: The firm specializes  in public design projects such as schools, recreation centers, water and sewage treatment plants and has designed churches and temples of various religions and denominations.

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