Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf
Bridging old and new to create something functional and eye-catching with a limited footprint is at the heart of parabuilding.
Parabuilding, a term coined by the late New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp, is described by Jonathan Barnes, FAIA, as “an addition or alteration to an existing building that transforms the essential character of the original structure.”
That is exactly what Barnes and his team at Jonathan Barnes Architecture & Design of Columbus, Ohio, did with the expansion of a historic 1920s-era warehouse that is home to an artisan small-batch distillery.

Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf
A 55-foot tiered structure clad in Kalwall translucent sandwich panels rises from the original warehouse to create a distinct feature that is not just striking, but has been central in allowing Middle West Spirits of Columbus to grow its business.
The design earned an AIA Columbus 2017 Architecture - Honor Award.
In addition to a tasting room, bottle shop, and office, the expansion needed to accommodate new distillery equipment to increase production, including two new towering stills, one 50 feet tall and the other 35 feet tall, as well as several large mashing tanks.

Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf
Working within a restricted footprint, a center portion of the 10,000-square-foot warehouse’s original steel bow truss and wood roof was removed. Kalwall panels were used to clad the entire new structure, creating what Barnes describes as a monolithic translucent white tower with both a striking and subtle daytime presence and a glowing, beacon-like quality at night. The adjacent tasting room was positioned to have a striking view of the distillery.
In addition to being a distinctive feature, Kalwall translucent sandwich panels provide the owners with a bright space that allows them to easily monitor the equipment within the distillery.

Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf
Kalwall’s daylight-modeling service also allowed the architects to design the building so that different elevations transmit different amounts of light to provide completely balanced, museum-quality daylighting.
John Kelly, the Ohio sales representative for Kalwall, says both Jonathan Barnes Architecture & Design and Sullivan Builders of Worthington, Ohio, were looking for a single-source cladding solution that was within budget and could meet their timetables. “The decision to clad the building with Kalwall was made after the excavation work had started,” he says. “They learned that they could eliminate quite a bit of the steel behind our panels due to our span capability and the lightweight nature of Kalwall. This was an unexpected cost-savings to the team.”