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Reno Downtown Post Office

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1931–1934, Frederic J. DeLongchamps; 2012–2016 renovation, H+K Architects. 50 S. Virginia St.
  • Reno Downtown Post Office
  • Reno Downtown Post Office
  • Reno Downtown Post Office

Built as a combined post office and federal building containing offices for federal agencies, Reno's downtown post office stands across Virginia Street from two of its architect's other projects. DeLongchamps favored Beaux-Arts classical designs, but his use of Art Deco here demonstrates his willingness to modernize his work. Light green terra-cotta tiles, dark green terra-cotta spandrels, and aluminum-frame recessed windows and entrances contribute to the building's modern look. A broad fretwork band between the second and third floors provides horizontal emphasis, balanced by tall, fluted terra-cotta pilasters separating the first- and second-floor windows. Stylized bas-relief eagles embellish the roofline of each end projection, clearly denoting the structure as federal.

The Art Deco style continues in the lobby, with black marble walls inset with aluminum medallions, terrazzo floors, and geometric aluminum moldings. The interior, including the original marble and aluminum writing tables, remained remarkably intact by 1975, when the post office relocated to a new building two miles south.

The 2012–2016 restoration of the building was the catalyst for Reno's urban revival, and represented a return of retail to the downtown area. After the federal goverment sold the building in 2012, the developer hired H+K Architects to convert the interior to retail use while preserving the original elegant Art Deco detailing. By reopening the large glass atrium, natural light now fills the building. The LEED-certified building also features a geothermal heating system. In 2015 the Basement, a marketplace with numerous small shops and restaurants, opened, and the following year the anchor tenant, furniture and home accessories retailer West Elm, moved into the ground floor. Rental offices now occupy the top floor.  

References

Harmon, Mella. "Reno Downtown Post Office." Reno Historical. Accessed Janaury 20, 2020. http://renohistorical.org/.

Hidlago, Jason. "Former Reno Post Office Gets New Life." Reno Gazette Journal, March 23, 2015.

Pearce, Ed. "Reno's Old Post Office Building Reborn as a Retail Center." KOLO News Now 8 ABC, August 12, 2016. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.kolotv.com/.

 

 

Writing Credits

Author: 
Julie Nicoletta
Updated By: 
Ann Gilkerson (2020)
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Data

Timeline

  • 1931

    Built
  • 2012

    Renovated

What's Nearby

Citation

Julie Nicoletta, "Reno Downtown Post Office", [Reno, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/NV-01-NW016.

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 71-72.

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