Five years ago, Valley Mental Health began searching for a building to house a Safe Haven shelter for the homeless mentally ill. To serve this population, the building needed to be in Salt Lake City's Gateway. After an extensive search, Valley purchased the historic Silver Brothers' Ironworks Office and Warehouse. The building was the right size, in the right location, and met with the support of the local community council.
Built in 1909, the Silver Brothers' Ironworks is a simple, industrial building. It originally housed a foundry and later the Silver's Electric Company. Since 1956 the building's historic facade has been hidden behind a two-story addition.
While the building required considerable work, Valley Mental Health did not need to return the Silver Brother's Ironworks to its historic appearance to meet the needs of the Safe Haven program. Once MJSA Architects proposed renovating the building, however, Valley never considered doing otherwise. It just seemed appropriate for the Safe Haven to be in a restored building.
The exterior renovation included removing the 1956 addition and restoring the building's facade based on a 1910 photograph, cleaning and repaiting the brick walls, and installing new windows and doors to match the originals. The interior renovation maintains the building's historic industrial feel. Heavy timber structural elements, a cast iron column, and an historic vault door were all incorporated into the design. Today the Silver Brothers' Building contains spaces to provide a variety of services to the homeless mentally ill ranging from day treatment to transitional housing.
Valley Mental Health likes to make its facilities fit in with the neighborhoods where they are located. Valley's renovation of the Silver Brothers' Building far exceeds this goal. The project is not simply compatible with Salt Lake City's Gateway; it enhances the neighborhood and demonstrates the potential of the Gateway's historic industrial buildings.