Location: Walker, Michigan
Our project represents a major investment and change in work culture for one of the Midwest largest privately owned Corporations. Our charge was to open up the company’s workspace to collaboration, flexibility, creativity, & daylight. After a lengthy preamble of visioning and programming, the company relied on its strong sustainability values to select an existing decommissioned warehouse located on its corporate campus for a complete revamp. Only the previous floor, internal columns, and the roof structure remain of the original 1970’s era building. For the rest of the new building, we set about designing a modern office space for 1400 creative workers. Our goals were to transform the warehouse into a place where creative people want to work; to provide daylight to everyone while minimizing the adverse affects of direct sun exposure; to create accidental encounters and collaborative environments for workers; to provide a strong sense of entry for both visitors and workers; and to provide clarity of circulation and individual place within a colossal office space. To house the 1400 workers, we quickly settled on a scheme that would add a new 120,000sf floor into the existing 220,000sf, 36 foot tall envelope. A new structural system was intermixed with the existing roof structure to support the new second floor, to support the modifications to the previous building envelope, and to support the new exterior curtainwall. Depending on sun exposure, site circulation, and building use; we strategically removed portions of the building to maximize protected daylighting opportunities, to differentiate spaces & to provide wayfinding. The exterior walls are entirely new consisting primarily of highly insulated glazing with varying fritting techniques that respond to the different building exposures. Stone and metal panels are also used on the exterior as transitions and as definers of non-office uses. Programmatically, the building is primarily an open office that includes a wide array of meeting and collaboration spaces ranging from stand-up, informal & unscheduled collaboration areas to a fully fit-out board room with company wide Emergency Operations capability. A full service corporate restaurant is located in the building with a near-by Starbucks – an amenity enjoyed by both workers and their guests that provides additional collaboration opportunities. And while the building was envisioned as primarily as space for the company’s creative rank and file, soon after the reveal of the new curtainwall and the bright new workspace to the corporate leadership we were asked to design an executive leadership suite into the project. The company occupied the finished space in May of 2014 to the raves and compliments of its workers.