Location: Holland, MI
The West Coast Chamber of Commerce is driven by five core organizational values, all with a common thread of connecting people. To better support these core values with the building and site enhancements, there was a desire to improve staff spaces and create new spaces to facilitate community and member meetings, collaboration, and socialization. The design leveraged the existing building’s square footage, renovating it to be more open and a more efficient use of space. Toilet and service rooms that previously occupied the building’s center were relocated to the perimeter, and the Collaboration Spine was inserted in the center, allowing for a more welcoming reception experience, and offering useful space for gathering. This open volume creates a more efficient use of the overall existing square footage available as a connector between the Chamber’s offices and the Learning Lab, where through the use of sliding glass walls, the spaces can function independently, or become one continuous space for larger events. This central area has a prominent form featuring abundant natural light in the daytime, and becoming a lantern at night, signifying the eastern gateway to Downtown Holland. This new, modern form of the Collaboration Spine intentionally contrasts with the more traditional, masonry form of the existing building to announce that the Chamber is a forward-thinking organization, and creates a strong presence at the eastern edge of Downtown Holland. The new Learning Lab is placed at the northeast corner of the existing building footprint to give it a prominent location at this eastern approach to Downtown, and can host up to 75 people for a variety of events. As an extension of the building, the front outdoor space has been transformed from surface parking to a garden, allowing social and professional interactions to be carried outside of the building as well.