A green roof can be a game-changer these days. That’s the takeaway when it comes to 899 West Evelyn, a new office building in Mountain View, California, designed by Rob Zirkle, the founder and principal of Brick, a Berkeley-based architecture firm. The project took shape right before the recession, and its green roof was a part of the design from the beginning. Once the economy picked up, and the building was back on track, the green roof became a major selling point for tenants. “It leveraged the sustainability agenda because of the storm water treatment element,” explains Zirkle. The quality-of-life piece also proved to be catnip to potential tenants: “It provides a unique experience with the outdoors not found in other office buildings.”
Entries in office design (5)
Workplace design is changing. It’s a given. We see it most of all in creative office environments. Places where a premium is placed on collaboration and connection. But what about office space form more traditional fields, say finance?
Alan Vartabedian, a principal at Huntsman Architectural Group, offers one take, in the design for Lek Securities’ Manhattan office. “It adheres to tradition in the sense that the expected formalities are there,” Vartabedian explains. A reception area, conference rooms—the usual suspects appear. The departure comes in the inspiration. Vartabedian looked to the worlds of residential and hospitality design to create inviting spaces that tempered the intensity of the business at hand with a more relaxed vibe.
We talk a lot about the new look of offices—open-plan, flooded with natural light, multi-use spaces. Often, though, designers and architects don’t take that idea to the next level, instead creating spaces that still very much retain the old aesthetic that leans toward the institutional and bland. For a recent project by Studio O+A, a San Francisco–based interior design studio, the team pushed the envelope, creating offices for the online firm Zazzle in Redwood City, California, that are lively and inviting.
A lot of ink gets spilled about the modern office. We’ve certainly discussed on this site. We hear a lot about creating open work environments that foster creativity and don’t tie employees to specific desk or space. Instead, the impulse is to afford workers the opportunity to move around—from lounge to conference area to even a garden. While that scenario might work for a lot of companies in a lot of fields, there are plenty of places where it’s just not feasible.
Given that we spend big chunks of our waking hours at work or working, it stands to reason that the way our work environments look and function should be a high priority. At FORM, we’ve been exploring our working life and the changing shape and look of the modern workplace. Today, we’re sharing an interview with Culver City—based architect Clive Wilkinson, first published in our September/October 2011 issue. Here, Wilkinson— just elevated to an AIA fellow last week—discusses his own designs for office space and the broader philosophical realities inherent in the projects.
Check back here throughout the year, as we explore the topic in more detail.