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ZGF was tasked with a one-of-a-kind project—transforming a landmark hangar into an office for Google. The structure was built by famed business magnate, film producer, and aviator Howard Hughes in 1943 for the construction of his H-4 Hercules airplane, more commonly known as the “Spruce Goose” because it was almost entirely crafted from wood (although it was actually made of birch, not spruce).

Today, the Spruce Goose is housed in Oregon, but the hangar remains in Southern California in the city of Playa Vista, and now comprises a range of office, meeting, and food service spaces for the tech company. With Google’s specific requirements, and the building’s rich history, ZGF embraced a unique approach to complete the remarkable conversion from an airplane shed to a contemporary workplace.

The different facets of the project went beyond anything the architects had done before, because it was crucial to respect the past while still designing a workplace that reflected Google’s core values. “This project was a historic preservation, an adaptive reuse of an important historic structure, and the construction of a modern, four-story office building. Google’s a tech company, but it’s interesting, because a lot of the way that we did this was analog, and we never would have ended up with this result if we had done this all digitally,” says James Woolum, partner at ZGF.

Indeed, the ZGF team went back to basics—think printouts, not pixels. Diagrams, photocopies, and an endless selection of fabric swatches were the tools of the trade. This thorough attention to detail was the key to creating a cohesive space with just enough variety to keep the interiors fresh for the employees who are on-site every day.

The spine is a stunning feature that was restored, highlighting the intricate rehab work required for the latest iteration of the hangar. “The whole central spine, which was made out of wood, had to be taken apart piece by piece, cataloged, and stored before it was put together again meticulously,” Woolum explains. The backbone divides the four-story, 450,000-square-foot building lengthwise, with open floor plates that are pulled away from this locus and interior envelope. The varied shape of each floor and added skylights allow for abundant daylight to filter through every level.

The circulation routes were designed to increase interaction, which is key in any Google office, where employees often collaborate in several different areas during the day. The architects devised a boardwalk, on the perimeter of each floor, which allows individuals to weave through the long structure. “On the boardwalk, you are moving vertically and laterally through the space. The places where the boardwalk penetrates through the spine were really natural points to locate some of the important amenities like the micro-kitchens,” Woolum notes. Along the boardwalk, no two amenity areas are alike, giving users options and allowing them to view the impressive structure from all angles.

In this particular office, more sophisticated materials and colors were used to bring a new refinement to the company’s signature look. “They wanted a grown-up Google, and it was really about this macro, micro way of looking at all of the spaces, and then being able to look at one piece to see how it complemented everything else,” says Antony Tavlian, ZGF associate and interior designer for the project.

For the ZGF team, all of these interesting components were combined to create an office that gives its users enhanced experiences that go beyond basic job tasks. “It’s not just the architecture or the beautiful furniture, or the artwork. It all comes together to support a layered and rich human experience. It really is a magical space,” adds Woolum.
The Real Deal
The site is next to Related’s Icon Las Olas

Related Group paid $8 million for a development site on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard as it continues to bet on the city.

The Miami-based real estate developer bought the 0.35-acre parcel for $525 per square foot, marking the highest-priced land trade on Las Olas Boulevard, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Steelbridge, a Chicago and Miami-based private equity firm, sold the property.

Robert Given, Errol Blumer, Troy Ballard and Ricky Giles of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the deal.

The site has flexible zoning and could be developed into a residential, retail, hotel and office project, according to a press release.

The property is one of the last remaining undeveloped single parcels in downtown Fort Lauderdale, with 70 feet of frontage along Las Olas Boulevard. It’s next to Steelbridge’s Las Olas Square, a Class A, 278,635-square-foot mixed-use property anchored by the 17-story SunTrust Center. It’s also next to Related’s 44-story Icon Las Olas, a 272-unit multifamily project.

Known for its condo towers in Miami, Related is expanding its presence in Fort Lauderdale.

In December, Related scored a $47.9 million construction loan to build its New River Yacht Club III project in downtown Fort Lauderdale. In Fort Lauderdale Beach, Related developed Auberge Beach Residences and Spa, a luxury condo project at 2200 North Ocean Boulevard.
Interior Design Media
Office design provided some of the most surprisingly cool projects of the past year as traditionally sedate corporate workplaces transitioned to dramatic social hubs designed with the wants and needs of employees in mind. Here are the most creative office projects of 2019—three of which won Best of Year awards and five of which were honorees.

Boies Schiller Flexner Law Office in New York by Schiller Projects

A modernist architect might begin a design with a concept, simple enough to draw on a restaurant napkin. A structuralist might import a typology, everything understood in advance. A text-driven architect might initiate a project with a theory. But for Aaron Schiller, principal of the integrated architecture, design, branding, and strategy consultancy, Schiller Projects, the process always starts with data. Asked to design the New York headquarters for Boies Schiller Flexner, a high-profile international law practice relocating from Midtown to Hudson Yards, the first thing Schiller and his team did was to descend on the firm’s existing offices and, like sociologists with iPads and notebooks in hand, observe work patterns, chart logistics, conduct interviews, and weigh expectations. The result speaks for itself—and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Medium Corporate Office.

Campari’s New York Headquarters by Gensler

These days, workplaces often contain cafés, wellness rooms, and lounges galore. But a bar? Not as likely... let alone four of them. But such is the case at the North American headquarters of the Campari Group—the Milan-based company famous for its bright-red namesake aperitif—that now also counts more than 50 other beverage brands in its portfolio. Mix them all together, and it makes Campari Group the sixth largest spirits company in the world—a feat worthy of celebrating. Gensler helped the group do so with its new two-story New York office and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Corporate Cafeteria/Bar.

Sunbrella’s North Carolina Headquarters by Tsao & McKown

“We truly cross the divide,” Calvin Tsao begins, meaning: “We’re equally comfortable with architecture and interior design.” So naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th-century former mill they owned. “We had the aha moment, literally, in looking at our birthplace,” Glen Raven chairman Allen Gant Jr. says. “So we weren’t looking for an architect who could design us the most beautiful building—we felt we already had that. But instead for someone who could understand the functionality of the business.” The result earned Tsao & McKown a 2019 Best of Year Award for Manufacturer Headquarters.

Google’s Los Angeles Office by ZGF Architects

It was inevitable. Google, which we like to call the first stop for everything, would one day expand its presence in Los Angeles. When that time came, not just any venue would do. The company alit at the hangar built in 1943 to house Hughes Aircraft Company’s Spruce Goose. Google and ZGF Architects had already worked together on six projects, but this would be the largest effort that either had ever undertaken in the realm of adaptive reuse. “The outcome was unknown when we embarked on the project,” Google project executive R.G. Kahoe says. “But we knew we could do something amazing, a moon-shot idea, as well as being the correct stewards for the building.” The project was a Best of Year honoree in the Office Transformation category.

Showtime’s Los Angeles Office by CannonDesign

Some of the edgiest programs to hit the airwaves come from Showtime: Dexter, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Billions. The list goes on. You’d never have guessed, however, from visiting the Los Angeles office. The space was unremarkable at best. Relocation offered the opportunity to create “an environment that was warm and welcoming, cool without being trendy,” says Showtime Networks president of entertainment Jana Winograde. For that, kudos go to CannonDesign where Principal Chari Jalali led the project from L.A., while design principal Robert Benson commuted from Chicago. And the project earned Best of Year honoree status for Creative Office.

TPA Group/City of Alpharetta
Alpharetta is set to decide whether to approve a new 62-acre mixed-use project that would bring 255 apartments, 60 townhomes, 31,525 square feet of retail/restaurant space, and 630,000 square feet of office space to Haynes Bridge Road at Georgia 400.

The city's planning commission is set to review developer TPA Group's 360 Tech Village on Dec. 5, and the city council is scheduled to hear it on Dec. 16.

The new development would be north of the intersection of Georgia 400 and Haynes Bridge Road, on the west side of Haynes Bridge south of Lakeview Parkway.

The city's planning staff is recommending approval of the project with conditions, including that office development will be limited to 630,000 square feet, retail/restaurant space will be limited to 31,525 square feet, a minimum 3,000-square-foot neighborhood grocery store will be required, there will be no drive-through restaurants, no more than 10 percent of the townhomes will be allowed to be rented, and a minimum of 25 acres of civic space and 7 acres of amenity space will be required.

Also required would be pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the site, including between buildings and recreational facilities within the development and across Lakeview Parkway to the existing office development. Alpharetta planners want the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Lakeview Parkway to be designed with a minimum 5,000-square-foot green space with a focal point sculpture. TPA Group would also be required to provide a minimum of six original sculptures located at prominent locations throughout the development, as approved by the city with input from the local arts committee.

TPA Group and architect Nelson Worldwide have just submitted new renderings of the project, see the adjacent slideshow.

Midtown Union picks hotel development team
Midtown Union will include three buildings on a 3.8-acre site. In total, it will have 610,000 square feet of office, a 210-key hotel, 355 housing units, 33,500 square feet of retail and 1,850 parking spaces.
18-acre town center mixed-use project moving forward in Snellville
The Grove at Towne Center mixed-use development is slated for 18 acres in the city of Snellville.

Luxury Retreat Surrounded By Panoramic Views

TPA Group said in September it was in late-stage negotiations with a Fortune 500 company that needs up to 120,000 square feet of office space in the project.

In a discussion of the project, Alpharetta planners note that, "The applicant proposes 475,680 square feet of new office on the site, which is in addition to the 154,400 square feet of office building at the southwest corner of Lakeview Parkway and Morrison Parkway. If the applicant’s request is approved, a total of 630,080 square feet of office could be constructed within the master plan. For comparison, Northwinds is approved for 2.8 million square feet of office on 260 acres and Avalon for 660,000 square feet on 86 acres."

The project could have 4,412 office workers, city planners say.

The request includes two low-rise, loft-style office buildings; 3-story, 200,000 square foot office building along Lakeview Parkway and a 2-story, 120,000 square foot office building near the lake. A third office building is proposed at the corner of Morrison Parkway and Lakeview Parkway and is six stories with 150,000 square feet.

An earlier plan for the site proposed a new 211-room hotel, but it has been eliminated from the newest plan.
Studio 216
Wright Runstad is about to jump north across Spring Boulevard. The planned Phase III of its 36-acre mixed-use Spring District project effectively began last month, with the signing of another lease agreement with Facebook.

The lease is for the planned Block 6 office building, which also just entered design review with the city of Bellevue. It’s addressed at 1646 123rd Ave. N.E., on the north side of Northeast Spring Boulevard, which is under construction.

Wright Runstad’s website confirms that Facebook has already leased Block 16 and Block 24, which are now under construction on the south side of Spring. Those two buildings will have about 515,000 square feet of offices (plus a little retail); Block 6 will add another 320,000 square feet or so.

All three buildings are designed by NBBJ. Turner Construction is building both Block 16, which is expected to open early next year, and Block 24, which could open in early 2021.

The Block 6 lease was signed in mid-October and recorded late that month. It’s for 15 years, with 12 years of subsequent renewal options. And there’s a right of first opportunity to buy the building if Wright Runstad opts to sell. The Block 16 and 24 leases have similar terms.

Broderick Group is Wright Runstad’s broker for all the office space; its third quarter Eastside report indicates that Block 6 could open in 2022. Wright Runstad already has its master use permit, also with NBBJ, for the whole project, so Block 6 design review won’t take that long.

In general, Phase I at the Spring District was the apartment component on its south end, at Northeast 12th Street. AMLI Residential and Security Properties have developed multiple buildings with almost 800 units. Retail and a child care center are also included.

North of that, Phase II includes Block 16, Block 24, REI’s headquarters (set to open next year), the GIX building (already open), the small creative office/brewpub building (soon), ancillary structures and park.

Ahead, Phase III could total around 1.5 million square feet of offices (including Block 6), along with apartments, a small retail/bike-parking pavilion, a hotel and more retail. (The exact mix and numbers are subject to change.)

The entire Spring District is thought to be a $2.3 billion project, with JPMorgan and Shorenstein Properties among its backers.
Sean Airhart
NBBJ returns to a 1989 Seattle project and creates a wow moment using parametric design and cardboard models. gn and cardboard models.

Parametric design and the geologic processes that formed the rock bluffs of the Puget Sound region may seem unrelated, but Seattle-based NBBJ senior associates Sarah Steen and Daniel Cockrell believe the processes share a—relative—independence from human hands. In creating a feature wall that abstracts the bluffs for the third-floor lobby renovation of the 56-story Two Union Square, also in Seattle, Steen says the designers aimed “to use technology in an unpredictable manner,” similar to the way tectonic activity is uncontrollable by humans.

The office tower, designed originally by NBBJ in 1989, features a curving reinforced concrete building core, which had been finished in a faceted wood veneer. NBBJ wrapped the core on the building's third floor in approximately 1,650 curved panels of pale travertine—selected due to its lightness in both color and weight—which were quarried and custom fabricated by the Poggi Brothers in Tivoli, Italy.

Because of the lobby’s prominence as the pinnacle of a grand staircase leading from the building’s first- and second-floor entrances, the architects saw a need for a focal point. “It just begs for something cool to be happening,” Steen says.

Instead of a surface treatment, the design team “started experimenting with something that could be part of the wall,” Steen says. They envisioned a sculptural element inspired by the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, “sharp and angular with peaks and valleys.”

Using Grasshopper and Rhino, the NBBJ team established a set of parameters that would maximize the number of triangular sizes and shapes in order to keep them as irregular as possible. Next, they “allowed the script to connect the dots and create this network of angles,” Steen says. “That’s how we arrived at the patterning.”

The result is a nearly 20-foot-tall by 20-foot-wide 3D sculptural ribbon of 415 fractal panels that cuts diagonally across the wall plane like a mountain range. (A smaller tectonic wall feature arises near the elevator bank.) The angular stone panels emerge seamlessly from the more conventional coursing of the rectilinear wall panels, creating a monolithic central element that simultaneously feels divorced from its heft, floating above the floor. This juxtaposition is amplified by the natural banding in the stone, which was preserved meticulously by NBBJ working with the Poggi Brothers and local stonemason Synergism Stone. “It’s laid up on the wall as it [appeared coming] out of the Earth,” Steen says.

Ranging in thickness from 1¼ inches to 3¼ inches, the fractal panels are effectively pinned into place through pre-drilled holes in their top and bottom edges. The holes accommodate steel dowels welded to bent steel plates that are screwed into horizontal strapping, which, in turn, is secured to an 8-inch-wide stud wall covered with gypsum wallboard.

Though the concept of an abstracted cliff face came early, the final design required much refinement. “We did a lot of lighting experiments to make sure that we weren’t protruding from the wall too far and creating too many shadows,” Steen says. “And we did a lot of cardboard mock-ups [following the modeling]. We went analog.”

The light tests, conducted by NBBJ’s internal lighting studio, revealed that the panels, when positioned under overhead illumination from a recessed light cove, only needed to rise a maximum of 2 inches outboard to achieve the desired relief. This was fortuitous since the existing structure had to bear the additional dead load of the travertine panels.

Other design considerations came from the material restraints of the stone. The most significant deviation from NBBJ's 3D model followed the construction of a full-scale mock-up in Italy, working with the Poggi Brothers and Synergism Stone. Some triangular stone panel vertices chipped during installation. “We realized some of our acute angles were a little too fragile,” Steen says, “so we applied another parameter or two to control those acute angles.” Vertices had to be greater than 25 degrees and NBBJ specified filled travertine for panels with the most acute angles.

NBBJ ran a final mock-up with the stone on-site in Seattle, testing every aspect of the process, from fabrication to shipping to installation. Because the firm planned to preserve the natural coursing in the travertine, sp
Ossip van Duivenbode
Combining playful design with contemporary architecture, Dutch firm MVRDV has just completed WERK12, a mixed-use development near Munich’s East Station that catches the eye with its bold and expressive art facade. Lifting verbal expressions from German versions of Donald Duck comics, the facade is punctuated with 5-meter-tall lettering that spell out words like ‘WOW’ and ‘HMPH.’ Located at the heart of the Werksviertel-Mitte district, the project is part of an urban regeneration plan to transform a former industrial site.

Spanning an area of 7,700 square meters, WERK12 features five floors occupied by restaurants and bars on the ground floor, the offices of Audi Business Innovations on the top floor, and a three-story gym facility in between with one story dedicated to an indoor swimming pool. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls wrap around the building to bring natural light and views of the city in. The line between interior and exterior is further blurred with the addition of external staircases that curl around the building and connect to 3.25-meter-wide outdoor terraces on each floor.

The bold facade was created in collaboration with local artists Christian Engelmann and Beate Engl. The lettering and the colloquial expressions are a nod to the area’s graffiti culture and use of signage. At night, the letters light up to create a “vibrant lightshow.” The five-meter-tall letters also span the height of each floor, which have extra-tall ceilings that allow for mezzanines or other level changes for greater flexibility.

“The area of the Werksviertel-Mitte district has already undergone such interesting changes, transforming from a potato factory to a legendary entertainment district,” says founding partner of MVRDV Jacob van Rijs. “With our design, we wanted to respect and celebrate that history, while also creating a foundation for the next chapter. WERK12 is stylish and cool on one hand, but on the other it doesn’t take itself so seriously – it’s not afraid to say ‘PUH’ to passers-by!”

Zero Hedge
The whole WeWork scheme is unraveling in realtime, and a new Financial Times (FT) report shows the epicenter of the implosion is in China.

The Chinese subsidiary of WeWork, valued at $5 billion in 2018, could be headed to zero in the quarters ahead. Why?

Well, sources have told FT that WeWork locations in China have been severely underperforming, to the extent that occupancy levels are absolutely disturbing.

"WeWork locations in Shanghai, where it has installed 43,600 desks, had a vacancy rate of 35.7% in October. In Shenzhen, where the company has 8,000 desks, 65.3% were vacant, while 22.1% of the group's 8,900 desks in Hong Kong sat unfilled. The company was also expanding in central China, with multiple offices in Xi'an. There, it suffered a vacancy rate of 78.5%."

Sources also said it's likely that WeWork will wind down operations in China in the coming quarters.

Earlier this week, we documented how the company is planning to cut as many as 4,000 jobs as part of an aggressive turnaround plan put in place by Japan's SoftBank after it took control of the shared office space company this week.

The SoftBank led turnaround is basically the bank throwing more good money into a black hole, in the attempt to raise occupancy rates above 90%.

As macroeconomic headwinds soar across the world, the ability for WeWork to survive in the next global recession is becoming unlikely.

WeWork's explosive push into emerging markets is one of the reasons the company is suffering. Management, definitely not keen on business cycles, over expanded in regions that are getting absolutely clobbered in the global synchronized slowdown. Some of these areas aren't just in China, but also in other parts of Asia and South America.

Several property groups in China told FT that WeWork operates out of 120 buildings in the country.

"There has been a lot of speculative office development [in China] and there is a high vacancy rate compared to Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo," said Jonathan Wright, head of shared workspaces in Asia for Colliers, a real estate company.

Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, said many of the Chinese cities WeWork expanded into in the last several years are currently seeing collapsing occupancy levels.

"Overall office leasing demand has recently softened in mainland China . . . [with] a general cost-saving strategy adopted by most tenants given ongoing trade tensions and economic growth slowdown," said Catherine Chen, a researcher with Cushman.

So the problem with WeWork is that it overexpanded in emerging markets, like China, when central banks injected trillions of dollars into the global economy at around 2016. Explosive credit creation by central banks around the world led to a powerful upswing in the global economy where WeWork looked like geniuses in 2017/18. But it was only when the artificial cycle started to turn, the world caught a cold and entered a synchronized global downturn in late 2018, where emerging markets were slaughtered, and anything WeWork built was turned into a non-preforming asset overnight.

WeWork has entered the restructuring stage, which means if it wants to survive the incoming global trade recession, it must cut its China subsidiary and the rest of its emerging markets portfolio or face bankruptcy. If WeWork folds in 2020, so could SoftBank...
RE Journals
For over 20 years, it sat vacant and imposing, overlooking the westerly approach to Downtown Chicago. Now the Old Post Office is nearly ready to welcome its first office tenants to an adaptive reuse that has implications beyond the building’s footprint.

New-York-based 601W Companies has sunk more than $800 million into the 2.8-million-square-foot, Art Deco behemoth. Now, those redevelopment efforts are paying off as one of the properties numerous prominent tenants, Ferrara Candy, prepares to officially move in on November 4th.

“Superlatives are very easy to use with the Post Office,” said Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, which has been advising 601W and marketing the property to potential tenants. “It’s the largest post office ever built, the largest redevelopment going on in the nation and the largest adaptive reuse of a historic structure.”

601W Companies acquired the iconic property in 2016 and tapped architecture firm Gensler to draw up a vision for the building’s second life, including the addition of a forthcoming food hall and a new Riverwalk. A four-acre, tenant-accessible rooftop park will feature a basketball court, two paddle courts, a quarter-mile running track, a bar and plenty of green space. Bear Construction was selected as general contractor for the monumentous project.

“There were literally thousands of people who have invested their heart and soul into the adaptive reuse and reposition of this building,” said Sheryl Schulze, NCIDQ, RID, principal at Gensler, “a building that the project team affectionately calls ‘sleeping beauty.’”

Now that the building is ready to awaken from its slumber, it brings with it the potential to rejuvenate a part of the city that is itself sleepy: the near South and Southwest Loop. With this redevelopment—as well as the projects happening along the South Branch of the Chicago River—there are signs of stirring.

Office tenants should be attracted to a newly revitalized area of the city. In the case of the Old Post Office, they are attracted to not only the historic touches, but the large floor plates. Ferrara originally signed on for 78,000 square feet but leased another 40,000 square feet before the ink was even dry on that deal. They pulled the trigger on the additional space in part because of the opportunities for collaboration that the Old Post Office offers.

“It was important to be on one floor for Ferrara’s culture,” said Theresa Williams, principal, design director at Nelson, the architecture firm that designed Ferrara’s offices. “It also helps everyone to see each other, to have those spontaneous moments to run into each other.”

This is a homecoming of sorts for Ferrara, which was founded not far away in Little Italy in 1908. One of the main drivers behind the confectioner’s move of approximately 400 employees from their Oakbrook Terrace offices back to Chicago was that they believe the property will attract young, innovative employees.

“One of the reasons we made this decision to relocate to downtown Chicago was because of access to a tremendous pool of diverse talent,” said Todd Siwak, chief executive officer of Ferrara Candy. “We are going to use our space to attract and retain talent.”

By the time construction is completed next year, the Old Post Office will be capable of housing up to 14,000 employees. More than 75 percent of the building’s space has been pre-leased, accounting for over 1.8 million square feet. The project should be an engine for relocation as well; according to Whiting, only about half of the employees that are projected to eventually occupy the building are currently in the city of Chicago.

Walgreens was the first user to commit to the building, announcing last summer that they would take on more than 200,000 square feet. Tech giant Uber is the largest confirmed tenant so far, as they signed a 10-year lease for 450,000 square feet. Among the others that will eventually occupy the Old Post Office are Cboe, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, AbelsonTaylor and Kroger subsidiaries Home Chef and 84.51°.

The original post office was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White—the prolific Chicago architectural firm behind many of the city’s icons, including the Civic Opera House, Field Museum, the Merchandise Mart, Shedd Aquarium and the Wrigley Building. Th
Connie Zhou
The Mark is a 750,000 SF, 48-story commercial office and hotel tower that’s reshaping the Seattle skyline, and designed to preserve the historic Jacobean-style Rainier Club and the nation’s oldest Byzantine-style church next door. Utilizing a compact footprint at ground level, the tower subtly slopes over the site’s existing structures before tapering back through a precise system of steel “knuckles” and triangulated building planes.

Preserving and incorporating the First United Methodist Church into the new development, the tower rises from the city block with a faceted form. At the tower’s base, a transparent entrance lobby and lower level facade integrates with The Sanctuary and The Rainier Club to provide an enclosed court between buildings. With 15,000 square feet available on The Mark’s first floor, the floorplates needed to expand on subsequent levels to maximize leasing potential. Through a joint development agreement with The Rainier Club, ‘over-under’ property rights are utilized. It is Seattle’s first tower with column-free floors and floor-to-ceiling windows—more per square foot than in any other building in the city.

At the heart of the tower is a diagonal steel mega-brace system. The exposed braces zigzag up the tower’s facade and are embedded 11 inches into its reflective glazing. The intersections of the braces are called “the knuckles,” where brace members were initially bolted and finished with penetration welds. The knuckles are a result of the desire to stitch the building together along its corners, even though the design also mandated that the same corners be column-free. Every knuckle had to occur at a floor level, so that forces from braces on two orthogonal faces could be resolved into the floor structure.

The structural system shifts the load away from the core and to the exterior walls, allowing for a smaller core and creating more rentable floor space. ZGF and Arup worked with steel fabricator Supreme Steel to create the knuckles with a Halfen anchoring system for the building’s unitized panels. Supreme Steel developed a detailed three-dimensional model showing all of the welds and plates. The mega-brace structural technology enveloping The Mark is a first for towers in high-seismic regions.

The design optimizes building height, configuration and floor plate efficiency while responding to the owner’s vision for an iconic addition to downtown Seattle’s skyline. Allyn Stellmacher, a partner at ZGF Architects, talked about what it meant to rethink tall buildings in the city. “Our client, Kevin Daniels, envisioned a project that could reset expectations for high-rises in Seattle. Alongside our project partners, it was gratifying to help make our mark on the skyline.”

ZGF associate Henry Zimmerman and Arup associate Bryce Tanner will be presenting The Mark on the panel”Thinking Outside the Box: Detailing and Fabrication Considerations for Advanced Building Geometries,” at The Architect’s Newspaper’s upcoming Facades+ Seattle conference on December 6.
Make room, Brickell. Another Miami neighborhood is making a run at the lucrative market of prime office space.

Three new Class A office buildings — new or renovated construction featuring luxurious amenities, professional security, high-tech infrastructure and desirable locations — are either under construction or nearing completion in the historic Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove:

▪ The Related Group, the biggest real estate developer in South Florida, is building a new eight-story Class A office building at 2850 Tigertail Ave., adjacent to the Park Grove luxury residential towers, which Related developed in joint partnership with Terra Group.

Related will relocate from its longtime home base in downtown Miami and take over the top two floors of the 105,000-square-foot building. Construction is scheduled to be completed in late 2020.

▪ Mary Street, a joint venture between Terra and the boutique luxury brokerage firm Mayfair Advisors, has received its temporary certificate of occupancy, which allows tenants to begin the build-outs of their individual spaces.

The five-story building, located at 3310 Mary St. and designed by Touzet Studio architectural firm, is an adaptive reuse of a former parking garage into 77,840 square feet of office space. The building is already leased out. The CPA firm Kaufman Rossin will move nearly 300 employees into 64,666 square feet of space in the building by mid-2020. Terra’s corporate office will occupy the remaining space.

▪ One CocoWalk, the five-story Class A building that forms the office component of the redeveloped CocoWalk, has leased out 65 percent of its available 85,762 square feet. Signed tenants include the co-working company Spaces, which will occupy the second and third floors with its ready-to-go office spaces, and the investment firm Boyne Capital, which will occupy 11,600 square feet.

The Related Group’s decision to relocate its corporate headquarters is surprising, since the company is best known for its extensive development in the Brickell and downtown corridors. But Related Group CEO and chairman Jorge Pérez has long made the Grove his primary residence, and his company has outgrown its longtime headquarters at the base of the One Miami condo towers at 315 S. Biscayne Blvd., which Related built in 2006.

“We had already expanded to additional office spaces at 444 Brickell Avenue,” said Nick Pérez, vice-president of The Related Group. “Brickell and the downtown area will always be the main urban cores of Miami. But the Grove has a unique personality — it was the original neighborhood of Miami — and we’ve always had a connection with this area, as professionals as well as a family.”

Perez said that unlike the company’s other projects, which are usually launched with a splashy ad campaign, construction of the 2850 Tigertail office building began without fanfare. The property is being marketed via a “whisper leasing campaign” using one-on-one appointments with brokers and tenants, to be as selective as possible.

“This building is boutique in nature,” he said. “We want tenants who have an appreciation of fine art — my father’s collection will be rotated in and out of the lobby — but also wants exclusivity and luxury.”

Unlike other office markets around Miami-Dade, Coconut Grove developers can afford to take a soft-sell approach with their product, because the Grove’s zoning codes do not allow for the kind of height and density that would result in a critical amount of oversupply.

According to the Colliers International Miami-Dade County Office Forecast report for second quarter 2019, more Class A office space was vacated (added to the market) in the Grove than was leased during the second quarter of 2019. But the surplus was only 4,398 square feet, which is modest compared to other areas such as Kendall, which had a surplus of 32,574 square feet.

Unlike other office markets around Miami-Dade, Coconut Grove developers can afford to take a soft-sell approach with their product, because the Grove’s zoning codes do not allow for the kind of height and density that would result in a critical amount of oversupply.

According to the Colliers International Miami-Dade County Office Forecast report for second quarter 2019, more Class A office space was vacated (added to the market) in the Grove than was
Max Touhey
This week, Gensler principals Robert Fuller and Amanda Carroll revealed the firm’s nearly completed revitalization of a former Jehovah’s Witness complex in Brooklyn for Columbia Heights Associates, a joint venture of CIM Group and LIVWRK. Located at the Northwest edge of Brooklyn Heights, Panorama, the name of the commercial development, comprises five interconnected buildings: a pair of 12-story concrete structures originally designed by Russell and William Cory for Squibb Pharmaceuticals (one of them with a 1980s steel addition), and three smaller Civil War-era brick and timber buildings.

As reimagined by the architects the complex will accommodate a variety of potential programs: a campus for a single tech company or offices for several creative businesses, in addition to restaurants, shops and other amenities, such as a fitness center.

The design team created gracious new entrances with spacious wood-clad lobbies, and they opened the previously dark, carved-up interiors, removing film from windows, punching fenestration into blank facades and breaking through dropped ceilings to reveal skylights and clearstories. The generous properties now offer 635,000 square feet of day-lit workspace, 55,000 square feet of terraced and street-level outdoor areas, and 130 on-site parking spaces. An additional 35,000 square feet are planned for retail and 15,000 for hospitality venues. Dark-fiber internet connectivity throughout the project will fast-forward the old buildings to fulfill 21st century requirements.

The views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular, as are the stripped-down, industrial-style floor plates with exposed structures, fluid interconnectivity within the properties and access to fresh air. It won’t be long before a gracious stair to the street at the rear of one of the older buildings will welcome the community (and tourists) to sit or visit shops on the second level or even snap a selfie on a cantilevered platform that hovers above the landing and provides panoramas of the waterfront and beyond. Panorama will be completed, and ready for tenants, fall 2019.
Benjamin Minnick
When finished in August 2020, the 850-foot-tall building will be the city's second-tallest skyscraper.

Workers on Thursday raised the final steel beam into place atop the 58-story Rainier Square tower at Fifth Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle.

A news release from developer Wright Runstad & Co. says ironworkers and other tradespeople have put in 500,000 hours of labor so far on the $570 million project. When finished in August 2020, the 850-foot-tall building will be the city's second-tallest skyscraper, below the 933-foot-tall Columbia Center.

Rainier Square will have 722,000 square feet of office space, 191 luxury apartments on floors 39 through 58, nearly 80,000 square feet of retail space and a seven-level underground parking garage. Apartments will be available in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, with penthouse units on the top.

Runstad says it will be one of the largest mixed-use buildings in the country, at 1.17 million square feet.

Amazon leased all of the project's office space, but earlier this year decided to sublease instead of occupy it. Much of the retail space will be taken by a 20,000-square-foot PCC Community Market and an Equinox fitness club. Runstad says additional tenants will be announced closer to opening.

Apartment marketing is expected to start early next year.

The project is on the north half of the block, where the old Rainier Square shopping center once stood. The building's east facade slopes up to its 40th floor.

Structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates designed a unique concrete-filled composite plate sheer wall core for the building. The system allowed workers to assemble two floors per week. MKA says the system uses two steel plates connected by steel cross ties that are then filled with high-strength concrete — there's no rebar.

Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor and NBBJ is the architect.

Runstad has an 80-year ground lease on the site from owner University of Washington.

Most of the project's financing is coming from a U.S. pension fund advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
MVRDV has unveiled designs for the Green Villa, a striking mixed-use building draped in greenery for the Dutch village of Sint-Michielsgestel. Created in collaboration with Van Boven Architecten, the four-story Green Villa will be located on the town’s southern edge and will use a grid “rack” system to host a wide variety of potted plants, bushes and trees, including the likes of forsythia, jasmine, pine and birch. The project will be a landmark project for the village and will promote sustainability with improved biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

Located on a corner lot next to the Dommel River, the 1,400-square-meter Green Villa will house a new ground-floor office space for real estate developer and client, Stein, as well as five apartments on the three floors above in addition to underground parking. The building shape relates to the existing urban fabric with its adoption of the mansard roof shape used on the neighboring buildings. A new architectural typology is also put forth with the use of a strikingly lush facade that will help the structure blend in with the nearby river, fields and trees.

“This design is a continuation of our research into ‘facade-less’ buildings and radical greening,” explained Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The idea from the nineties of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’: as will be shown soon in a book by The Why Factory with the same title, we should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery. Plants and trees can help us to offset CO2 emissions, cool our cities and promote biodiversity.”

“This design is a continuation of our research into ‘facade-less’ buildings and radical greening,” explained Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The idea from the nineties of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’: as will be shown soon in a book by The Why Factory with the same title, we should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery. Plants and trees can help us to offset CO2 emissions, cool our cities and promote biodiversity.”

The Green Villa will be defined by a square grid four bays wide and three bays deep, in which modules for bedrooms and living spaces will slot inside. The facade will be made up of a “rack” of shelves of varying depths to support a “three-dimensional arboretum,” and each plant will have its own nameplate with additional information. The plants will be watered year-round with a sensor-controlled irrigation system that uses recycled rainwater. Construction is scheduled to start in 2020.

Laurian Ghinitoiu
The Opus in Dubai by Zaha Hadid Architects, a mixed-use building formed of conjoined towers with a irregular void in the middle, is almost ready to open.

Set in the Burj Khalifa district, the Opus will be Dubai's only building which has both the interior and exterior designed by the late Zaha Hadid, who founded Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).

Hotel interiors for the ME Dubai hotel are currently being fitted out, for the scheduled opening in 2020. The 20-storey development from Omniyat will also house 12 restaurants and a rooftop bar, as well as office spaces.

Two glazed adjacent 100-metre-high towers form a cube shape, with a curving eight-storey void that appears as if it has been carved from its centre.

These towers are connected by a four-storey atrium ground level and an asymmetric sky-bridge that is 38-metres wide and three storeys tall, suspended 71 metres from the ground.

"The design conveys the remarkably inventive quality of ZHA's work," said Mahdi Amjad, CEO of Omniyat.

"[It] expresses a sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior."

The designs were first unveiled in 2007 by Hadid, who died in 2016. It was originally due to complete in 2018, but was pushed back due to construction delays.

Designs for the Opus' interiors, which were unveiled at the 2014 London Design Festival, include sculptural balconies, angular beds, and a sculpture of dangling glass balls in the lobby.

The Opus will be located near the Burj Khalifa, the 828-metre-high supertall skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill that remains unchallenged for the title of the world's tallest building.

ZHA recently completed another hotel with a curving void, the Morpheus in Macau. Three holes punctuate the middle of the Morpheus, which uses an innovative exoskeleton construction so that the hotel interiors remain uncluttered by supporting walls or columns.
Interior Design Media
Stadium seating adds playfulness and versatility to office projects big and small.

1. Tsao & McKown Lets History Shine at Sunbrella’s North Carolina Headquarters

Naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th–century former mill they owned across the street from a building Sunbrella shared with its parent company, Glen Raven. Beyond the new glass-and-steel curtain wall, a 46-foot-wide swath of pine stadium seating fills the lobby. Cushions covers rotate a selection of Sunbrella fabrics. Read more about the headquarters

2. Nike Ups Its Street Cred in NYC With a New Office by Studios Architecture

Few things are more city-gritty than chain link, and Nike is intent on burnishing its street cred, which Studios Architecture principal David Burns and associate principal Frank Gesualdi were amped to do in collaboration with Nike’s workplace design team. For Nike, the wide-open expanses offered the promise of a “freestyle” work environment. For Studios, the unfinished features were appealingly reflective of the character of New York. Read more about the office

3. Rottet Studio Makes Design the Star at the Los Angeles Office of Paradigm

“Light and movement.” That’s what Sam Gores said he wanted to see upon entering his office in Los Angeles. And when the chairman and CEO of Paradigm Talent Agency asks for something, that is precisely what he gets—particularly when the project is designed by Rottet Studio. The greatest challenge was reimagining the 30-year-old building. The device that encouraged community was the insertion of a central stair atrium. Pictured above, the stairs rising from reception’s sitting area offer additional seating on vinyl-covered cushions. Read more about the office

4. Rapt Studio Makes TV Studio Turner’s Atlanta Campus a Must-See

“It was all just cubes and walkways,” Rapt CEO and chief creative officer David Galullo recalls of initial visits to the Turner campus. At first, Rapt considered a standard program for each building: office floors, a café, and a coffee shop. But that plan was scrapped. “We instead decided to entirely re-imagine the site,” Galullo states. “It became about making place.” The team focused its work on 100,000 of the project’s 1 million square feet: in two of the buildings, the seven-story garage, and two courtyards, the purview extending to graphics, art direction, and food service. Read more about the campus

5. Roar's Pallavi Dean Uses Color Psychology to Define Work Spaces at Edelman's Dubai Offices

While the 11,000-square-foot floor plan of Edelman’s office is open to encourage collaboration, Roar created a concept of “cultural villages” to serve a range of functions, inserting phone booths and small meeting rooms for quiet, heads-down work. There are playful environments for the millennial employees, and more refined spaces for senior managers and important clients. The workplace is further delineated by color: The royal blue of Edelman’s logo defines reception, IT is marked by a calming green, the creative team by an energizing yellow. Read more about the office

Mark Herboth
Asheville, North Carolina

Expensive, inconvenient, daunting, even painful: perceptions of orthodontic treatment can run the gamut of negative emotions, for adult and younger patients alike. The design of a new office in Asheville, North Carolina, helps alleviate those stresses, presenting clients with a calm, soothing environment that highlights the region’s natural beauty.

For a prominent 1.3-acre site located on the city’s main thoroughfare, Dr. Luke Roberts commissioned Clark Nexsen to design a flagship treatment and administrative space for his growing practice. (Roberts acquired the property, which housed a McDonald’s restaurant for 40 years, the year before construction began.) The architect, with a modernist sensibility and 10 offices throughout the mid-Atlantic and southern U.S. (including one in downtown Asheville), is well acquainted with the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, for which the project is named. The firm delivered a 7,500-square-foot L-shaped building that frames views of the verdant landscape while separating patient areas from the new business office that serves Roberts’s three locations.

The glass-and-steel structure opens to a 300-square-foot landscaped bioswale where birds, chipmunks, and other wildlife cavort. Says project architect Dorothea Schulz, “A very early image for me was of being out on a porch. If you have the feeling that you’re outside,” she continues, “then your orthodontist appointment is less of a chore—actually, a very relaxing experience.” The upward-tilting roof supported by wood rafters has a deep overhang, and the ample glazing, reaching almost 13 feet high, lends a pavilion-like quality to the building, which is embedded in low walls of fieldstone. Roberts sees the design as a modern reinterpretation of the historic visitor centers that dot the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Building something on the main road in Asheville, I wanted to contribute to the community, not just put up something quick,” he says.

In a gesture to the local vernacular, the palette of natural materials on the exterior carries through to the interior. Planks of radiata pine extend from the ceiling to the roof soffit, which reaches a height of more than 14 feet. A striking curved ribbon wall picks up on the warm tones: at 9 feet high and 4 inches thick in most places, the serpentine insertion is made from 136 sheets of horizontally stacked poplar plywood. It defines the areas most trafficked by patients and wraps around the reception desk and waiting area, continuing into the primary treatment space. There, cabinets, sinks, and open pass-throughs for sanitized medical implements are discreetly contained within and behind the striated millwork. “We wanted to incorporate any kind of function that we could along the way,” says Schulz. “The wall became this very malleable element.”

Most orthodontic work takes place in an open bay, although there are small single patient rooms around the perimeter of the structure for procedures (or patients) requiring more privacy. Roberts calls the open configuration “extraordinarily typical” for his type of practice, since orthodontia is usually minimally invasive. “This layout makes patients—and especially the younger ones—feel more comfortable, because they’re not alone,” he explains. “They see other kids around them going through the same thing, and no one’s screaming, no one’s crying.” Ten chairs, arranged along perpendicular window walls at the bend of the L-shaped building, look out onto the bioswale.

The calming environment works for parents and children alike, and, although some 65 percent of the practice’s clients are kids, there are no iPads or other screens to occupy young minds; instead, each chair has a basket with binoculars and bird and plant identification guides. “A lot of moms prefer to come somewhere that doesn’t have televisions blasting,” says Roberts, who notes that women make about 80 percent of health-care decisions for households. “So, yes, it was part of the idea to have them focus on the outdoors.”

The glazing that encloses much of the structure has a slightly reflective coating, which reduces heat gain and obscures views from the outside in. In concert with abundant daylighting, adjustable LED fixtures, suspended high above the chairs, provide all the visibility doctors need—no additional headlamps or task lighting required, per Roberts’s request. “We stu
ZGF Architects LLP
ZGF is analyzing how employees use its Seattle office with computer-vision software

ZGF Architects LLP is testing a computer-vision system in house to see if the technology can help it design office space better. If the pilot goes well, the firm plans to offer the service to clients.

The Portland, Ore.-based architectural firm, which has done work for Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Stanford University, assesses how clients use office space through surveys and staff observations. It is turning to computer vision to collect more-granular details on how people move around and use amenities. The hope is that more accurate data will allow the firm to make informed decisions on how wide stairways should be or the size and number of conference rooms a client needs, for instance.

“Being able to quantify what needs to go into building—rather than roughing it or building something bigger than it needs to be—means we can be more precise about how we design things,” said Dane Stokes, who leads the five-person ZGF computational design team that’s managing the pilot at the company’s Seattle office.

The computer-vision system under testing currently consists of four cameras that feed footage into object-recognition software.

The company has been moving those cameras around hallways and 12 conference rooms in a 39,000-square-foot office spread across two floors and connected by two stairways. It is testing the optimal placement for counting people and assessing the system’s effectiveness in recognizing objects such as office chairs and cellphones.

ZGF’s computer-vision trial illustrates how businesses are discovering new uses for artificial intelligence.

Very few architectural firms tap computer vision to analyze how office space is used, said Stanislas Chaillou, an architect and data scientist at Oslo-based property-technology company Spacemaker. The move could give ZGF a competitive edge, particularly when bidding on remodeling projects, he added.

“And as the space is being analyzed and the client sees that there is value to remodel the space, then that firm will be the company they call,” Mr. Chaillou said.

Computer-vision systems use machine learning to identify images. ZGF is using open-source software programs OpenCV and YOLO, which recognize thousands of objects such as humans and electronic devices up to roughly 50 feet away from the camera. The data is then fed into a visualization program that creates a 3-D representation of the space, its objects and occupants and their movement.

ZGF is working on integrating data from the computer-vision system with information collected from workers, including their feedback on environmental factors such as lighting and acoustics and their satisfaction about the availability of amenities such as conference rooms. The feedback will give ZGF architects a more complete picture of how people utilize and feel about a space.

One challenge the company is working through is getting its employees to trust the system, Mr. Stokes said, given the public concerns about intelligent cameras and privacy. Mr. Stokes said the system doesn’t utilize facial recognition; it only identifies people as “humans.” It also doesn’t record video: the system analyzes footage in real time but doesn’t save the images it captures, only the related data. To help allay any concerns during the internal trial, Mr. Stokes said he gave employees a demonstration of the system’s capabilities.

Even with all those steps, he said, clients may be hesitant to opt in to the system. “Working with clients is going to be interesting,” he said. “We’re trying to answer questions with our own staff so that we can speak more confidently about deploying it in our client spaces.”

He added: “As we go through this quest to learn more about how our spaces work, we’ve learned the ethics of how we should track that data [and] how we can get a better data set without compromising people’s comfort about the technology. We don’t want to get all ‘Big Brother’ on people.”

This summer, ZGF plans to launch an external trial on an undisclosed university-affiliated research center it designed, which has about 80,000 square feet of labs, classrooms and collaboration spaces.
The Coven
Measuring the impact of The Wing, WeWork, the Coven, and other spaces selling a better workspace

As coworking continues to grow and expand—industry giant WeWork is in the midst of planning for an IPO and social clubs like The Wing double as work and networking spaces—selling community has become a big business.

By definition, the appeal of coworking is about community, something more personal than the office cubicle, and less haphazard than a table at a coffee shop. As Curbed’s Diana Budds wrote, “coworking spaces have always emphasized ‘community’ wielding the word in an ambiguous and increasingly meaningless way to hint at an informal camaraderie.”

But increasingly, these for-profit enterprises—which, in many cases, are charging significant membership fees in excess of $200 a month, often a large expense for those most in need of inclusive spaces—are trying to tap into the value of truly building more diverse, equitable, and uplifting communities. Community is something that everybody can claim. But can these new office spaces, especially ones with an implicitly feminist mission, actually improve access to opportunity and upward mobility by tackling the inequality uncovered by corporate diversity reports? Or are these promises of community simply a new addition to the “we hustle harder and do better” sales pitch?

“I truly believe femme forward isn’t just a moment we’re having with #MeToo and Time’s Up, isn’t just a flash in a pan,” says Alex Steinman, co-founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based, female-focused coworking space The Coven. “This is a real movement that will lead to something bigger, brighter, a more femme-forward economy, and we’re already seeing that shift and that change. We see all these coworking spaces popping up that are femme forward as good news. We want other such spaces to open because we can’t do this work alone. We don’t talk about them as competitors, we talk about them as comparable businesses. I don’t think it’s tiring, or, like, pinkwashing razors or pens.”

Increasing access to opportunity

When Steinman began formulating the vision for a new business with her three cofounders, coworking wasn’t necessarily the end goal.

Steinman, along with fellow advertising industry veterans Bethany Iverson, Liz Giel, and Erinn Farrell, had banded together around the vision of diversity, but were sobered by the reality of the slow pace of change. After collaborating on diversity initiatives in the advertising industry, and regularly gathering hundreds of colleagues and coworkers to discuss gender equity and the pay gap—they were part of a group called Minneapolis MadWomen, named after the TV show—they became frustrated that their ideals didn’t necessarily translate into increased funding for the kind of support and training that helps marginalized groups like women and people of color move up the career ladder.

“We weren’t seeing the investment we wanted, so we decided to create the world we wanted,” Steinman tells Curbed. “As a woman of color myself, as you start to awaken to the inequalities happening to you and your counterparts, and you can’t unsee them. You have to do something about it, or just ignore it. I can’t just live and let live.”

They initially expected they’d create a nonprofit community space. But after interviewing more than 100 area women about what they wanted and what they needed, they arrived at The Coven, a 5,000-foot space that opened last year offering “coffee shop-style coworking.” The audience they wanted to serve needed a space for freelance work, and an area to grow their side hustle, as Steinman puts it. Those looking to start their own businesses can come to the Coven to find support and encouragement. It’s a “hive mind” that can help them weather the storms of working for themselves.

Selling a more equitable community

Both the Coven and The Wing see providing free membership to disadvantaged groups as perhaps the most direct way to shape and improve the community. By helping more women tap into the network effect of bringing people together as a way to increase opportunity and diversity, informal meetings and shared spaces beget change, and access begets advancement.

The Coven has provided 137 community-funded memberships, roughly 20 percent of the company’s roughly 500 total memberships since the company opened last year. Applicants fill out a quick application, asking which
Garrett Rowland
Perkins+Will has overhauled the North American headquarters of consumer goods company Unilever, with new communal areas designed to help employees forget they're in a suburban office park.

British-Dutch manufacturer Unilever has long had its North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, just across the river from New York City.

But increasingly, the company has needed a more dynamic work environment to help recruit employees.

rchitecture firm Perkins+Will was charged with rethinking the corporate campus, which accommodates about 1,450 employees and several hundred independent contractors.

The goal was to create a showpiece headquarters that would be "smart, sustainable and Instagram-ready – with a feeling like you were in Manhattan".

Rather that razing the site and starting fresh, the architects chose to renovate four existing rectilinear buildings. They also added a lofty central atrium that rises 40 feet (12 metres) on the site of a former courtyard.

"The 325,000-square-foot renovation included interiors, as well as the construction of an entry pavilion and common area that stitched together the open space between individual buildings to create an entirely new, enclosed structure," said the firm.

The existing buildings, which date back to the 1960s and 70s, are completely revamped.

Traditional, cellular layouts are replaced with open workspaces, huddle rooms and lounges. Because there are no assigned desks, lockers have also been added, providing employees with a secure place for their belongings.

The central volume houses The Marketplace, where employees can shop, work and socialise. The vast, light-filled space features cafe tables and a giant staircase that doubles as seating.

Additional amenities at the campus include coffee stations, a fitness centre, a hair salon and a cafeteria.

Throughout the facility, concrete floors and exposed ceilings give interior spaces an industrial look. Wooden decor and eclectic furnishings help soften the atmosphere. In one area, the team created a living room, complete with a fireplace set within a brick wall.

The building features a range of smart technologies, including thousands of sensors that measure light, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and human presence.

"The final building design incorporates smart technologies by EDGE that record data and automate the building's features and functions, including internet-of-things systems that enable the building to learn from occupants' behaviours and remember their preferences," the team said.

In addition to the smart systems, the building's sustainable elements include solar panels and ample natural light.

During construction, 75 per cent of the construction material was diverted away from landfills. To help reduce car usage by employees, the company offers a shuttle service from New York City, Hoboken and Jersey City.
Building Enclosure
The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has set an ambitious goal: to become a Net Zero Energy airport. One of the ways this airport is achieving this is by incorporating renewable energy technologies into new buildings, including the Consolidated Administration Campus (CAC), which is Net Zero Energy capable. The 135,000 square foot building was designed by two architectural firms, Perkins + Will and Mark Cavagnero Associates.

To contribute to sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, more than 55,000 square feet of BENCHMARK Designwall 2000 Architectural Wall Panels from Kingspan were selected.

Kingspan’s Designwall 2000 panels contain polyisocyanurate foam core insulation that has been GREENGUARD Gold certified, so they have been third-party tested to ensure that their components are not harmful to building occupants and do not adversely impact indoor environment quality (IEQ). The GREENGUARD Gold certification can help earn credits for LEED certification, Green Guide for Health Care, Green Globes and other rating programs.

“The building is net zero energy capable with a modeled energy use intensity score of 25, so the internal systems and exterior envelope were designed holistically to support those goals,” said Sarah Rege, senior project manager at Perkins + Will.

SFO’s CAC building was awarded LEED Gold status by the United States Green Building Council. That designation is a high priority for SFO, as it is aiming to become a net zero energy campus by 2021. If successful, it will be the world’s first net zero energy airport campus.

The insulated metal panels were installed both horizontally and vertically on the exterior walls as well as soffits. The design called for an extensive use of extrusions; more than 700 were used on the base, walls, corners and parapet of the building. In addition to extrusions, approximately 4,000 feet of flashing was used to give the CAC building a finished, modern look.

“Insulated metal panels provide an ideal exterior cladding to meet a very high energy conservation target for this project,” said Kang Kiang, partner at Mark Cavagnero Associates. “Additionally, the panels provide exceptional acoustic insulation properties, ideal for a site with close adjacency to traffic and plane noise.”

The SFO Consolidated Administration Campus (CAC) houses workers from four departments – administration, landside, terminal and airside operations. The CAC is also home to the SFO Museum, common areas, retail shops and a café.

“We have a 5,000-acre campus with an asset portfolio of over 14.5 million square feet, across nearly 70 buildings that currently consume 440GWh of energy each year. If we can get to zero, what’s stopping others?” said SFO’s Chief Development Officer Geoff Neumayr.
British brand Established & Sons has launched four new furniture designs, which design director Sebastian Wrong describes as the "bread and butter" pieces for the future workplace.

Debuting at Clerkenwell Design Week in London this week, the range includes a modular seating system by French duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, two tables by German designer Konstantin Grcic and a lounge seat designed by Wrong.

All four pieces were developed around the idea that the line between home and office is blurring, with people seeking more comfort in the workplace, but also looking to create spaces for work within their homes.

"The working environment is becoming much more interesting," said Wrong, speaking to Dezeen at the launch.

"It's way more eclectic and more creative than it used to be, with co-working spaces popping up all over the place, becoming more and more like people's homes. They are demanding a level of quality and character, and this is a thing that Established & Sons can really fit into."

Wrong said that today's office furniture needs to be flexible, comfortable and informal, as well as functional.

"The working environment is no longer about meeting rooms, task chairs and desk systems," he said.

"I want to really move away from this compartmentalisation of products being for either residential or working."

The most striking piece in the range is Grid, a modular seating system based around an L-shaped or U-shaped module, comprising a powder-coated steel frame and larch wood shelves.

Designed by Erwan Bouroullec, Grid can be customised with a wide range of elements, including small and large upholstered seats, desks for standing or sitting at, and shelves.

The sides are metal grids, but could be replaced with wooden privacy screens or fabric acoustic panels.

"Erwan wanted something that was very raw, very elemental, which is what it is," said Wrong.

"There's a number of different elements that are coming into play with this piece which I think makes it really interesting and also very versatile," he continued. "With this idea of the grid, you can have rooms within rooms."

The first piece by Grcic, KD, is a very simple table with demountable steel legs and a tabletop in either high-pressure laminate or a scratch-resistant surface material called Fenix.

It is the evolution of a design that Grcic developed for Wrong's own brand Wrong Shop in 2011. "It's extremely simple, super useful," said Wrong.
Related Santa Clara, one of the largest projects in the Bay Area, plans to create over 9 million square feet of offices, housing, hotels and retail on 240 acres next to Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Developer Related Cos. intends to start construction next year on the $8 billion project, previously known as CityPlace Santa Clara, which survived dueling lawsuits between Santa Clara and its neighbor, San Jose. The first phase is set to open in 2023.

In a battle over Silicon Valley’s future growth, San Jose sued Santa Clara in 2016 and alleged that the project, which includes 5.4 million square feet of office space and 1,680 housing units, would lead to more housing demand and additional traffic in San Jose.

In response to San Jose’s lawsuit, Santa Clara sued to block Santana Row, a large office project planned in San Jose. The two cities settled both lawsuits last year, allowing both Related Santa Clara and Santana Row to be built in exchange for payments to both cities to fund transit improvements.

The clash underscored Silicon Valley’s growing pains amid the red-hot economy, powered by big tech companies like Google, which plans to build a giant campus in San Jose, and Apple, which leased space in Santa Clara last year. Job growth has far outpaced new housing, with the Bay Area adding 14,900 new homes in 2017 compared to 52,700 jobs, according to government data.

The amount of housing was limited at Related Santa Clara because the site was previously used as landfill and required additional environmental approvals, according to Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor. She said other parts of the city will add more housing, such as the adjacent Tasman East area, where 4,500 units are planned.

The project will replace an underused golf course at 5155 Stars and Stripes Drive, she said. Legal challenges aren’t fully resolved: David’s Restaurant, a tenant on the site, is fighting a city eviction and use of eminent domain.


Did you know you can access The Chronicle’s photo archives?

Crowds arrive early on opening day of the Golden Gate International Exposition. Feb. 18, 1939.
Stephen Eimer, a Related executive vice president, said the developer was attracted to the site because of its proximity to transit from the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority and Amtrak and Altamont Corridor Express trains. VTA light rail trains will connect to Caltrain stations in Mountain View and San Jose and a soon-to-open BART station in Milpitas. (The project website confusingly notes that BART is coming to the city of Santa Clara in 2025. While technically true, that station is 6 miles from the stadium area and will not offer convenient transit connections.)

The project will generate $17 million in annual taxes and fees and create 25,000 jobs. It includes 170 affordable housing units. An additional 700 hotel rooms are planned.
Terreform ONE
Terreform ONE

The Monarch Sanctuary (Lepidoptera terrarium) will be eight stories of new commercial construction in Nolita, NYC. Programmatically, the building space will mostly contain retail and office life. Yet central to its purpose is a semi-porous breeding ground, waystation, and sanctuary for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). It is a pioneering building – one that aims to be ecologically generous, weaving butterfly conservation strategies into its design through the integration of open monarch habitat in its facades, roof, and atrium. Not just a building envelope, the edifice is a new biome of coexistence for people, plants, and butterflies.

The monarch butterfly of North America is a threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is currently assessing whether the monarch needs to be granted “endangered species” status, while the monarch population erodes due to the combined forces of agricultural pesticides and habitat loss. Monarchs are a delicate presence in New York City, migrating each year from Mexico and Florida to the city’s precious green spaces to lay their eggs on the milkweed plant.

This project will vitally serve as a large-scale Lepidoptera terrarium. It will bolster the monarch’s presence in the city through two strategies: open plantings of milkweed and nectar flowers on the roof, rear facade, and terrace will provide breeding ground and stopover habitat for wild monarchs, while semi-enclosed colonies in the atrium and street side double-skin facade will grow monarch population. The insects will have fluid open access to join the wild population, enhancing overall species population numbers.Our connection to the community of NYC is essential. The prime location will attract attention and educate the public on Monarch extinction. It has a total area of 30,000 square feet and is to be located in the heart of Nolita, between Soho and the burgeoning art district along the Bowery, and a few blocks west of the New Museum. The site is just around the corner from the Storefront for Art and Architecture and currently exists as two plots occupied by small residential buildings, which will be combined into a single property.Although it is a relatively small commercial building by New York standards, the building will present a striking public face and a powerful argument in favor of a diversity of life forms in the city. It will face Petrosino Square, a small triangular paved public park, named after a fallen NYPD lieutenant. The façade of the Monarch Sanctuary building will add a lush vertical surface to the edge of the square.

The double-skin street facade, with a diagrid structure infilled glass at the outer layer and with “pillows” of EFTE foil at the inner layer, encloses a careful climate - controlled space, 3’ deep and 7 stories tall. This “vertical meadow,” the terrarium proper, serves as an incubator and safe haven for Monarchs in all seasons. It contains suspended milkweed vines and flowering plants to nourish the butterflies at each stage of their life cycle. Hydrogel bubbles on the EFTE help maintain optimal humidity levels, and sacs of algae help purify the air and the building wastewater. Solar panels on the roof provide renewable energy to assist in the powering the facilities. Butterflies can come and go as they need from inside the building skin system and roof.

Other features of the project are equally in service of the insects. LED screens at the street level provide magnified live views of the caterpillars and butterflies in the vertical meadow, which also connects to a multi-story atrium adjacent to the circulation core. Interior partitions are constructed from mycelium, and additional planting at the ceiling enhances the interior atmosphere and building biome. Hovering around the building, a few butterfly-shaped drones take readings and maps of the immediate microclimate. They return every few minutes to recharge, and their combined real-time data works to maintain the butterfly health.

The building is intended to serve as an object lesson in enhancing the urban environment with green technologies, including plant life and other creatures, in designing for other species, and in conveying images of new possibilities for the urban environment. This project alone will not save the Monarch but it will crucially raise awareness about our much-loved insect residents.
With NYCxDESIGN and Brooklyn Designs at the Brooklyn Navy Yards about to get underway, we've rounded up the most recent projects in New York City's buzziest borough, including warm cafés and reading rooms, fresh offices, and light-filled apartments.

1. The Center for Fiction by BKSK Architects Brings Books and Sustainability to Brooklyn

The Center for Fiction started out as the Mercantile Library in 1821 and moved locations throughout Manhattan over the years. In 2008, it was rebranded, and more than 10 years later, the Center has a permanent home in a new downtown Brooklyn building by BKSK Architects with sustainability in mind.

2. StudiosC Creates Positive/Negative Volumes for L&R Distributors in Brooklyn

L&R distributes more cosmetics than any other American company—25 brands and 8,000 SKUs in all. Its new corporate headquarters in Brooklyn’s Industry City circulates something else: a wide variety of staff, each with their own spatial needs, within what StudiosC principal Stephen Conte calls “an industrial blank canvas.”

3. Gensler Fashions a New Brooklyn Showroom for Lafayette 148

Brooklyn’s Navy Yard is among the most fashionable new areas in the borough, but until Lafayette 148 decided to leave its seven-floor SoHo digs and venture across the water, there wasn’t a fashion brand that called the historic concrete warehouse home. Gensler made sure the 68,000-square-foot headquarters, comprised of 15 different departments and large community work cafes, was as rousing as the exterior landscapes.

4. Idan Naor Thinks Horizontally for a Brooklyn Brownstone

The archetypical Brooklyn brownstone is a study in verticality, with a few stories of narrow corridors and dark rooms piled atop each other. However, when the local Idan Naor Workshop got the chance to reprogram a gem from the 1920s into a 5-unit apartment building, they decided on a different direction: horizontal. This 2,350-square-foot apartment jettisons the piles of hallways and instead utilizes a gallery to connect public areas to the three bedrooms, while ample natural light floods the expansive open plan.

5. Five Retail Wonderlands Subvert Reality

This retail environment at Gray Matters brings customers into a product-inspired wonderland. Riffing on the brand's Mildred Egg mule, Bower Studios chose table bases that are ovoids of painted resin composite.
Make the Road NY; TEN Arquitectos
The new home for Make the Road New York, a leading immigrant rights group, aspires to be a transparent gathering place in an age of walls.

While sitting in the crowded waiting area of Make the Road New York’s storefront offices in Queens, formerly a Blockbuster video outlet, I think about my grandmother. She left Poland at 18 and, working as a seamstress along the way, immigrated to America in the late 19th century. She eventually opened a Kosher restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., where my mother grew up, safely, happily, and far from the nightmare that overtook the family that remained in Poland. It doesn’t take much empathy or imagination to make the connection between my family’s story—more or less the story of most American families—and those of the people around me on a March afternoon, mainly Spanish-speaking women, waiting for healthcare counseling or an appointment with a lawyer. Until recently, the scene at Make the Road New York (MRNY) would have been just another heartwarming portrait of the American fabric, part of the melting pot or the gorgeous mosaic. We used to be proud of our immigrant heritage, of our openness to those seeking a better place to live.

With over 23,000 dues-paying members, MRNY is one of New York City’s most formidable immigrant rights organizations. Founded in 2007 as a merger of two smaller groups, it has taken on a wide range of issues that affect immigrant communities: workers’ rights, access to healthcare, and all the problems associated with the current administration’s punitive approach to immigration law. MRNY, which derives its name from a poem by the Spanish writer Antonio Machado (“Searcher, there is no road. We make the road by walking.”), used to be famous, locally at least, for its work on behalf of the carwasheros, the men who dry and buff newly washed cars, mostly for tips (which were often pilfered by the management). Since the dawn of the Trump administration, MRNY has increasingly been on the front lines of a cultural and political war, protesting almost daily. The waiting area where I sat was decorated with artifacts of those demos, cardboard signs shaped like butterflies, with slogans like “Resist,” “Rise Up,” and “Here to Stay.”

Home > Design > TEN Arquitectos Designs a Beacon for the Resistance
Posted on: May 07, 2019 2

TEN Arquitectos Designs a Beacon for the Resistance
The new home for Make the Road New York, a leading immigrant rights group, aspires to be a transparent gathering place in an age of walls.

Courtesy Make the Road NY; TEN Arquitectos
While sitting in the crowded waiting area of Make the Road New York’s storefront offices in Queens, formerly a Blockbuster video outlet, I think about my grandmother. She left Poland at 18 and, working as a seamstress along the way, immigrated to America in the late 19th century. She eventually opened a Kosher restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., where my mother grew up, safely, happily, and far from the nightmare that overtook the family that remained in Poland. It doesn’t take much empathy or imagination to make the connection between my family’s story—more or less the story of most American families—and those of the people around me on a March afternoon, mainly Spanish-speaking women, waiting for healthcare counseling or an appointment with a lawyer. Until recently, the scene at Make the Road New York (MRNY) would have been just another heartwarming portrait of the American fabric, part of the melting pot or the gorgeous mosaic. We used to be proud of our immigrant heritage, of our openness to those seeking a better place to live.

With over 23,000 dues-paying members, MRNY is one of New York City’s most formidable immigrant rights organizations. Founded in 2007 as a merger of two smaller groups, it has taken on a wide range of issues that affect immigrant communities: workers’ rights, access to healthcare, and all the problems associated with the current administration’s punitive approach to immigration law. MRNY, which derives its name from a poem by the Spanish writer Antonio Machado (“Searcher, there is no road. We make the road by walking.”), used to be famous, locally at least, for its work on behalf of the carwasheros, the men who dry and buff newly washed cars, mostly for tips (which were often pilfered by the management). Since the dawn of the Trump administration, MRNY has increasingly been on the front lines of a cultural and political war, protesting almost daily. The
Edward Williams Architects
The zero-carbon emitting office allows for versatility in layout while retaining its intimate domestic atmosphere

Edward Williams Architects has refurbished a house within a picturesque mixed-use mews in London’s Bayswater & Paddington Conservation Area, transforming it into a sustainable office for an investment company focused on sustainable agriculture. The existing building consisted of a brick shell with an internal steel and timber frame structure.

Externally, the architects have responded sensitively to the existing building features with roofing and windows matching the rest of the mews. New structural elements were designed to be fabricated offsite and then bolted together on site to maximise efficiency, reduce installation period and reduce construction waste and noise.

The office layout responds to the client’s brief for a modern aesthetic with in-built flexibility, with spaces ranging from an informal gathering area for the whole team, smaller spaces for private working and large meeting rooms. The architect has planned the spaces to allow for versatility without detracting from an intimate atmosphere of the former mews house – future proofing with the use of moveable office partitions but retaining a high level of acoustic privacy.

The mews entrance opens straight into a ground-floor reception which also doubles up as a conference room and dining room for employees. A set of folding, garage-style doors allows natural light to flood into the interior, while also creating a connection to the mews outside.

Inspired by exposed brickwork of the existing building, oak panels line the walls inside with exposed oak joists creating a sculptural element to the interior. A bespoke oak staircase connects the ground floor to the first. Cellular offices are divided by moveable glass partitions, allowing different internal configurations. The timber has been pressure-impregnated to achieve a Class 0 fire rating, while negating the need for intrusive fire systems.

The annual predicted carbon emissions for the building are zero as the whole building relies on electricity that the client has committed to source from a sustainable electricity supplier. The scheme incorporates an electric boiler for underfloor heating, no mechanical cooling and natural daylighting on top of other passive sustainable design interventions.

Architect’s view

When we saw the existing neglected shell among a picturesque mews terrace, we jumped at the chance to rekindle the building’s charm and give it a new lease of life for our sustainability-conscious client.

The challenge was to redevelop the existing double-fronted mews building without losing any of its character, but adding additional character where possible. Our design draws out the warm red hues of the existing Victorian brickwork and uses it as a counterpoint to the new structural frame of grey-painted steel supports and solid oak beams, also echoed in wall panelling throughout the scheme.

We restored the building’s characteristic dormer windows and installed glass partition walls, creating an additional storey of bright, useable, flexible office space. For the ground floor spaces, a wood-heavy interior gives an intimate, homely atmosphere to the open plan space which can be used for all occasions – from team lunches to board meetings.

Edward Williams, founding director, Edward Williams Architects
Building Design + Construction
Generation Z learns and connects in unique ways. As they move from higher ed to the workplace, companies that depend on the productivity of a youthful workforce should take note.

I came to Hanbury in 2017, after designing and managing workplace interiors projects for more than a decade. So naturally, I've observed the higher ed students we design for through a slightly different lens—not just as students but as the next generation of knowledge workers. I can't help but think of how their unique behaviors and preferences will shape the workplaces to come.

Generation Z is heavily influenced by technology. Technology, although cultivating broad social and cultural connections through social networks, also sometimes creates isolation. In the learning environment, face to face interaction is key in developing a sense of commonality, purpose and learning. Collective learning, where students are taught to learn through group engagement helps to create a sense of community and adds to diversity of thought and experience. In keeping with this trend in the education sector, collaboration has also become the preferred method of working. Physical engagement and the "making of things" has become the foundation of educational process. Students gather with their peers in groups ranging from clusters of three to five and sometimes larger. When in large group learning, the group sizes ebb and flow as members break off into clusters to focus and engage, creating spontaneous interactions and opportunities for engagement, periodically rejoining the larger group for discussion.

Spaces that support this transitional collaboration require flexibility to turn large spaces into small spaces, and to connect small spaces into larger spaces. These amorphous spaces work best as casual environments that empower people to move and use furniture in ways that suit their particular needs at that moment.

Companies should consider furnishing office workspace with groupings of comfortable and easily movable pieces that can accommodate both smaller clusters and large groups. These spaces should also have plenty of opportunities to plug in as these gatherings often gravitate to where power is available. Depending on the nature of the work, places where clusters of people can mock up, prototype, and test their ideas might also be useful.

The education environment today is both physical and virtual. In universities today, I would wager that most students would consider YouTube as their secondary learning environment. Online classes and supplemented learning is increasingly common. Recent graduates are accustomed to taking their digital preferences and work progress with them from device to device, from office to car to home. Due to easy access to digital information, continual learning and augmented learning of class material outside the classroom is the norm. Just as students are learning everywhere, the young knowledge worker will have a fluid relationship with where work is done and information is acquired.

The cloud and the Internet of Things (IOT) are increasingly important to young workers. Hoteling desks feel instantly personalized when lighting, chairs and other connected devices automatically adjust to their pre-set preferences. As technology continues to improve, interconnected devices that read one's preferences, condition, location and interest will become ubiquitous in the work and home environment. Access to information from different devices and sources, untethered to a physical space, creates new opportunities for learning.

Turning inward for reflection, alone time and even recreation is part of the Gen Z culture. In large open spaces, students use headphones and goggle monitors (for Augmented Reality) to provide private focus in public environments, either for work or play. While accommodating the gaming preferences of young staffers may not be appropriate in a work setting, privacy is important. Small spaces separated by glass provide privacy and noise reduction while allowing a visual connection to what is happening in the collaborative spaces.

Work life balance is a driving force for Generation Z. The office is looked at as a place to gain autonomy, learning, social engagement and purpose. The trend to create spaces of play is being substituted with places of creativity, where making things and collaboration are promoted. Corporate recreation lounges of today may become less and less attractive as younger employees look to their offices a
A conversation with Kristy Tillman, who is all of us.

Slack is the ubiquitous digital tool that’s making our workplaces virtual. Thanks to its hyper-efficient chat room software, telecommuting has never been easier. Which is why it may come as a surprise that Slack is paying particular attention to its physical office design, too. Kristy Tillman is Slack’s head of workplace experience design, and she is thinking about how people at Slack work beyond the Slack window itself.

Tillman is also a judge for our 2019 Innovation by Design Awards (get in your entries by May 10!). And so we sat down with her to talk about her career, her role at Slack, and what it’s like to use Slack at Slack.

Fast Company: So you spent some time at Ideo, you build a millennial investment brand with Mass Mutual. Then you wind up at Slack. You started in their communications department, but quickly landed this gig around the workplace. So . . . what do you do? What questions are you asking at Slack?

Kristy Tillman: Right now I think about a couple of things: How do we build standards around buildings and offices? What experiments have we tried in architectural phases to tweak and make offices better for our employees? How do we service our guests and our employees from a design-thinking perspective? That’s been really, very challenging for me.

We have a big workplace vision we’ll be able to start to make and understand how our employees are really using our spaces and operations. One of the big things I’ll do in the next quarter is our first workplace foundational study where we’ll survey the entire global workforce and get a system of analysis . . . what new phases we need to build? What new services we need to offer as we scale?

FC: There’s a certain irony of being at Slack, this digital business company, and focusing on built environments, no?

KT: It would be a lost opportunity if we didn’t–if we said we’d change the way people worked digitally, it would be a lost opportunity to not be interrogating ourselves internally! It’s my opinion, and I think lots of people’s opinion, that one of the best ways to sell Slack will obviously be having an internal culture that is a shining example. And I think that one of our advantages will be we use Slack [as an example], here’s how it affected us, here are the processes we put in place, workflows we have, innovations we use, to make operations more efficient, handle security, or triage medical emergencies. [I want to] be the best example of a culture when people come to visit us.

KT: Honestly, things that the Workplace team works on have the best ability to leave an indelible mark on Slack. The workplace teams in most companies are not tasked with this type of work. They’re more like facilities, make sure the lights are on, we have lunch. So any way you can contribute to operational efficiency is [hugely important].

Maybe I’m an optimist. I believe there’s not some objective future we’re trying to get to. The future is whatever we make it. So in that sense, there’s not this lofty goal we’re trying to reach. We’re just incrementally trying to make our workplaces better for our people . . . that doesn’t make it more difficult, if anything it makes it more easy.
Two of Teknion’s new workplace products – the tn Storage & Accessories Collection designed by Toan Nguyen, and Swerv Monitor Arm − were honored with Green Good Design Awards in the 2019 competition. The annual award is jointly sponsored by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

“From a green standpoint, tn and Swerv are typical of all Teknion workplace products,” said Scott Deugo, Teknion’s Chief Sales and Sustainability Officer. “Our products are designed and developed in accordance with Design for the Environment (DfE) standards and protocols, feature recycled content and are recyclable, are manufactured in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified facilities, have received Indoor Advantage Gold and BIFMA e3 level 2 certification, and support various LEED and WELL credits. Although we are proud of these Green Good Design Awards and our sustainability achievements to date, we realize that there is more work to be done.”

tn Storage is a series of universal desktop accessories and freestanding storage items that addresses these new needs for storage and organization in today’s workstation.

The Swerv Monitor Arm is a fully adjustable, spring-assisted dynamic arm designed to support 98 percent of monitor weights on the market (5 to 12 lbs. or 2.27 to 5.4 kg), and that can be balanced and adjusted with little effort.

In addition, the Cesto collection of interactive seating and table elements by Studio TK earned a 2019 Green Good Design Award. Cesto, Spanish for “basket,” was designed by Khodi Feiz to address the dynamic collaborative and social behaviors typical of today’s work environment.

“It is very gratifying for us to have our new Cesto collection recognized with a Green Good Design Award – one of only 100 awards presented to recipients in 20 nations in this year’s competition,” said Charlie Bell, President, Studio TK. “The international award acknowledges the many diverse sustainability initiatives undertaken by our employees, and the sustainable design inherent in Cesto as demonstrated by its designer, Khodi Feiz.”

The Cesto family is composed of an upholstered base element and a variety of different functional tops. The lower “basket” can be finished in a knit mesh or fabric, offering a contrast in textures and colors. Numerous colorway possibilities enable extensive personalization. Tabletop surfaces are also available in a range of different materials facilitating easy customization.
Gensler, via thyssenkrupp
New North American headquarters of elevator giant thyssenkrupp is called company’s highest profile project

One of suburban Atlanta’s most prominent towers is officially a go.

Fortune Global 500 company thyssenkrupp Elevator broke ground this week on its new North American headquarters next door to Cobb County’s burgeoning mixed-use hub The Battery, home of the Atlanta Braves’s stadium.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the headquarters complex will be punctuated by a 420-foot elevator test tower that would be Cobb’s tallest building. For context, Sandy Springs’s “King and Queen” towers at Concourse Corporate Center each stand about 100 feet higher, ranking them among the tallest suburban high-rises in the nation.

According to officials with Atlanta-based Collins Project Management, which is spearheading the tower’s development, the project will be thyssenkrupp’s most “high-profile” in the country.

Atop the vertical testing facility, three floors will be reserved for special functions, providing panoramic views of the city, officials revealed this week.

Beyond the tower, the project will include an adjacent, shorter building for thyssenkrupp’s business and engineering functions.

The combined projects are expected to cost $200 million. Officials have said the complex could house some 900 full-time thyssenkrupp employees, lured in no small part by Cobb tax breaks and other incentives.

As development goes, the groundbreaking marks another feather in the rapidly evolving Cumberland area’s cap.

Nearby, the Braves Development Company in August unveiled plans for an Aloft hotel at The Battery. High-end apartment complexes continue to sprout, touting proximity to the stadium’s environs.

And a mile from the ballpark, the Platinum Tower office complex has signed tenants galore—a testament, officials say, to the economic surge the Cumberland district is experiencing.
Like a fresh-from-the-box sneaker, all-white design gives a clean look to interiors. Curves, angles, and patterns stand out when color takes the backseat.

1. Nvidia Campus by Gensler Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Large Tech Office

A terse challenge was posed by Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang: Create a headquarters that enables the company’s 2,500 employees to interact with one another. Gensler design director Philippe Paré and managing director Hao Ko responded by conceiving the 500,000-square-foot, Santa Clara, California, building as a campus, rather than a campus of buildings, which was the usual program for the tech company’s counterparts. And they did it with the triangle.

2. HeyTea by Aan Architects Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Coffee/Tea

Simplicity and ingenuity are the key ingredients to this tranquil tea shop in the heart of the bustling Chinese city of Guangzhou. Aan Architects' principal designer Yan Junjie says he sought to generate a feeling of “cool and Zen that honors the heritage of traditional Chinese tea culture” by creating a sleek and bright environment, but one that encourages customer interaction with the surroundings—and each other.

3. Los Angeles Residence by Standard Architecture Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Kitchen/Bath

Designed in the 1920s by noted architect Roland Coate, this tony Bel-Air residence had seen better days. Standard Architecture's founding principal Jeffrey Allsbrook and partner Silvia Kuhle stripped away excess inside and out to create a minimalist, abstracted take on neoclassical design. Anchoring one end of the house is the airy kitchen, with white-lacquered cabinetry and a massive Italian marble island that stretches nearly 18 feet long. Allsbrook confides that both pieces took some convincing, but the clients ended up thrilled.

4. Kunshan Residence by Atelier Zerebecky and Kos Architects Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for City House

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be another way to reinvent the developer spec house, along come architects Andrei Zerebecky and Lukasz Kos, of Atelier Zerebecky and Kos Architects respectively. The remaking of a dark and disjointed residence, in the smaller neighboring city of Kunshan, was one of their last collaborations. The two created a vaulted ceiling under the house’s pitched roof and carved out the space beneath it, yielding a cathedral-like scale to the single-family home.

5. Baoye Group by LYCS Architecture Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Midsize Construction Office Project

The ground-up headquarters of Baoye Group would also be key to a new business district that MVRDV had master-planned near Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. LYCS Architecture founder and chairman Ruan Hao considered the architecture of the three-building complex as the jumping-off point. His vision of unifying exterior and interior begins with the sunny atrium lobby, topped by a trapezoidal skylight and wrapped in glass.
North America's tallest glass elevator, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, will climb the exterior of the modernist Aon Center skyscraper in Chicago in 60 seconds offering tourists panoramic views.

Local firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) has conceived a glass elevator shaft to rise up the northwest corner of the 1,136-feet-high (346-metre-high) Aon Center, leading to a rooftop observatory.

Completely glazed, the elevator will rise up 1,000 feet (305 metres) making it the "tallest elevator of its kind in North America," according to a statement from the firm. The tallest in the world is the 326-metre-high Bailong Elevator, which runs up a cliff in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, People's Republic of China.

The shaft along the Aon Center will house a pair of double-deck elevators and will be anchored at every fourth floor. Visitors are expected to scale to the top of the skyscraper in approximately one minute.

The elevator will mark the city's third public observatory, in addition to the Willis Tower Skydeck and The John Hancock Center's 360 Chicago. The latter is similarly thrilling, comprising a moving glass box that tilts visitors over Michigan Avenue.

In SCB's design, the crown of the building is planned as an observation deck with an indoor viewing area offering panoramic views of the city. From here are views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the Loop.

SCB's scheme also includes new building to accompany the skyscraper at 200 East Randolph Street to provide access the elevator and observation area. Located off the street, the low-lying structure will be wrapped in glass and topped with a slanted metal roof.

Inside, it will house ticketing booths, as well as shops.

SCB's ground-level building will continue to allow for Aon Center's lobby to function as-is, exclusively for Aon tenants.

The modern skyscraper – the third tallest building in Chicago – was completed in 1974 by American architect Edward Durell Stone in partnership with Perkins + Will.

Vertical strips stretch to the top and were originally clad in Italian Carrara marble. Stainless steel straps were added to hold the marble in place, and in the 1990s, the entire building was refaced with Mount Airy white granite.

Aon Center was formerly known as Amoco Building, and first served as headquarters for Standard Oil Company of Indiana.

Jannes Linders via Benthem Crouwel Architects
In Amsterdam South, a newly renovated office building with a shimmering silver roof has achieved BREEAM Outstanding, a green building rating that arguably makes the property the most sustainable adaptive reuse project in the Netherlands. Formerly a neglected office complex, the empty building was transformed in the hands of Dutch architectural firm Benthem Crouwel Architects and now serves as the energy-positive offices for Goede Doelen Loterijen (Dutch Charity Lotteries).

A major goal of the new Goede Doelen Loterijen office was to gather the company’s approximately 600 employees — who had been distributed at different branches for years — into a single location. Because sustainability is a core value of Goede Doelen Loterijen, the new office also needed to be highly sustainable and render the company’s social ambitions visible. Therefore, the building design emphasizes accessibility and transparency, communicating the message that it serves both the employees and the neighborhood. In addition to offices, the building includes a public restaurant, an auditorium and a TV studio.

“The Charity Lotteries employees were involved in the design from the very beginning,” the architects explained. “Everyone was invited to share their thoughts, and through this unique process of co-creation, a building emerged that fits the unique atmosphere and work practice of this organization like a glove. It was the employees’ wish to bring the green from the park at their old locations to the new office. To fulfill this wish, a roof was created that is green in every possible way.”

Nearly 7,000 leaves made of polished aluminum cover the roof, supported with slender, tree-shaped columns. The new forest-inspired roof shimmers and changes appearance depending on the time of day and is easily recognizable and visible from afar. In addition to the glittering silver leaves, the roof is also integrated with 949 solar panels and a rainwater collection system for green roof irrigation. Materials from the former office complex were reused, while all new materials have been selected for their sustainable and recyclable qualities.

Chris Bradley
“We like to have fun, and this is the perfect backdrop,” says Project Interiors founder and lead designer Aimee Wertepny, describing the firm’s studio in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. After purchasing the 6,200-square-foot building with bow-truss ceilings in 2017, Wertepny commissioned Project Interiors office to collaborate on a major renovation.

A new 60-foot operable skylight floods the interior with sunshine, highlighting the gold acrylic paint inlaid into the cracked concrete floors and covered with clear epoxy—“in anticipation of stiletto strutting, dance parties, and who knows what else,” Wertepny says.

The only “cubicle” is the smoked glass–enclosed conference room dubbed the command center, outfitted with a conference table topped in porcelain faux marble and charred-oak cabinetry accented by shredded leather backing. “We’re not office people,” Wertepny says, pointing to the disco ball overhead.

Indeed, the freewheeling studio includes rattan swings, private woven huts (in lieu of offices), a dressed-up vintage camper turned swanky lounge, and an upper-level resource library with an artificial grass–covered platform. “Building out the space was truly one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished in my life thus far,” Wertepny says. “Seeing it come to life from a napkin sketch has been indescribable.”

Working there, however, can be summed up in one word: inspirational.
Danish firm 3XN is designing the 10-story, cross-laminated timber structure in Toronto for global real estate firm Hines.

When global real estate, development, and management firm Hines unveiled the $24.5 million T3 building in Minneapolis designed by local firm Michael Green Architecture (now owned by Katerra) in 2016, the seven-story, 220,000-square-foot structure became the tallest mass timber tower in the United States. Three years on, the company is again pushing the boundaries of timber construction, unveiling plans for T3 Bayside, a 10-story building in Toronto that will become North America's tallest timber office building. (The record for the overall tallest timber structure on the continent is still held by the 18-story Brock Commons building in Vancouver.)

With Danish architecture firm 3XN leading the design, T3 Bayside will be located along Lake Ontario as part of a new 2,000-acre residential and commercial community.

"With 3XN’s world-class design and the building’s unrivaled amenity offering, T3 Bayside will truly set a new benchmark for creative office space and will ultimately be responsible for creating more than 3,000 jobs at Bayside," said Hines senior managing director Avi Tesciuba in a press release.

According to the same release, T3 Bayside will be constructed using cross-laminated timber and serve as the entrance to the new waterfront community, featuring various co-working, retail, and event spaces. Oriented around a central plaza, the tower is designed with stepped roof terraces leading to the surrounding community space.

"The wooden structure will be a prominent part of the design and provide a warm tactile environment for the tenants that doesn’t compromise sustainability," said 3XN partner and T3 leader designer Jens Holm in the release. "The flexible layout will be able to meet the diverse needs of the users and bring people together.”
Connie Zhou/OTTO
Designed by ZGF Architects with Arup, the striking 48-story tower in Seattle features an innovative diagonal mega-brace system.

Between Amazon’s expanding vertical campus and the in-progress replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a promising waterfront park, Seattle continues to undergo a rapid transformation. Among downtown’s newest jewels is the Mark, a 48-story hotel and office tower designed by the local office of ZGF Architects that rises from a quadrant of a city block.

The 750,000-square-foot faceted structure rises between two centenarian neighbors, the Beaux-Arts sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church and the Jacobean-style Rainier Club, cantilevering over the former by up to 20 feet. As a part of the project—developed by Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Real Estate and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation board of trustees—the sanctuary was restored for use as an event space.

Constrained to a footprint of just 15,000 square feet, the tower's floor plates had to be extended to achieve the desired square footage. Daniels also tasked ZGF with creating an iconic structure to reflect Seattle’s aspirational spirit.

ZGF used paper models and the classic proportions of the human anatomy to explore dozens of designs that satisfied the constraints. Early concepts featured more “rudimentary” cantilevers or “heavier, more geometric" forms, says ZGF partner Allyn Stellmacher, AIA. “Ultimately, we came back to a disposition of the parts of the building in a way that we thought was more artful, but that also was melded with a more effective [line] for the bracing.”

The final form is an asymmetrical obelisk, with exposed diagonal steel braces that zigzag up each elevation, emphasizing the tower’s verticality. The architects used the long, clean lines of the steel members to differentiate each facet of the façade, whose subtle shifts are enhanced by the reflective glazing. Unlike some exoskeletons, the bracing’s stainless steel cladding recedes 11 inches into the Mark, as if the zigzags are etched into its skin.

The diagonal mega-brace system—among the first of its kind in a seismic zone—derives from ZGF’s close collaboration with Arup, the project’s structural engineer. The tower structure consists of a central concrete core with steel-framed, concrete-infilled floor plates supported by beams spanning up to 50 feet, and four steel columns slightly inset from each building corner on each elevation, leaving the interiors and the corners of the tower column-free.

The perimeter bracing system “acts like a closed tube that engages the axial stiffness and strength of the perimeter steel columns,” according to text supplied by Arup. As a result, it transfers wind and seismic load requirements from the concrete core to the building perimeter, where the diagonal members transfer the loads to the columns. Arup estimates this system uses 10 percent, or 750 tons, less steel than alternative designs.

The 200- to 325-foot-long diagonal braces (inboard of the cladding) consist of approximately 30-foot-long wide flange beams with a depth of 2 feet and flange thickness exceeding 4 inches. At building corners, the X-shaped intersections created where the diagonal braces meet—dubbed “knuckles” by the design team—were among the hardest to detail.

Each shop-fabricated knuckle is uniquely made to accommodate the various incoming angles of the four intersecting diagonal braces, in addition to three floor beams. The brace members were initially bolted to the knuckle during fit up and erection, and then all connections were made permanent via full penetration welds.
Boston Properties
A sprawling, state of the art office complex at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is the latest battleground in the real estate wars.

In the fight for the future of the real estate industry, legacy firms are trying to figure out how to contend with WeWork. The beer-loving co-working startup that landlords once welcomed has grown into something much more complicated and powerful, in part through technology. The company has developed both consumer facing tech, like an app for booking conference rooms and checking out events in its co-working spaces, as well as operational analytics that makes its offices and overall business more efficient.

But at Dock 72, an innovative new building in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard where WeWork’s custom co-working offices and Rise by We fitness studio will soon fill a third of the square footage, landlords are claiming a small victory. The building, co-owned by Boston Properties and Rudin Management, has its own tech. Rudin’s technology subsidiary, Prescriptive Data, has developed a mobile app to serve as tenants’ main portal for interacting with the building.

The Dock 72 app will allow tenants and their employees to enter the building, register guests, book fitness classes at the in-house studio, order and pay for food at the cafeteria, book shared conference rooms, and submit work orders for maintenance issues. Data from the app will also provide the property’s operators and managers with real-time insights into the patterns of users, helping to improve building services and performance. With the app, Michael Rudin, senior vice president of Rudin Management Company, says he wants the building to be cashless.

For a long time, the real estate industry collectively slept on technology adoption, but the success of WeWork and Airbnb has been a blaring wakeup call.
Garrett Rowland
The next generation of intelligent buildings offers promise for unseen levels of energy efficiency, optimization, and occupant health and productivity.

Buoyed by a surge of high-tech innovations and several years of robust U.S. construction markets, AEC teams are working on ideas for “smart buildings.” Since the mid-1980s, a new generation of products, technologies, and analytical tools has transformed the building landscape. The benefits of “smart” technologies and operations for design, construction, and ownership/operations are now inescapable.

Prior to the 1990s, the notion of intelligent buildings focused on controls and automated processes for building operations, mainly in HVAC, lighting, and security systems, says Joachim Schuessler, Principal with Goettsch Partners. “Then, about 15 to 20 years ago, we started working on buildings that optimized controllability and comfort for the users,” he says. By the late 1990s, tools like building information modeling were making built projects a digital extension of the architectural/engineering and fabrication processes, with valuable impacts on downstream operations such as facility management.

The latest definitions of smart buildings embrace a much broader, more futuristic outlook. Schuessler and other experts describe the new paradigm as buildings and building portfolios created and operated using technology systems that aggregate data, make decisions, and continuously optimize operations with ongoing predictive feedback, including from building systems and occupants.

David Herd, Managing Partner with BuroHappold Engineering, asks: “Do the building’s design and systems anticipate programmatic change over time? Is it a ‘well’ building that helps keep people healthy? If it’s smart, today’s thinking goes, it can accomplish these goals, and more.”

Tech-enabled properties transcend time and place, too. “Smart buildings can also be defined as connected buildings,” says Marco Macagnano, PhD, Senior Manager, Lead: Smart Real Estate with Deloitte Consulting. They are “the product of an omni-channel approach focused on generating meaningful information to support decision making through data analysis.”

Connected systems should add practical value while protecting against hackers and other breaches. They can benefit O&M by tracking energy-use intensity (EUI) across multiple campuses or by alerting a facilities department that an escalator is in jeopardy of failing. Owners can use the cloud and the Internet to access existing systems to do more. Bring in the ability of Big Data to tap into worldwide reporting on facility operations, and building owners can suddenly identify patterns and trends that could lead to better design choices.

“The biggest difference with current smart buildings is that tech is the enabler of three primary pillars: sustainability and carbon neutrality, the well-being of users, and user-centered design,” says Jan-Hein Lakeman, Executive Managing Director of Edge Technologies and OVG Real Estate USA.