The Oregon Pioneer Savings Landmark Building in downtown Portland seems an unlikely home for Expensify. The online expense-management service was created 10 years ago by CEO David Barrett, who describes its mission as â€śmaking expense reports that donâ€™t suck.â€ť The company was founded in San Francisco (and now has offices in London and Melbourne), but it outgrew its original space. Portland, with its laid-back ambience and cheaper real estate, was an attractive alternative for another West Coast office. The stately neoclassical monument, designed by Boston-based Coolidge and Shattuck, was the first building Barrett saw. It has graced a corner site since 1916, with a pedimented Doric colonnade distinguishing its marble-clad front facade and a richly decorated skylit atrium dominating its interior.
â€śIt was the perfect blank canvas,â€ť Barrett recalls, â€świth a classy core that we could build on to create a unique space for our team to grow and our culture to thrive.â€ť
ZGFâ€™s principal in charge, Alan Gerencer, and his team, Gabriella Caldwell and Franco Rosete, shared Barrettâ€™s enthusiasm for the venerable landmark. The client asked them to remain true to its original aesthetic while adapting it to his companyâ€™s offbeat working model. â€śExpensify hires people who thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative environment with lots of personal freedom,â€ť Barrett explained. â€śWe have only two rules: get shit done, and donâ€™t ruin it for everyone else.â€ť Here, Gerencer realized, was an opportunity to balance respect for history with edgy design.