Office Design: Renovations for Collaboration

Office design Open floor plan Conference room

Collaboration through Exemplification
Ziegler Cooper – Houston, TX

Ziegler Cooper is an architectural firm that recently implemented its design principles into its very own workspace. Occupying 25,000 square feet and the third floor of Houston’s 56-story Bank of America Center, the office functions as a concept showroom to demonstrate the latest trends to clients.

“We wanted to provide an inspirational space for everyone,” says Scott Ziegler, senior principal at Ziegler Cooper. “People raise their performance levels to match the space.”

The majority of the space is an open, collaborative studio that accommodates approximately 100 employees. A benching solution for open workspaces creates the ability to add seating when necessary. The centralization of the studio places leadership in direct communication with professional staff.

“Bringing people together to collaborate is universal, regardless of business type,” Ziegler explains. “Promoting interaction with the benching solution is pervasive for us and our clients.”

The office also features five glass-fronted offices and three team rooms. The large reception area anchors the conference center, which includes two large training rooms. Porcelain tile floor connects the café and resource center area to create a large, multi-function area for company-wide meetings and events.

Every employee is equipped with an iPad and can connect wirelessly to several screens throughout the entire space via Apple TV.

“We’re technologically rich,” says Ziegler. “Even architects out in the field can snap pictures of construction progress and shoot it here electronically. Technology supports a collaborative work environment.”

Engagement through Attraction
Chaotic Moon – Austin, TX

Chaotic Moon is a mobile application development company in downtown Austin. The firm wanted its renovated 20,000-square-foot headquarters to embody the in-vogue vitality of its staff. The first step was exposing the building’s 1800s brick and wood construction to juxtapose it with the high-tech work performed there.

“Our office is a billboard,” says Ben McCraw, chief creative officer at Chaotic Moon. “Clients come in here deciding how many millions of dollars they’re going to give us, so the space needs to be impactful and interesting. They need to remember us.”

The facility features a cantilevered “floating” meeting room, open workstations, private team areas, conference space, and café. Refurbished windows give sweeping views of downtown and inject the site with natural light.

“They want to have a creative space and be able to entertain there,” says Amber Branham, interior designer with Sixthriver Architects, which designed the project. “They’re a huge collaborative group. They want their employees to be able to grab a beer from the on-site kegerator – if they’re staying after normal business hours – and have an impromptu meeting.”

A major aspect of enticing prospective customers and workers entails providing an attractive space. Chaotic Moon offers amenities that other firms don’t, such as interior bicycle storage, tiled showers, and access to a nearby hike and bike trail.

“We have a wall of convenience store style refrigerators with soda, juice, and tea, and it’s all wrapped up in our budget,” McCraw explains. “I’ve been to the Facebook office and grabbed lunch there, and I was wandering around trying to find the cashier, and then finally learned it was free. We can’t do everything on that kind of scale, but offering some of these perks is awesome.”


Chris Curtland is assistant editor of BUILDINGS.

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