Announcements November 4, 2019

Using Our Own Workplace Strategies to Design Our Next Washington, D.C. Studio

Our flexible and efficient new workplace in the U.S. capital will meet high wellness and sustainability standards

Our Washington, D.C. studio will benefit from the same workplace design strategies we regularly provide to our own clients when we relocate the studio next year.

We’ve signed a lease for a new studio at 1222 22nd Street, NW, a former White House transportation facility that our designers will transform into a creative and sustainable loft office space. All the planning, decision-making, and strategy-setting related to the relocation process is being handled in-house, with the firm adhering to the same best practices it employs when working with workplace clients.

“Once we started looking at the design to renovate the building, we thought that this would make an excellent choice for our own new offices.  The timeline for delivering the renovated building and our lease expiration coincided perfectly,” said Ken Wilson, Design Principal in the Washington, D.C. studio.

“Our in-house expertise has been the blueprint for monumental change,” said Laura Vierling, Principal, Workplace Strategist and Change Practitioner.  “Planning for our new space is a little bit like a doctor treating themselves.  It’s been so rewarding to see how well this process works and the level of engagement among the team.  At our core, we are problem solvers who relish the chance to lend the same expertise and solutions to our clients.”

Change Management from the Inside Out

Our firm is implementing its proven workplace change management process that involves the entire team in preparation for our studio relocation.  It began with studio leaders participating in a work session to establish a shared vision for the future. An all-employee survey was conducted to better understand how staff prefer to use studio space, and focus groups were engaged to glean greater insights. We used the Leesman Index, a business intelligence tool that captures employee feedback and experience, to conduct the workplace surveys.

Additionally, staff were invited to contribute to the programming and design of shared support areas, such as the library, the makerspace (model shop), the café, and the virtual reality (VR) space. They also established affinity groups to oversee certification processes and targets, such as LEED Platinum, WELL Platinum, Fitwel, Living Building Challenge, and RELi, reinforcing the firm’s commitment to wellness and sustainability.

A Program for Growth, Flexibility, and Efficiency

The design is taking full advantage of the high ceilings and unique structure of the former industrial building, a rarity in Washington.  Flexibility is a hallmark.  A large conference room that can be subdivided into two smaller spaces opens on to the reception area to offer more opportunities for gatherings and lectures.  Multiple types of work areas support a variety of tasks from heads down personal workspace, to large and small collaborative spaces to virtual reality.

The plan for the 14,317 rentable square-foot space accommodates growth to house 85 staff. Senior members have agreed to migrate to an Activity Based Working (ABW) or Free Address workplace where they will have no assigned seating. Our team has created a Pilot Area where staff can test out different workplace configurations within its existing workspace, removing some desks and adding a variety of furniture settings.  Those moving to the Activity Based Working will have lockers or file cabinets for personal items and then are encouraged to choose the space, or spaces, that best support the work they are doing throughout the day.

“The identification, selection, and design of our new studio is an opportunity to apply one of our primary consulting services—workplace strategies —on ourselves. Our journey is an exploration of what is possible, while trying to discover solutions to common problems.”
Chris Morrison, Managing Director

A Location with Amenities

Selected for its convenience to public transportation and access to retail and dining amenities, the new home for the our Washington D.C. studio will be in a four-story, 58,000-square-foot building in the city’s West End. The building, which is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of next year, features high ceilings, warehouse style windows, a 4,687-square-foot penthouse office space, rooftop terrace, conference lounge space, and new building systems such as elevators and restrooms.