A flourishing multi-disciplinary strategic branding & creative agency located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, found themselves rapidly outgrowing their existing office space. Chief among their goals for their new headquarters was ensuring that collaboration and creativity stayed at the core of their identity as their agency grew in organizational complexity. Birmingham-based ArchitectureWorks worked closely with Cayenne Creative in the development of a space fueled by the power of communication and collaboration and that promotes people, passion, and ideas.
Using wood and glass clad office ‘insertions’ within the existing brick shell of a former service garage the Architects established interlocking work zones arranged around, inside, and atop the enclosed office and meeting spaces. Open collaboration spaces at the intersections of work zones act as part of the primary circulation through the space and so became opportunities for engagement between departments while also creating visual connectivity throughout the space. And scattered along the perimeter of the space are upholstered nooks and alcoves that serve as both impromptu meeting spaces and quiet workspaces for mobile users.
The ‘insertion’ begins with amphitheater-style bleachers at the office’s lobby that rise to a mezzanine level that offers relaxed, open desking. Beneath the mezzanine are glass-enclosed offices and support spaces that line two open office ‘bullpens’ framed between the insertion and the original brick exterior walls. The enclosed offices and the bullpens engage at the center of the space in a whiteboard-clad collaboration space that provides opportunities for constant engagement between the agency’s creative and client-services teams.
The palette relies on broad swaths of natural materials and neutral colors to provide a backdrop to the lively, creative process particular to the agency’s work. The imperfections and irregularities present in the space were embraced and incorporated into the design. Miscellaneous oddities from the building’s days as a service garage were left in the steel roof system and painted a uniform white to leave textural interest while echoes of past improvements were left on the brick interior walls.