Here at HOK, we love a good design challenge, and the offices of the Taproot Foundation certainly qualified as one. Mismatched furniture and cramped quarters were hindering the organization’s functionality, so it was time for a refresh!
What does Taproot do? From their website: “Taproot is a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society. We engage the nation’s millions of business professionals in pro bono services both through our award-winning programs and by partnering with companies to develop their pro bono programs.”
It was appropriate, then, that our San Francisco office donated pro bono time toward this good cause. Read on as designer Emily Fettig answers some questions about this cool project.
What was the inspiration or impetus for the design solution?
The client was in desperate need of organizing and reprogramming their space to meet with the changing work environment. The space was cramped with the furniture solutions that they had in place, and the mis-matched panel and office furniture prohibited collaboration.
Were there any unique constraints or client considerations you had to keep in mind? How did you address them?
The main constraint was finding enough work space for each employee and still giving them adequate collaborative and meeting space. We had a vision session with the employees and interviewed them about how they used their space in the past; and how they would like to improve their new space. It was a great opportunity to recreate a mindset among the staff and start to develop a way of thinking about working in an environment with lower workstation panels and more open collaborative space.
Given HOK’s commitment to sustainability, what strategies or elements did you incorporate toward energy conservation and green design?
Reuse was our main goal. Given the space and restrictions from the building, we only had furniture and light to play with. Taproot’s old furniture was donated and we were able to reuse office furniture from a Chicago showroom to redo the entire project. The panel systems were much lower than the previous configurations, and this allowed more natural light to move across the space. The space already had ideal natural light, so we enhanced the reflectiveness by brightening up the walls and keeping the furniture surfaces neutral and light. The overall feeling after completion was light, airy and uncluttered.
Want to know more? Here is a feature on the project from Architectural Record‘s ’Building for Social Change’ series.
Thank you Emily, and kudos to the team!