Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Contractor: C.G. Schmidt
After revitalizing their corporate headquarters, this financial client was looking to bring their neighboring offsite IT location up to new standards. The existing setting was not conducive for future growth and lacked the amenities required to attract top talent. The client needed a space that would capture the innovative nature of their business through a modern aesthetic.
Located in downtown Milwaukee, the tenant had just under 22,000 square feet of space within an existing, high-rise building, featuring 360 degree views of the city.Reconfigurable workspace with dynamic intersections of teamwork in an era of rapid technology development were requirements for this financial IT client. The design team was challenged to transform an obsolete floorplate of exterior offices, dimly lit workspace and underutilized amenities into a transparent, adaptive environment. Exterior offices were relocated inboard with full glazing to increase reconfigurable perimeter workspace, providing mobility for future growth. Lowered workstation panels and mobile furniture components were designed to accommodate custom group configurations and amenities were strategically placed to enhance the 360-degree city views. This dramatic shift in workspace layout increased the amount of natural daylight for all while strengthening communication with improved visual transparency.
Open circulation creates collaborative "cubes" and alcoves that emerge throughout the plan, encouraging socialization and knowledge sharing for innovative growth along with privacy when necessary. Vertical surfaces lined with writable glass foster instant idea-sharing and interactive methods for code development. A variety of conferencing spaces with robust technology solutions allow seamless international communication. Layering these communication and collaboration elements provided the tools to improve productivity.
The east-west circuit of travel terminates with a spectacular view of Lake Michigan that is reserved for all employees in the work cafe space. Designed for refuge to energize, inspire and connect employees, the cafe serves as a multi-functional gathering place and workspace. Equipped with custom millwork detailed to house beverages and snack amenities along with integrated technology, every detail was planned to form this inspiring space.
Technology influences inform the aesthetic providing a modern look and feel while respecting the timeless quality established by the headquarters. The entrance sequence is guided by a canopy of perforated light, drawing attention into the open office and view of the cityscape. Inspired by pixel units of programmable color from a computer display, this corridor of light travels through the space wrapping surface elements, creating a larger picture of intersecting zones of group work symbolizing visual and virtual connection. Illuminated hues of green and blue indicate a positive market and bring energy to the minimal palette composed of glass, metal and pure neutrals. Natural wood tones common to the headquarters provide warmth, while activating the brand. This space distinguishes the client within the Milwaukee marketplace meeting attraction and retention goals while effortlessly paying homage to the brand.
Focusing on enhancing flexibility and collaboration, this space was designed to adapt as the IT industry evolves. Pure forms and simplistic materials will outlast trends and retain the sophisticated brand.
Photos: C&N Photography