This project, developed for a growing and progressive professional office, is located on the upper level of what was once a dairy warehouse. A primary design objective for the office space was to provide a collaborative environment that would promote interaction and exchange of ideas, while reinforcing connections between office leadership, staff and clients. Highlighting the juxtaposition between ‘new’ and ‘old’ was also of the utmost importance.

The original masonry walls and the steel and heavy timber structure were all exposed to create a framework for the insertion of contemporary elements. These minimalist and clean elements set themselves apart from the existing shell by embracing simplicity as much as the bricks embrace texture. Physical connections between that which was added and the historic envelope of the building are as light as possible, with no connections to the original ceiling plane and minimal connections to the original walls.

A red folded plane engages visitors at the street level and guides them up to the office lobby while helping to define this public space. A series of over-sized walnut pivot doors at the end of the lobby reveal a large conference room that can be opened completely to create an extension of the public space as needed for events, or can be closed to provide a private meeting area.

Flanking the lobby, the teaming room cubes become a transparent screen that visually connect the public space of the lobby with the open office work space beyond. Carefully placed cut-outs in the sides of the cubes create a continuous axis that tie the series of spaces together and draw you from one end of the office to the other. This slender glass enfilade also allows an almost voyeuristic interaction with groups next door and passers by. The direct exposure and openness of these rooms to the open office work space promotes overflow of conversation and interactive dialogue.

Where original timber posts form a structural bay system along an interior wall, private offices have been inserted within a rectangular box enclosure that has a full glass frontal exposure to the working space of the office. An obscured light-well added along the back wall of these rooms provides natural light that washes down the surface of the exposed masonry and emphasizes the contrasting textures.

The result of this thoughtful transformation is an open and transparent work environment that is conducive to the philosophy and culture of the office it houses.