Categories Architecture, Creative Office Spaces, Design, Narrative, Open Offices

Exposed Ceilings Are Cool But Not Cheap

Exposed ceilings are all the rage, but users pay a price for this look. Most of our clients think it’s less expensive to just demo the ceiling and have a cool open space.  Not so fast.
 
Here are some of the additional costs that come with an exposed ceiling:

– Re-running electrical cabling and HVAC ductwork with the added pressure of making it look cool (“cool” is another word for additional expense).
– Painting the now-exposed components.
– Sound proofing/noise mitigation.  If not designed AND negotiated properly, this could be an after-relocation expense to the tenant. 
 
These are costs to actually construct the open ceiling.  Many times the open ceiling will come with increased utility bills because you have more space to heat and, in Phoenix, to cool.  While this is usually negotiated into the Base year, if the building has more tenants moving in and opening up the ceilings, expenses will continue to rise. 
 
This is something to put in the back of your mind as you contemplate your next office.  OR you can just call us.  We live these issues daily.

 

Craig

602.954.3762


HEADS UP: THE 5 HIDDEN EXPENSES OF OPEN CEILINGS
By Clay Edwards

March 4, 2018
Open ceilings, with their exposed ductwork and industrial vibe have become popular – but trendy rarely equals inexpensive. For many years, omitting the traditional drop ceiling was assumed to be not just cooler but also to cost less. Common sense seemed to be that by choosing open ceilings, the cost of the drop ceiling was simply avoided, saving on labor, materials and time.

2008 study of retail and office interior construction in five cities seemed to back up that assumption. Sponsored by the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the study found that initial construction costs for suspended ceilings were 15-22 percent higher than for open plenums in offices, and 4-11 percent higher in retail spaces.

Great news! Or was it? It appeared this popular feature that conveys a sense of spaciousness and casual charm also saved money. Unfortunately, the news was premature.

Our years of experience have shown that open plenum ceilings have many benefits, but being cheaper isn’t one of them. It’s important to consider the hidden costs of open ceilings, which almost always make them more expensive, particularly over a building’s life cycle.

Hidden expense #1: Open does not mean unfinished
At first glance, it might seem contradictory to think that an open ceiling would cost more than installing a suspended ceiling system and infrastructure. The catch: there’s work required in both cases. Even when ductwork is exposed, it’s anything but unfinished. Hidden ductwork is typically blocky, dirty, oily and generally not aesthetically pleasing. Round or oval ducts deliver a more “finished” look but are significantly more expensive.

Hidden expense #2: Higher labor costs
As commercial construction has ramped up in recent years, developers are seeing a shortage of skilled labor in many trades, driving up construction costs. Open ceilings may involve lower material costs than suspended ceilings, but any savings is more than offset by the cost of labor-intensive tasks required for open plenum. For instance, this may include running all electrical distribution conduit tight to the deck above with the associated additional bends in the runs, rather than running all of the conduit that crosses paths at different elevations.

Hidden expense #3: Making it pretty
At a minimum, space users want everything painted, from the exposed ceiling to the ductwork and plumbing — a job that’s more complicated than simply painting walls. More significantly, existing infrastructure that’s been hiding behind suspended ceilings is often unsightly, requiring major work to make it attractive to employees or customers. In other words, the casual look of an open plenum is actually the result of substantial work.

Hidden expense #4: Sound considerations
In addition to visual considerations, open plenum plans come with a need for acoustical treatments. The panels in suspended ceilings are called acoustical tiles for a reason: they absorb sound to keep ambient noise levels from being disruptive. The hard surfaces of an exposed ceiling can create an echo effect that gets amplified as people talk louder to be heard over ambient noise.

Avoiding noise problems in open plenum plans comes at a cost. Office and retail users may install acoustical panels directly onto the deck, or suspend baffles to absorb sound in critical areas. Another solution: spray-on acoustical material on the ceiling’s hard, reflective surfaces. These products soften the surfaces to absorb some of the noise, and typically have other benefits such as thermal insulation and fire protection.

Hidden expense #5: Skyrocketing energy bills
Even if open plenum ceilings can be installed cost-effectively, there are operational cost considerations that can change the equation somewhat. A major trend in construction cost estimation is to look at the entire life-cycle cost of different solutions, including the cost of energy consumption and maintenance over time, as well as the initial materials and labor.

The CISCA study mentioned previously noted that energy costs were found to be lower in suspended ceilings than in open plenum ceilings. The savings ranged from 9 percent to 10.3 percent in offices, and from 12.7 percent to 17 percent in retail spaces studied. In addition, CISCA noted that open ceilings required frequent cleaning and periodic repainting. “Considering both first-time and operating costs, suspended ceilings are extremely cost effective,” the study concluded.

Weighing the pros and cons
The additional cost of open plenum ceilings shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Office and retail space should be designed and built to maximize its appeal to employees or customers and to enable productive use of the space; incurring an incrementally higher cost structure is a secondary concern. But users who are getting ready to build out space should be aware of the true cost of different alternatives to avoid surprises during construction. It’s natural to make the assumption that an informal, exposed ceiling is less expensive than a suspended ceiling — but the reality is often quite different.

Categories Architecture, Creative Office Spaces, Design, Narrative

The Legacy of Steve Jobs and Office Space

Apple moved into their spaceship this year.  I wrote about it while under construction and now you have probably have seen finished photos all over.  If not, here are some.

But today’s narrative is not about this inspired headquarters.  Today, I want to talk about Pixar’s headquarters built in the late 1990’s.  The standards of creative office (and all the baseline design for the new Apple HQ) came out of Job’s vision for one of his early companies. 

This headquarters had:
·       Open space so that the workers could be more creative.
·       All specialties among workers were split up within the premises.
·       A cafe, foosball, fitness center, two 40-seat viewing rooms, and a large theater—keeping them in the office longer.
·       Open atrium so people will run into each other creating interactions.

So what is my point?  Three things struck me when I read the below article:

–Good design lasts—we know that but in office space, it’s the same.  We can build something that we love that does not need to be torn down every 5 years.
–Committing to what you need is critical.  We know how you work today.  What works, what doesn’t.  Where is technology taking you and your team?  
–Having the right team is paramount. This includes brokers—that’s us—plus design, contractors, furniture, etc. Make sure the team is the right on for you and your business.

We can help.

Craig

602.954.3762


Pixar Headquarters and the Legacy of Steve Jobs

Source: Office Snapshots
Date: 8/30/18

The first office ever posted on Office Snapshots was Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters – and is naturally one of the most popular. It is a place where, just by looking at it, one can tell that creativity abounds. After 5+ years of studying, posting pictures of, and writing about office design – it seems like a good idea to take an in depth look into just what makes their office space so special.

A New Campus VisionThe story behind Pixar’s headquarters starts in 1999 with Steve Jobs. As Pixar’s CEO, Jobs brought in Bohlin Cywinski Jackson – famously known for designing Bill Gates’ Washington residential compound – to flesh out his vision for the campus, which was planned to hold up to 1000 employees.

According to Jobs’ recent biography, the headquarters was to be a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.”  Given that collaboration has recently been one of the major topics in office design, and that the late 90’s were filled with cubicle farms, his ideas were clearly ahead of the curve.

Jobs also strived for a campus that stood the test of time. Tom Carlisle, Pixar’s facilities director adds that, “He didn’t want a standard office-park building—one with corrugated-metal siding or ribbon windows. The building had to look good 100 years from now. That was his main criterion.”

The Atrium and Unplanned CollaborationsPixar’s campus design originally separated different employee disciplines into different buildings – one for computer scientists, another for animators, and a third building for everybody else. But because Jobs was fanatic about these unplanned collaborations, he envisioned a campus where these encounters could take place, and his design included a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus.

The biography adds that Jobs believed that, “If a building doesn’t encourage [collaboration], you’ll lose a lot of innovation and the magic that’s sparked by serendipity. So we designed the building to make people get out of their offices and mingle in the central atrium with people they might not otherwise see.”

The atrium houses a reception, employee mailboxes, cafe, foosball, fitness center, two 40-seat viewing rooms, and a large theater – and was planned by Jobs to house the campus’ only restrooms. The idea was that people who naturally isolate themselves would be forced to have great conversations, even if that took place while washing their hands. Today, they do have more than one restroom, of course. But it was the idea behind it that was important.

Brad Bird, director of The Incredible and Ratatouille, said of the space, “The atrium initially might seem like a waste of space…But Steve realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen.”

And did it work? “Steve’s theory worked from day one,” said John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer “…I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”

Jobs’ Meticulous Eye for… Steel Beams?

Steve Jobs is well-known for his meticulous eye for elegance and design when it comes to Apple’s products. But another area where this fanaticism for detail came out was with regard to the steel beams used in the construction of the Atrium.

“The architects used cold-rolled, bead-blasted steel, and all connections are custom-bolted, not welded, purely for aesthetics’ sake.”

His biography adds more, “Because the building’s steel beams were going to be visible, Jobs pored over samples from manufacturers across the country to see which had the best color and texture. He chose a mill in Arkansas, told it to blast the steel to a pure color, and made sure the truckers used caution not to nick any of it.”

And some additional investigation found that, “A field painter cleaned it again and applied a “clear coat” of paint to it. All of the bolts that were visible had round heads in lieu of hex heads to give the illusion riveted connections. Rivets have not been used since the 1950′s.

At one point in time Pixar asked that the round head of the bolt have the Pixar “ant” stamped into the head. They abandoned this idea due to cost.”

A Clean Interior Slate to Allow Organic Creativity

Moving beyond the atrium itself, the entire building plan was meant to provide a clean slate that gave Pixar the ability to creatively fill the space as it saw fit – in a very organic way.

One fun way in which this organic creativity manifested itself was in the creation of a hidden speakeasy known as the Lucky 7 Lounge – which has been visited by many special visitors like Randy Newman, Michael Eisner, Michael Cera, and even Steve Jobs himself. Though the lounge was not in the original plan, allowing for fun and spontaneous elements was.

Office Spaces That Live and Breathe

Having tried a much more open, cubicle-based plan at their previous headquarters and noting the difficulty in getting work done, Pixar opted to go with a much more closed environment this time around. Many offices are arranged in U-shaped units of 5-6 individual offices – with a central gathering area in the middle that brings the idea of the creating unplanned collaboration down to a smaller, workspace-sized concept.

In terms of decoration and style, employee office spaces are a sight to be seen. Some work in small house huts, other share space, some stand up. John Lasseter’s office (image right, click to zoom) is filled to the brim with toys – clearly not your average executive office.

Brad Bird notes, “If you walk around downstairs in the animation area, you’ll see that it is unhinged. People are allowed to create whatever front to their office they want. One guy might build a front that’s like a Western town. Someone else might do something that looks like Hawaii…John [Lasseter – Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer] believes that if you have a loose, free kind of atmosphere, it helps creativity.”

Many employees, especially animators, are given setups with 2-3 very large monitors, some 3d enabled with Pixar specific animation software that was developed in-house.

Steve Jobs’ office was described as being the cleanest office at Pixar – which from the looks of it houses a very minimally spaced set of Eames Plywood chairs, a Noguchi Table, a Razor scooter, and not much else.

Elsewhere in the campus lie office chairs that originally were owned by Walt Disney Studios from the 30’s. Though the original plan called for a very mid-century modern aesthetic, utilizing classic design as well as rugs that were handwoven by Tibetans in Nepal.

The campus itself also houses modeling workshops, storyboard rooms, a massive render farm, and of course orchestra and sound recording facilities.

An Epic Campus Landscaping Plan

Though most companies do not have the ability to develop a major campus landscaping plan, Pixar wished to use their 20-acre campus as a special, unified place carved out of the surrounding urban context. “The landscape, designed by Peter Walker Partners, is agrarian than manicured in character, with many seemingly undiscovered places to walk, sit and talk, or eat lunch.”

The exterior campus includes a 600-seat outdoor amphitheater, a soccer field, and an organic vegetable garden used by Pixar’s chefs, flower cutting gardens and a wildflower meadow. And for both fun and fitness, they also have an olympic-sized swimming pool, volleyball court, jogging trail, and basketball court.

As Jobs put it – these amenities were meant “to keep his young animation staff happy – and animated.”

In order to create the desired agrarian atmosphere, the exterior is filled with both native and exotic plants and trees – including European beech, live oak, palms, redwoods, Japanese maple, and cottonwood trees. The visitor entrance also boasts a series of beautiful rose gardens.

To Fence or Not to Fence?

An interesting point of contention in the development of the campus came, oddly enough, over Pixar’s desire to fence in the property during the second phase of the campus. Why fence in the property?

The company’s Director of Facilities explained, “We are a movie studio, and this is what movie studios do, now that we are a more successful company, people want to get into Pixar. We get fans and tourists; we call them ‘looky-loos. But we also get people who want to steal our intellectual property, our ideas, It’s no laughing matter that the world is a much different place than in 1998.”

Emeryville’s city council initially denied the expansion plans over the fence, but it seems after pressure from Pixar – and a threat or two to leave Emeryville – the plan (fence included) was approved.

Connecting with the Workplace

Creating a work environment that people enjoy working in can be one of the most challenging aspects of modern office design. And surely one of the most memorable features of Pixar’s are the many characters, both big and small, that find their way around the campus. Outside you’ll find a huge version of Luxo Jr., while the cast of The Incredibles and Monsters Inc. can be found within the atrium.

Why do they do this? Sure it adds some brand value to a campus that otherwise might seem plain, but for a company like Pixar who slaves for many years bringing their films to life, I think it represents a connection to and love of their work.
There can be no greater feeling that walking around the workplace and being reminded of the great work you helped to produce – as well as seeing the smiles of the many visitors as they recollect the ways each movie touched their lives.

Coming Back to Reality

If you’ve been reading and thinking about how much your work environment need improvement in order to match up with Pixar, you aren’t alone. The company currently employs around 1200 people – has since built several more phases which have added room for more employees in additional buildings which include a rooftop garden, central hearth, as well as bringing much of the campus to LEED Silver certification.

Much of the latest work has been completed by Huntsman Architectural Group, and Gensler.

Now while the campus has expanded significantly past its original bounds, the plan designed around creating an atmosphere where creativity thrives is still very much intact.

But while we can sit around and mope about how our offices are stiflingly terrible, we should actually be considering what things we can learn from this design and how we can implement them into our own workplaces.

Here are a few things to help create that ‘Pixar feeling’ in your office:
1.    Be intentional about designing for collisions and unplanned collaboration – rather than using managerial force.
2.    Use the office space to remind employees why they work for the company.
3.    Make the office fun and a place employees want to work, rather than have to work.
4.    Allow employees to express themselves through their workspaces.

Additional Photography

While my original post on Pixar included some shots, I have since come across a number of additional campus views that I hope you will enjoy. Much of the following photography – specifically the beautiful architectural photography – was completed by Sharon Risedorph Photography. The photo of Luxo JR was taken by Jason Pratt.

Categories Architecture, Creative Office Spaces, Design, Narrative, Tech Industry

How Tech Office Space Sets the Bar for Everyone Else

What would you do if you had an unlimited budget to improve your company’s next office renovation?  Below is a great article detailing what some tech giants are doing to their interior design to keep their employees happy, productive and in the office. 
 
One simple takeaway is that these companies are doing THE most innovative and comprehensive buildout you can possibly build.  AND they are applying everything in the real world.  We find that our clients, regardless of industry, are watching and observing all these changes and then incorporating as many of their favorite features as they can afford into their own space.
 
Contact me if you would like to see some examples in Phoenix or across the US.

Andrew
602.954.3769
acheney@leearizona.com


 

Technology firms and the office of the future
Their eccentric buildings offer clues about how people will work


April 29th 2017
 

FROM the 62nd floor of Salesforce Tower, 920 feet above the ground, San Francisco’s monuments look piddling. The Bay Bridge, Coit Tower and Palace of Fine Arts are dwarfed by the steel-and-glass headquarters that will house the software company when it is completed later this year. Subtle it is not. Salesforce plans to put on a light show every night; its new building will be visible from up to 30 miles away.

It is not the only technology company erecting a shrine to itself. Apple’s employees have just begun moving into their new headquarters in Cupertino, some 70 kilometres away, which was conceived by the firm’s late founder, Steve Jobs. The four-story, circular building looks like the dial of an iPod (or a doughnut) and is the same size as the Pentagon. At a price tag of around $5bn, it will be the most expensive corporate headquarters ever constructed. Apple applied all its product perfectionism to it: the guidelines for the wood used inside it reportedly ran to 30 pages.

Throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley, cash-rich technology firms have built or are erecting bold, futuristic headquarters that convey their brands to employees and customers. Another example is Uber, a ride-hailing company, which is hoping to recast its reputation for secrecy and rugged competitiveness by designing an entirely see-through head office. It is expected to have some interior areas, as well as a park, that will be open to the public.

The exteriors of the new buildings will attract most attention, but it is their interiors that should be watched more closely. The very newest buildings, such as Apple’s, are mostly still under wraps, but they are expected to be highly innovative in their internal layout. Some of that is because of fierce competition within the tech industry for the best engineering and other talent: firms are particularly keen to come up with attractive, productive environments. But these new office spaces will also signal how work is likely to evolve. Technology companies have already changed the way people behave in offices beyond their own industry, as a result of e-mail, online search and collaboration tools such as Slack. They are doing the same for physical spaces.

The big idea championed by the industry is the concept of working in various spaces around an office rather than at a fixed workstation. Other industries have experimented with “activity-based working”, but tech is ahead. Employees may still have an assigned desk but they are not expected to be there, and they routinely go to different places to do various tasks. There are “libraries” where they can work quietly, as well as coffee shops, cafés and outdoor spaces for meetings and phone calls. The top two floors of Salesforce Tower, for example, will be used not as corner offices for executives but as an airy lounge for employees, where they can work communally and gaze out at the views over a latté.

A fluid working environment is meant to allow for more chance encounters, which could spur new ideas and spark unexpected collaborations. Facebook’s central building is the world’s largest open-plan office, designed to encourage employees to bump into one another in its common spaces and in a nine-acre rooftop garden. Communal areas are meant to be casual and alluring. John Schoettler, head of real estate at Amazon, says he aims to make them into “living-room-like spaces”. For offices to feel like home, it helps to hire a designer with expertise in residential real-estate, says Elizabeth Pinkham of Salesforce. In common areas at the firm’s offices, there are TVs, couches and bookshelves. Framed photos of a few employees add to the effect.

The new “working at home”

For those who scoff at the creative benefits of being surrounded by pictures of Colin from accounts, there are more tangible payoffs. The lack of fixed workstations shrinks the amount of expensive real estate given to employees without leaving them feeling too squeezed. Tech firms devote around 14 square metres to each employee, around a quarter less than other industries, according to Randy Howder at Gensler, a design firm. Young workers are thought to be more productive in these varied environments, which are reminiscent of the way people study and live at university. One drawback, however, is that finding colleagues can be difficult. Employees need to locate each other through text messages and messaging apps.

Collaborative spaces can also expose generational tensions, says Louise Mozingo, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Tech firms’ elderly employees (otherwise known as the over-40s) can struggle to adjust to moving around during the day and to the frequent disruptions that come from large, open-plan offices. Many of Facebook’s employees do not like their office because it is noisy, and some Apple employees are hesitant to move into their new building for the same reason. Plenty also balk at the massive distances they will need to walk.

That may not be the only thing to cause employees concern. Tech firms are increasingly keen to use their own products in their headquarters. Jensen Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, a chipmaking firm whose graphics processing units are widely used in artificial-intelligence programmes, says his firm plans to introduce facial recognition for entry into its new headquarters, due to open later this year.

Nvidia will also install cameras to recognise what food people are taking from the cafeteria and charge them accordingly, eliminating the need for a queue and cashier. A self-driving shuttle will eventually zip between its various buildings. And Nvidia’s own AI will monitor when employees arrive and leave, with the ostensible aim of adjusting the building’s heating and cooling systems.

The data that firms can collect on their employees’ whereabouts and activities are bound to become ever more detailed. Another way of keeping tabs on people is through company-issued mobile phones. “Every employee has their own tracking device,” observes Mr Howder at Gensler. “Technology firms will sooner or later take advantage of that.”

Few of them are willing to share details of their future plans because of concerns about employees’ privacy. However, some of their contractors signal what sort of innovations may be in the pipeline. Office-furniture makers, for example, are experimenting with putting sensors in desks and chairs, so that firms will be better able to monitor when workers are there.

Such data could be anonymised to allay privacy concerns. They could also save electricity or help people find an empty room to hold a meeting. But it is not hard to imagine how such data could create a culture of surveillance, where employees feel constantly monitored. “Technology firms could be an indicator of what will happen with privacy in offices more generally,” says David Benjamin of Autodesk, a company that sells software to architects, among other clients.

Silent discos and Bedouin tents

A less controversial trend is for unusual office interiors. These can distinguish companies in the minds of their employees, act as a recruiting tool and also give staff a reason to come into the office rather than work from home. For companies that do not ship a physical product, such offices can serve as important daily reminders of culture and purpose.

Last year LinkedIn, a professional social network, for example, opened a new building in San Francisco that is full of space set aside for networking, and that includes a “silent disco”, where people can dance to music with headphones on. Instead of offering generic meeting rooms with portentous names, Airbnb, a tech firm that lets people rent out their homes, has designed each of its meeting spaces after one of its rental listings, such as a Bedouin tent from Morocco. It also has a meeting room (pictured above) that is an exact replica of the rental apartment where the founders lived when they came up with the idea for Airbnb. Every detail, including the statue of Jesus in red velvet on top of the fireplace, is accurate, says Joe Gebbia, one of the company’s founders.

Nvidia is obsessed with triangles, the basic element of computer graphics used to create lifelike scenes in video games and movies. Its new headquarters, which cost $370m, is shaped like one (see picture), and its interior is full of them. Everything, from the skylights to the benches in the lobby, is triangular. “At this point I’m kind of over the triangle shape, because we took that theme and beat it to death,” admits John O’Brien, the company’s head of real estate, who pointedly vetoed a colleague’s recent suggestion to offer triangle-shaped water bottles in the cafeteria.

Such workspaces remind staff that they are choosing not just an employer but a way of life. In the tech bubble of the late 1990s companies disrupted the workplace by offering foosball tables, nap pods, blow-up castles and free lunches. Now the emphasis is on amenities that help employees save time. Larger firms, including Facebook, Alphabet and LinkedIn, offer their staff something akin to the services used by the extremely wealthy, helping employees to find places to live, adopt pets and the like. Some large tech groups offer on-site health care.

The effect of all this is that the typical office at a technology firm is becoming a prosperous, self-contained village. Employees have fewer reasons than ever to leave. With the spare cash they can throw at their employees, tech giants have vastly raised the bar for other kinds of company, which also want to recruit clever engineers and techies for their projects.

Other industries would be wise to take time to watch how tech firms are structuring their work environments. There is certainly a chance of a backlash against those that use their products to watch employees too closely. Workers may like free lunches and other perks associated with the tech business, but probably not enough to surrender their privacy entirely.

 

Categories Architecture, Creative Office Spaces, Design, Narrative, Open Offices

World’s Coolest Offices 2017

Every year, we share the most innovative offices from around the world (and a few from our own clients).  Below is our list from 2017. 

First, you get a few of the best clients we were fortunate enough to work with this past year. We can hold our own here in the Valley of the Sun.  Below our clients are the international companies from Inc. Magazine. It’s amazing to see the creativity that goes into building out all of these spaces.  
 
Pick your favorite. I love Kudelski (our client—but I’ve been in the space), and the Airbnb space in Dublin.  Scroll down, it’s worth your time. 
 
Enjoy,

Craig

PS — In addition to the coolest offices of 2017, we had a client (Oaktree Capital and Cypress Properties) turn loose 4 architects to build out 4 spaces without direction or budget.  We called it Project Future (check out this background video). These 4 spaces turned out fabulous and the 600 people who toured them on opening night loved the show. Click here to see the spaces and the party.


MindBody

 image032

SkySong 4

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Greater Phoenix Economic Council

image034

Booker Software

image035

Kudelski Security

image036

And of course, our home, Lee & Associates

image037


15 OFFICES THAT WILL MAKE YOU INSANELY JEALOUS

By JEREMY BITTERMANN
Inc._logo
December 29th, 2017

 

Crazy indoor plant life. Castles and opium factories converted into headquarters. Inc. has been keeping tabs on the very coolest offices throughout the year. Here are the best of the best. 

1.    One with nature

If you can’t work outdoors, bring the outdoors inside. Swedish gaming company King used real lichen and trees built out of plywood to create a hideaway that feels like a Scandinavian forest. 

IMAGE: KING; DESIGN: ADOLFSSON & PARTNERS; PHOTOGRAPHY: JOACHIM BELAIEFF

2. Nod to yesteryear

Airy and filled with natural light, WeWork’s flagship China office is built into what used to be an opium factory. The space uses the building’s original staircase and steel beams, painted green for a more natural feel. 

IMAGE: DESIGN: WEWORK & LINEHOUSE; PHOTO: WEWORK

3. Color by number

Dutch architecture firm MVRDV designed a wing of its headquarters to resemble a doll house. The rooms are color-coded by purpose, from the red TV lounge to the dark blue meeting room.

IMAGE: PHOTOGRAPHY: OSSIP VAN DUIVENBODE

4. Through the years

The offices of genealogy company Ancestry pay tribute to the firm’s employees–and their roots. Portraits of long-tenured workers are hung next to photos of family members from generations ago.

IMAGE: DESIGN: RAPT STUDIO; PHOTO: JEREMY BITTERMANN

5. Over the rainbow

Media agency Canvas outfitted its office with dichroic glass, which reflects light at different angles. The glass changes color depending on the time of day and the angle at which you view it. 


IMAGE: CANVAS WORLDWIDE; DESIGN: A+I; PHOTO: MICHAEL WELLS

6. Get nutty

Vice’s Toronto office has a bar designed to feel like a throwback saloon. Made of walnut, it’s stocked with coffee and tea, plus bourbon and whiskey for after hours.


IMAGE: ADRIEN WILLIAMS

7. A colorful history

British startup Money.co.uk converted a Victorian castle into its new home. The new digs combine old-fashioned decor with kitschy elements and pops of color for a truly unique feel. 


IMAGE: DESIGN: INTERACTION; PHOTO: CHRIS TERRY

8. Stepping up

Airbnb’s Dublin office is the first one the company has designed from scratch. It’s broken into 29 distinct “neighborhoods,” and the staircase at the center serves as a lounge and meeting area.


IMAGE: DESIGN: HENEGHAN PENG ARCHITECTS; PHOTO: DONAL MURPHY

9. Recharge

PwC’s new Switzerland office gives employees the chance to catch up on rest in the nap room. The natural color palette gives the space a calming, outdoorsy feel.


IMAGE: DESIGN: EVOLUTION DESIGN; PHOTO: PETER WUERMLI

10. Keep it green

Instead of dividers or walls, co-working space Second Home separates its cubicles with greenery. The Lisbon, Portugal-based office is home to more than 1,000 plants, which also helps improve the office’s air quality.


IMAGE: DESIGN: SELGASCANO; PHOTO: IWAN BAAN

11. Grayscale

Squarespace went with a sleek, minimalist scheme for its 98,000 sq. ft. New York office. It’s almost entirely black, white, and gray, with the only splashes of color coming from the plant life. 


IMAGE: DESIGN: A+I; PHOTO: SQUARESPACE

12. The ring

Apple’s new spaceship-like headquarters give life to a vision initially laid out by Steve Jobs. The campus is home to 12,000 employees and 9,000 trees, and it relies entirely on renewable energy.


IMAGE: COURTESY APPLE

13. It’s alive

That’s not a painting: LinkedIn’s 26-story San Francisco headquarters feature a living wall next to the 17th story juice bar. It’s made of various types of moss and has both depth and texture.

IMAGE: DESIGN: IA INTERIOR ARCHITECTS; PHOTOGRAPHY: ERIC LAIGNEL

14. Dual purpose

Boston-based Pillpack outfitted its lounge with a refurbished Prohibition-era bar. It serves espresso during the day and turns into a DJ booth during nighttime events.


IMAGE: DESIGN: HALEY MCLANE, PHOTOGRAPHY: JARED KUZIA

15. Looking forward

Google broke ground on its new London headquarters in late 2017. The 1,066-foot “landscraper” will contain offices, swimming pools, and basketball courts, and will be almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall.


IMAGE: COURTESY GOOGLE

 

 

Categories Architecture, Creative Office Spaces, Narrative

Third Space First

You heard it here first (hopefully).  There is a new type of space for companies called third spaces.  Third spaces are places for local people to gather and eat, with areas for creative, cultural, and community activities. This is where ideas and startups are born.

If this concept takes off, the next wave of development will need to add third spaces into the design, and existing developments will renovate to add them.  We are seeing it happen with a couple of projects we have in Phoenix.

Renaissance Square is turning two old tennis courts into a very cool collaborative space that will include a multi-use turf field, kitchen and bar area. Here is what it looks like today and the rendering:

  
Tennis Courts Rendering      Ren Tennis Courts

Camelback Commons took a huge gravel courtyard and added several workspaces along with games and seating areas that are right next to an onsite restaurant.

 
Camelback Commons Before   Camelback Commons

    
The market is changing…..and fast. We are right in the middle of it. 

Craig

 

602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

P.S. In part 2 of the premiere, the guys get some one-on-one time with Figtree Capital to see if they can make that special connection.Watch the video below!


 

Third Space First
The quickly growing number of third spaces is good news for both the social and the urban fabrics. 

By: Erling Fossen 
January 10, 2017

Real estate used to be quite simple. Either you built houses where people lived (first space), or you built offices where people worked from 9 to 5 (second space). What a way to make a living. Then came mixed-use development, where you combined living, working, and leisure in the same area. New York got its first mixed use-zoning districts [pdf] as late as 1997. Now it’s all about third spaces.

A local community group in Dublin gives the best and yet simplest explanation of the “third space” concept, defining third space as “places for local people to gather & eat easily, inexpensively & regularly, with space for creative, cultural and community activities.”

If we dig below the surface of that definition, there exist two fundamentally different approaches to third space, though they are united by the core concept of human interaction. One is connected to an American nostalgia about great places and the erosion of social capital. Communities need places where people can interact and nurture common values. There can be no community without common values.

The other approach is connected to innovation and creativity. Third space connotes creative places where new ideas and start-ups are born. Third places can be co-working spaces, co-creation spaces, shared spaces, community spaces, social spaces, and more. At the center of all these approaches to third spaces are creativity and the desire to foster and commercialize new ideas. Even co-working spaces put their biggest effort in community building. In an ongoing global survey of co-working spaces, nearly 80 percent say the most important feature to attract new members is community building.

In the Western Hemisphere, the number of co-working spaces is increasing rapidly every year. Oslo had ten co-working spaces last year, and we’re looking at 20 this year. Even the secretary of finance in Norway—Siv Jensen—visited a co-working space to learn about how Millennials work and play. When she visited Tøyen Start Up Village last year, she boldly stated that “the entrepreneurs are the real heroes” of our time.
   
Commercial real estate used to be all about building new headquarters for Fortune 500-companies—or at least for a large single user with a 30-year lease. But end users are not what they used to be. There are many users occupying a single building—drop-in users, short-term users, and maybe a few long-term users. That means developers and designers have to create third spaces both inside and outside the building, where people can interact and capitalize on the ideas brought into existence during and after interplay. Without third spaces, there is no interaction, no attraction, and there are no users.

Public places suffer in general because they don’t generate profit. Both the public authorities and the real estate developers are constantly trying to push the responsibility over to each other. The contemporary quest for third spaces is, therefore, good news. Real estate development must be urban development, literally building its business model around the third spaces. Real estate developers must scrap their Excel sheets and the old business models, or somebody else will. Professional co-workings spaces like WeWork can offer medium sized companies a shared space in larger buildings. Another example, the extensive New Lab in the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, offers a roof and creative surroundings to all the hardware geeks in New York.

Real estate is no longer about buildings, but how we use the urban fabric to create communities that are economically and social sustainable. That’s a completely new ball game for real estate developers. But it’s very good news for the rest of us.

 

Categories Architecture, Narrative, Tech Industry

A 3D-Printed Building?

3D printing is by far one of the most exciting and innovative technologies hitting the market today. But most people have no idea how far along the technology has come. From ears to planes, car parts to prosthetic limbs, and now entire office buildings, 3D printers are already creating amazing things and disrupting entire industries in the process.

Below is an article about an office building in Dubai made entirely through 3D printing.  

My takeaways: 

–Technology is disrupting not only brokerage but development and construction as well.

–The pace is lightspeed.  In the next 24-36 months, we will see a 3D-printed building in the USA.

–Anyone not looking at these advancements, is doomed. 

Everything we know, we need to relearn. This narrative is part of that process, as is our brokerage business. Let us know how we can help you manage all the disruption happening in your world.

 

Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

This May Be the World’s First Functioning 3-D Printed Building

Bloomberg
May 24, 2016
3D Building

Dubai has opened what it said was the world’s first functioning 3-D-printed office building, part of a drive by the Gulf’s main tourism and business hub to develop technology that cuts costs and saves time.

The printers — used industrially and also on a smaller scale to make digitally designed, three-dimensional objects from plastic — have not been used much for building.

This one used a special mixture of cement, a Dubai government statement said, and reliability tests were done in Britain and China.

The one-storey prototype building, with floorspace of about 2,700 square feet, used a 20-foot by 120-foot by 40-foot printer, the government said.

“This is the first 3-D-printed building in the world, and it’s not just a building, it has fully functional offices and staff,” the United Arab Emirates Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mohamed Al Gergawi, said.

“We believe this is just the beginning. The world will change,” he said.

The arc-shaped office, built in 17 days and costing about $140,000, will be the temporary headquarters of Dubai Future Foundation — the company behind the project — is in the center of the city, near the Dubai International Financial Center.

Gergawi said studies estimated the technique could cut building time by 50 to 70 percent and labor costs by 50 to 80 percent. Dubai’s strategy was to have 25 percent of the buildings in the emirate printed by 2030, he said.

(Reporting by Lara Sukhtian; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Categories Architecture, Narrative, Uncategorized

17,000 Manhattan Buildings Could Not Be Built Today

Big cities like New York, San Francisco, and LA have always fascinated me from a real estate perspective. To buy land, design and build buildings is a complex process. Zoning and city planning alone create innumerable obstacles for developers due to the limited amount of space.

New York City’s zoning code turns 100 this year, and below is an interesting article about why many of its buildings could not be built today–in fact 40% (17,000 buildings) of them.  Why?

–Too tall
–Too dense (I figured this would be one)
–Don’t conform to zoning code (this is huge—check out the red dots below)  

 We have come a long way in city planning. At what price?  Read on to see some real life examples of projects, and give me a call or respond to this email if you have any interesting examples you would like to share with me. 
Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com


40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today

By QUOCTRUNG BUI, MATT A.V. CHABAN and JEREMY WHITE

New York Times
May 20, 2016

These are buildings that do not conform to New York City’s zoning code for at least one reason.

Because They Are Too Tall …

These tend to be apartment buildings concentrated on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side.

Or They Have Too Many Apartments …

The West Village and Chelsea are the biggest offenders in terms of density.

Or Too Many Businesses …

Technically, too many square feet dedicated to commercial uses. Mostly concentrated in Midtown and the East Village.

But They Made New York Great. (Sometimes.)

New York City’s zoning code turns 100 this year. That may not sound like cause for celebration — except maybe for land-use lawyers and Robert Moses aficionados. Yet for almost every New Yorker, the zoning code plays an outsize role in daily life, shaping virtually every inch of the city.

The bays and cliffs of the Empire State Building come from zoning, as do the arcades and plazas of Park Avenue. The code gave us Zuccotti Park and Billionaire’s Rowthe quietude of Greenwich Village and the bustle of the High Line, the glass towers now lining the formerly industrial waterfront and the portion of subsidized apartments that fill them.

New York’s zoning code was the first in the country, meant to promote a healthier city, which was then filling with filthy tenements and office towers. Since it was approved in 1916, the ever-evolving, byzantine code has changed many times to suit the needs of a swollen metropolis. Just in March, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio won approval for a vast citywide plan that would encourage sleeker, more affordable developments.

Yet many of New York’s buildings remain stuck in the past.

Whole swaths of the city defy current zoning rules. In Manhattan alone, roughly two out of every five buildings are taller, bulkier, bigger or more crowded than current zoning allows, according to data compiled by Stephen Smith and Sandip Trivedi. They run Quantierra, a real estate firm that uses data to look for investment opportunities.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Trivedi evaluated public records on more than 43,000 buildings and discovered that about 17,000 of them, or 40 percent, do not conform to at least one part of the current zoning code. The reasons are varied. Some of the buildings have too much residential area, too much commercial space, too many dwelling units or too few parking spaces; some are simply too tall. These are buildings that could not be built today.

It is important to note that these estimates rely on public records that can be imperfect. Still, while the data may at times be imprecise, it allows for an insightful view of zoning in New York.

Many buildings in distinctive Manhattan neighborhoods like Chinatown, the Upper East Side and Washington Heights could not be erected now: Properties in those areas tend to cover too much of their lots (Washington Heights), have too much commercial space (Chinatown) or rise too high (the Upper East Side). Areas like Chelsea, Midtown and East Harlem, on the other hand, would look much as they do already.

“Look at the beautiful New York City neighborhoods we could never build again,” Mr. Smith said. “It’s ridiculous that we have these hundred-year-old buildings that everyone loves, and none of them ‘should’ be the way they are.”

As the zoning code enters its second century, it is worth considering the ways it has shaped the city; whether and where it is still working; and how it might be altered so the city can continue to grow without obliterating everything New Yorkers love about it.

A New New York Would Be Less Dense

19jones-photo.jpg 19 Jones Street in Greenwich Village.Pablo Enriquez for The New York Times

On the cover of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” there on the right side, its cornice almost grazing the N in Dylan, stands 19 Jones Street. It is one of the thousands of buildings in Manhattan with too many dwelling units for its size.

Built in 1910 as a tenement, 19 Jones Street predates the zoning code by six years. It belongs to a special family of tenements known as dumbbell apartments, so named because of the way the buildings are squeezed in the middle, creating air shafts. Such openings were a requirement of the Tenement Housing Act of 1879, meant to make tightly packed apartments a little bit more livable.

19 Jones Street
Current Building vs. If Built Today

Were 19 Jones built today, it would have to be significantly smaller. The number of apartments would fall sharply, to just eight from 24. The building’s total dimensions would be nearly halved, and a story or two would have to be chopped off.

New York’s zoning rules were intended to create less cramped quarters, but they also have consequences for the number of aggregate apartments in the city. Such limitations can quickly decrease the supply of housing, and most likely drive up rents. If every tenement in the city were reconfigured in these ways, they would be less crowded, but there would also be fewer apartments to go around.

 New New York Would Be Shorter

720park-photo.jpg
720 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side.Pablo Enriquez for The New York Times

Problems persist at the other end of the real estate spectrum.

Take 720 Park Avenue, a Rosario Candela classic from 1928 that rises 17 stories and has only 29 units — one of which, a 7,000-square-foot duplex, recently came on the market for $22.5 million. All that grandiosity is too much for modern zoning, which now constrains such boxy, bulky buildings in this part of town.

The city’s first zoning code was enacted as New Yorkers began to worry that tall buildings would cast the city into eternal darkness. People feared the spread of bulky skyscrapers like the Equitable Building, at 120 Broadway in the Financial District. Rising 42 stories and 538 feet straight up from the street in a hulking limestone slab, it spread a seven-acre shadow over downtown when it opened in 1915.

720 Park Avenue
Current Building vs. If Built Today

In response, the city included a setback rule in the zoning code the next year, which required buildings to step back as they rose. It helped create that familiar saw-toothed shape beloved in so many prewar skyscrapers as well as the ersatz ziggurat in shorter structures like 720 Park.

Yet changes brought about with the 1961 zoning overhaul and tweaks since would create a very different 720 Park today. First, it would have to be much shorter on the 70th Street side. And, since this building reflects a previous era’s rules on bulk and density, it would have to slim down along Park Avenue, as well.

The rules were dreamed up by planners in part to ensure that historic buildings would not be replaced with something totally out of context, like the skinny towers now springing up on 57th Street. Yet they also ensured that many of the existing structures that made up that context would eventually be out of context themselves.

But a New New York Will Still Look a Little Old

Both 19 Jones Street and 720 Park Avenue belong to a vast group of buildings in New York City that are treasured for their architectural value and historical significance. They persevere out of genuine appreciation but also the zoning quirks that determine the fate of almost every building, new or old.

Nearly three-quarters of the existing square footage in Manhattan was built between the 1900s and 1930s, according to an analysis done by KPF, an architecture firm based in New York. In a way, the zoning code helps to preserve such architectural diversity. The laws have gotten more restrictive over time, giving an edge to properties built in earlier eras.

Not all buildings are worth keeping. In Midtown East, many nonconforming structures have low ceilings and columns that make them unappealing to new businesses. Some developers have gone so far as to demolish all but the bottom quarter of their buildings, and then build up from there, allowing them to retain the old zoning for their plots so as not to sacrifice a single square foot. The city is currently reconsidering a proposal that would allow these buildings to be rebuilt to their original size and possibly even larger.

It does not have to be this complicated. In honor of the code’s 100th anniversary, the Municipal Art Society of New York has called on City Hall to consider overhauling the code in a way that would make it intelligible to all.

“To understand zoning, you have to have a law degree, it’s so convoluted and so dense,” Mike Ernst, director of planning at the civic group, said. “The whole process of how buildings get built these days is so confusing and opaque to people. There really should be more transparency, so people can have an understanding of what the future holds for their city.”

Note: Data do not reflect zoning for quality and affordability or mandatory inclusionary housing laws, both of which would have a small impact on Manhattan. Illustrations by Mika Grondahl.

 

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Categories Architecture, Narrative

Passive House Residential Ups the Ante

This narrative is focused on all things commercial real estate. We also like to look outside our world to see what will be coming soon to a commercial project near you. Below is a short article about a building currently under construction on Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus. In short, it is the first high-rise residential building in the world to be built to Passive House (PH) standards. These standards surpass LEED, upping the ante for energy conservation.
 
Some of the features of this building include:
–Super insulated building façade creating an airtight building
–EVR-energy recovery ventilation system
–A louver system that are like “gills” allowing the building systems to breathe
 
Sustainability is here, and PH standards are pushing the envelope.

Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

P.S.- Michael Kosta is back in this week’s preview. To learn more on how C2 will perform for you, just give us a call. The full video is on our website, click here to check it out.

Dynamic Brokers


 

Cornell Tech to build first passive house residential high-rise

Story Contacts: George Lowery, Joe Schwartz

Cornell Chronicle Logo

June 17, 2015

Cornell Photo
Provided. Cornell Tech announced that the first residential building on the Roosevelt Island campus will become the first high-rise residential building in the world built to passive house standards.
The first residential building on Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus will become the first high-rise residential building in the world built to passive house (PH) standards, a rigorous building standard for energy consumption. The building will become the beacon of the Cornell Tech campus and a symbol of the school’s commitment to sustainability. Construction is set to begin this month on the 26-story building; it will comprise 350 residential units and open as part of the campus’s first phase in 2017.
 
“Constructing the first passive house residential high-rise in the world is the latest and most exciting example of our effort to set new benchmarks in sustainability and innovation,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “We hope this will serve as a model for how passive house standards can be brought to scale in the United States and create a new template for green design here in New York City.”

PH buildings consume 60 to 70 percent less energy than typical buildings, surpassing modern standards like LEED and NYSERDA. They incorporate a super insulated building façade, an airtight building envelope and an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system to create a comfortable interior climate without drafts and cold spots. The ERV system constantly pulls in fresh air and removes stale air, while recovering the energy in the climate-controlled air leaving the building.

Cornell Tech Residential will incorporate a number of sustainability-focused design elements. The façade will act as a thermally insulated blanket wrapping the building structure. At the southwest façade, facing Manhattan, the exterior façade opens to reveal a louver system that extends the entire height of the building. This reveal is designed to be the “gills” of the building, housing the heating and cooling equipment and allowing the building system to “breathe.” Low VOC‐paint, which limits off‐gassing and improves indoor air quality, will be used throughout the building, among many other elements. Compared with conventional construction, the building is projected to save 882 tons of CO2 per year, equal to planting 5,300 new trees.

Developed in partnership with the Hudson Companies and Related Companies and designed by New York City-based Handel Architects, the high-rise will be the tallest building on Cornell Tech’s campus. A state-of-the-art, color-changing paint will make the building’s exterior shimmer when reflecting light, shifting color from silver to warm champagne. The interior is designed to provide a comfortable living experience that reinforces the social and intellectual connectivity that is at the heart of the school’s mission, and it will feature a number of collaborative interior and exterior spaces. 

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