The Top 25 Most Popular Offices of 2017

It is that time again for our annual look back at what people were interested in throughout the past year: The Top 25 Most Popular Offices of 2017.

Past lists: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

With new yearly records in site traffic as well as an increase in the number of projects on the site up to nearly 3,500 offices by some 1,000 architecture and design firms, 2017 has proven to be another exceptional year.

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Architecture Research Office Coats Calvin Klein’s NYC Flagship in Taxicab Yellow

The year was 1995. When the Calvin Klein Collection unveiled its New York flagship, it was the ne plus ultra of minimalism: The John Pawson design, a rational procession of natural light and limestone, reaffirmed that less can be more. But what once seemed admirably restrained had come to look, well, timid. And Calvin Klein’s new creative director, Raf Simons, rarely holds back.

After his Calvin Klein 205W39 line had debuted last fall, the 26,000-square-foot, two-story emporium needed a change before the collection hit the racks. “We had three months to figure out what we could do quickly with impact and integrity,” Stephen Cassell says. Fortunately, his team was already in place: He, along with Architecture Research Office co-principal Adam Yarinsky and artist Sterling Ruby, had just renovated the brand’s New York showroom.

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Designing for staff efficiency

Interior design strategies that help hospital staff to provide timely and high-quality care

The way a hospital is designed can improve staff efficiency in many ways, such as minimizing steps required, and reducing fatigue and stress. Certain design components, such as standardized rooms and floor plans, can result in greater efficiency.

Standardized room design provides a consistent manner in which to deliver care. The orientation of staff to the patient and to other elements in the room, such as the hand-washing sink and supplies, are the same from room to room. “This approach reduces time spent searching for supplies and equipment,” says Jocelyn Stroupe, CHID, EDAC, IIDA, ASID, principal and director of health interiors, CannonDesign, Chicago. “Staff are familiar with the room’s organization and can focus more time on caring for the patient.”

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Want to Design the Perfect Office? Ask Your Employees for Advice.

Sendero’s office in Dallas has been designed from the ground up to meet employee needs. The private workspaces, lounge space, cafe and library are a product of visioning and brainstorming sessions with numerous staff members. The result is an environment that accommodates a range of work styles.

No longer a decision made solely by the C-suite, office design now more than ever falls into the hands of employees.

For the employer, an engaged staff means business growth and employee retention. Employee engagement continues to be a challenge for businesses, according to a Deloitte report, with 48% of senior leadership surveyed citing it as very important.

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Kimball’s “fiXt” Tables Offer Options with a polished urban aesthetic

As manufacturers (and Work Design Editors alike) gear up for this year’s Neocon, we are starting to notice that design teams have been busy working on new product offerings that will work well in the changing workplace environment. As our offices become more casual and a variety of spaces are required, the furnishings that designers specify are changing as well. Kimball has come up with a sweet suite of work, meeting, occasional tables, bookcases, bench and stool seating with a refined take on the industrial look utilizing a creative mix of material and finishes.

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ActiveCampaign’s Employee-Centric HQ in Chicago

See how this Chicago tech company who quadrupled their staff in less than two years, created a warm, energetic space to support it’s rapid growth. Hint: it involves 57 small conference rooms.

In less than two years, marketing software company ActiveCampaign quadrupled its staff, becoming a buzzworthy name in the tech industry and one of the fastest growing companies in Chicago. CEO & Founder Jason VandeBoom envisioned a new office that was truly employee-centric; with flexible open workspace, social meeting areas, and quiet work rooms; giving employees options on how and where to work.

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How Developers Discovered Tampa’s ‘Best-Kept Secret’

TAMPA, Fla. — When Paul Guzzo first set eyes on Tampa in 1999, he was not impressed.

“I thought, this isn’t a city — it’s a ghost town,” said Mr. Guzzo, a native of Trenton who, like so many other Northerners, had moved south for the balmy weather. “It was like a small town looking to become a big city.”

Against his better judgment, he stayed, and has since been able to observe the gradual metamorphosis of the city’s center: A slew of developments, some completed, others planned or under construction, have imbued Tampa with a sense of dynamism that most people here agree it sorely lacked. Even some of Bill Gates’s billions are in on the action.

“You couldn’t have imagined that it would become what it is,” said Mr. Guzzo, 42, who writes about the area’s history, among other topics, for The Tampa Bay Times. “There’s stuff to do downtown. There are people there 24 hours a day. That’s the difference.”

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5 Workplace Trends Breathing Down the Neck of the Commercial Real Estate Industry

Despite the growth of open floor plans and creative workspaces, the US office environment has been curiously resistant to change in recent decades. Many workers across the country still toil away in cubicle-oriented space, which was designed without regard to actual human beings.

The workspace of today is already moving beyond the need to create proximity between people, which traditionally was the entire function of an office because it facilitated work. With people more connected today than ever, offices of the future will need to be about much more than proximity.

The new purpose of a workspace is to attract and retain the best talent.

Broadly speaking, companies are revamping offices in five major ways:

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How office buildings are reducing their carbon footprint

Office buildings are getting greener.

Companies are increasingly adding more outdoor spaces to offices for employees to enjoy, and incorporating nature into the interior design, such as living walls of plants, Zen gardens and greenhouses. Less obviously, more firms are creating buildings that are energy efficient or that even create more renewable energy than they consume.

The building that houses New York City's Public Safety Answering Center, which fields 911 calls, is made of recycled materials such as aluminum and the surrounding landscape requires no irrigation. The building, designed by architecture firm SOM, also has a green wall of plants inside that acts as a natural air filter.

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Sound health: How tranquility rooms can heal caregivers

Sound can also be healing. It promotes a culture of quietness and enhances environments, not just for patients but also for caretakers.

In hospital environments, staff can be inundated with noise—loud sirens, patients in pain, machines beeping—it’s a reflection of policies and regulations creating a dehumanized healthcare experience. But sound—through multisensory environments like the “Tranquility Room” at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.—can also be healing, by promoting a culture of quietness, enhancing environments not just for patients, but to also care for those who take care of others.

Throughout this blog series, we’ve underscored the importance for compassion towards staff—through the partnership between Gensler, sound alchemist Yoko Sen, and the Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub to develop the Tranquility Room. This room has had a profound effect on staff, with the hospital embracing self-care and mindfulness methodologies. Recently, we introduced the Tranquility Room concept at STIR: The Experience Lab—an unconventional conference or “unconference,” a convergence of 300 healthcare executives and practitioners curated through moving music, spoken word, and inspiring talks to push the conversation forward to make healthcare better. Here’s what we learned.

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Four tips for designing the hospital of the future

What exactly is the hospital of future? Or more specifically, what is the future of healthcare design?

At the outset of the Cleveland Clinic Avon Bed Tower project, our designers were challenged with the goal of creating the “Hospital of the Future.” But what exactly is the hospital of future? Or more specifically, what is the future of healthcare design? The answer to these questions would not come from a group of architects and engineers in a DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky conference room. The answer would instead come from a deep understanding of the needs of the patients and providers who occupy the building through the use of an evidence-based design (EBD) approach.

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Where is LEED having the most impact in the US?

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world's most widely used green building rating system. The list ranks states in terms of certified square feet per resident in the previous year, and it highlights the latest developments throughout the U.S. that are making significant strides in sustainable design, construction and transformation.

"We know how important green building practices and certifications are to ensuring a more sustainable future for all," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. "These states showcase exceptional leadership and by using LEED, businesses, property owners and policy makers in these states are strategically addressing some of the most critical social and environmental concerns of our time."

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For Slack's Vancouver Office, Leckie Studio Updates Industrial Warehouse for Modern Work

In the early 1900’s, an eight-block district of Vancouver was the region’s center of warehousing activity. A century later, Leckie Studio Architecture + Design looked to that history when designing an office for software company Slack, housed in a 1911 former warehouse. “We were inspired by the industrial character of the building,” principal Michael Leckie says.

Exposed brick, steel partitions, and wooden beams show the site’s influence, but the office is organized for today’s workforce. There are no private offices. A double-height space with stepped seating is for meetings and presentations. Break-out areas are perfect for collaborative work. And custom meeting rooms are on wheels, so they can be moved from place to place within the office.

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MindClick Leads the Charge Towards Sustainable Hospitality Design

There’s no question that global climate change and environmental degradation have a huge impact on design today. Interior designers are increasingly focused on supporting healthy interiors and the environment, but it can get complicated when there are myriad product options. Now, thanks to a partnership between Marriott and MindClick, designers working in the hospitality sector have a resource to grow their knowledge of today's design best practices and network with suppliers creating the products of tomorrow.

The Marriott Sustainability Assessment Program, or MSAP, was originally born out of an idea to simplify the confusion that exists around the various certifications and eco-labels that can be applied to products, explains MindClick CEO Joanna Abrams. It was also intended to give specifiers a base on which they can compare products and manufacturers. The outcome was a rigorous metric that assesses the environmental impact of products throughout their lifecycles.

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Amanda Schneider Predicts Future Changes in the Contract Furniture Industry

We had the opportunity to meet up with industry consultant Amanda Schneider to talk about the revolutionary changes she sees coming in the contract furniture market and the impact these changes will have on furniture dealers, manufacturer reps, and manufacturers, including Formaspace Office. You may know Amanda from her research-led strategy firm, Contract Consulting Group, which helped produce the CBRE Furniture Forums in Chicago and Washington D.C., as well as her recent high-profile articles in the Business of Furniture Magazine and HuffPost.

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Active Interiors to Encourage Wellness

Design needs to work hard all year long and that’s especially true with wellness-centered design strategies that play a crucial role in keeping people happy, healthy, and active.

Encourage Walking to Boost Productivity

A few simple changes to space layout can encourage people to walk more. Arrange communal amenities (coffee makers, water dispensers, and equipment like printers or copiers) in a central location instead of sprinkling them throughout an office. Not only do users have to walk farther to get what they need, they’re also drawn into a mini meeting space where colleagues can bump into each other and spark impromptu conversations, noted Joshua Zinder, principal of JZA+D, an integrated design firm.

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Four keys to designing autistic-friendly spaces

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral condition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in every 68 births have autism in the U.S. Individuals with this condition may experience hypersensitivity of the senses, difficulty understanding what others are thinking and feeling, and cognitive delays. 

We have the potential to improve design quality for everyone by understanding how individuals with autism view the world. While autism in part gave us modern architecture, making ASD inclusivity a priority in design is a necessary step that could encourage innovation and potentially propel us into a new era of architecture.

You might wonder how autism could have given us modern architecture, well the answer lies in the use of eye tracking. As stated in a study in Common Edge, they have found that individuals with autism respond to visual stimuli completely different from neuro typical individuals. A neuro typical person focuses on the eyes, mouth, and nose of a face. 

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The Human Touch: Four Ways the Workplace is Becoming More Human-Focused

Today, employees are seeking environments that are more mobile, flexible, and personalized. JLL’s Workplace Strategy Lead, Bernice Boucher outlines four major ways the workplace is changing for the better. 

Do you experience happiness at work? What, exactly, makes your workplace experience happy? A good manager and like-able, competent co-workers are important, of course. Yet, a new study shows that the physical workplace itself can make or break your happiness on the job.

Happiness, rather than technology, is the key ingredient in a unique workplace experience, say nearly 70 percent of employees in Workplace—Powered by Human Experience, a global study of more than 7,300 employees in 12 countries. Most people are happier and more productive when their office is designed around their needs, rather than around rigid lines of “cube farms” or private offices. And, CEOs are noticing.

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A New York City-Based FinTech Company Gets a Scalable, Contemporary Office Space

Knotel creates a scalable, contemporary space in NYC for a rapidly growing FinTech company

When Stash Investments LLC, a FinTech company, outgrew its former space, it tasked Knotel with the challenge of creating a scalable space that reflected its culture and branding. With splashes of color throughout, the office exhibits a contemporary design with color-coded rooms that incorporate unique decor and patterns, showing off the company’s quirky, lighthearted spirit. Plus, it’s flexible: knowing Stash’s scalability needs, Knotel filled empty areas with lounges and standing desks that allow employees to escape their desks with unconventional working spaces.

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Hotels design functioning gardens to cater to new trends

As guests demand fresher food that has been sourced locally (not to mention organically), hotels across the country are creating gardens and small farms to grow herbs and vegetables, and to even keep bees for honey. Best of all, even urban hotels are putting their rooftops to use and growing some basics for the kitchens below.

Creating these gardens and farms and making them—literally—fruitful can be more challenging than simply planting some seeds, as chefs and food-and-beverage teams often learn through experience.

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