Feb 16, 2016
THEME: Workplace

#pw2wrigley Part I: Relocating to a Historic Chicago Landmark

Tucked into the bend of the Chicago River along its north bank, the building that our firm’s founding office will call home this month is Chicago’s famed Wrigley Building – a City of Chicago Landmark listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Housed in Wrigley’s North Tower, the new workplace will mark a significant moment for the office by honoring the city it’s called home for 80+ years, while laying the groundwork for its future.

Sketch: Leif Widholm, Perkins+Will

Sketch: Leif Widholm, Perkins+Will

Within the five floors—a step up in number from our current two floors, but an efficiency-focused decrease in square footage— accommodation is a top priority. The focus is on providing an exemplary experience for guests as well as the more than 250 Perkins+Will architects, interior designers, planners, and brand strategists. This experience starts on the 16th floor, where a reception area and staircase invites both guests and employees to feel comfortable moving about the space. At the same time, we felt it was important to show our work and process so guests immediately know they’ve entered an architecture and design firm.

Stacking Diagram of the Chicago office of Perkins+Will, housed in the Wrigley Building

Stacking Diagram of the Chicago office of Perkins+Will, housed in The Wrigley Building

Our commitment to accommodation has been carried through to impact our local Chicago office culture, particularly regarding workplace well-being. Spread over five floors, the new office will influence daily routines and promote much more activity. Socially-charged areas on the 18th floor are home to an espresso bar and cafe—intentionally located on the top floor to encourage employees to move around the office and gather for impromptu conversation while jump-starting their day.  After they’ve gotten their caffeine fix, employees can go to their height-adjustable, sit-stand desks, a design decision based on results of a digital survey indicating 76% of the office has some preference for it – either for personal or shared use.

(Photo: Scott Dansereau)

Photo: Scott Dansereau, Perkins+Will

The 18th floor also supports employee activities outside the studio floors by offering access to showers that streamline and accommodate morning workout regimens or bicycle commutes. Complementing the 18th floor’s large public areas are spaces throughout the other four floors to suit different workstyles and tasks, offering the opportunity to take a private phone call, relax in a wellness room, read in a quiet area, or take advantage of the fresh air on a terrace off the 17th floor. It’s through this focus on well-being, hospitality, and experience that Perkins+Will hopes its clients and employees will leave feeling better than when they arrived.

(Sketch: Madelyn Delgado, Perkins+Will)

Sketch: Madelyn Delgado, Perkins+Will

In preparing for the fast-approaching move, the design team kept its phone lines open – literally – for any employees to anonymously pose questions to a digital hotline, reinforcing transparency throughout the process. In this mindset, all in-progress floors plans and renderings were made available on our intranet and shown at all-staff meetings so employees could visually track the progress of the new space. These change-management and design considerations allow the Chicago office to continue evolving our internal culture. The Wrigley Building location also makes a statement to the city that we will continue to be a part of Chicago’s social and cultural fabric, and further contribute to the discussion, inspiration, and growth in the place where it all started.

The view from the office's new home in the Wrigley Building, looking down Michigan Avenue (Kyler Queen)

Photo: Kyler Queen, Perkins+Will

With that said, we’re very proud and excited to announce our new address starting Monday, February 22:

The Wrigley Building
410 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60611

All photographs and sketches featured in this post are original creations produced by individuals in the Chicago office of Perkins+Will.

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