ZIEGLER COOPER

“The airy sunlit space is designed to be a “concept showroom,” demonstrating inventive design, planning and furniture concepts to the firm’s clients.” 

The ​PROJECT

Founded in 1977, Ziegler Cooper Architects is known for the design of buildings that are both highly functional and inspiring—and the firm’s new offices act as a model of those qualities. Located on Level 3 of the neo-Gothic Bank of America building in downtown Houston, Ziegler Cooper’s new 25,000-square-foot (2323m2) offices feature white walls that ascend to cathedral ceilings soaring 65 feet (20m) over an open, collaborative studio of more than 100 employees. The airy sunlit space is designed to be a “concept showroom,” demonstrating inventive design, planning and furniture concepts to the firm’s clients.

The striking third-floor “skylobby” houses the entire studio, including five glass-fronted partner offices encircling an open, collaborative work area—a centralized design that gives partners direct access to the professional staff and vice versa. Other spaces include technology-rich team rooms, an Innovation Lounge and a Critics Corner, each designed to foster creativity and dialog. The Ziegler Cooper Café has a cyber-lounge furnished with soft seating and a bar area with a hospitality feel. A technologically advanced conference center features two large, flex-training rooms equipped with modular tables and seating able to adapt to different types and sizes of meetings. Ziegler Cooper’s new offices have received LEED Gold Certification for Corporate Interiors.

The Response

The client’s intention upon selecting a somewhat cavernous space was to house all designers and architects in a single large, open work area (about one-half of the total square footage) that would allow for expansion. At move-in, the space needed to house workstations for 100 employees, but the firm’s leadership anticipated imminent growth—and within six months had filled 136 seats, the maximum number in the plan. The right furniture was essential to meeting the challenge of flexibility required.

With a ceiling nearly 70 feet (21m) in height, the atrium-like space also presented acoustical and lighting challenges. Although staff enjoyed the daylight streaming into the studio, three hours of direct sunlight during the workday created a pressing need to control heat, light and glare at the workstation. At the same time, the fact that the occupied space is 75 percent lit with daylight contributes to the positive sustainable profile of the office. Low-level indirect ambient lighting combined with Conflux™ task lighting, along with other strategies, helps to maintain a balanced, healthy level of light. White noise was implemented to counteract potential acoustical issues.

In the open studio area, the client specified District® three-high storage components to define two main circulation avenues and four secondary circulation avenues, employing the storage components to line the pathways while also providing ample storage that accommodates the designers’ and architects’ unique storage needs.

For workstations, flexibility was a primary consideration. Adjustable MAST™ monitor supports were selected for the adaptability of the product, which can support tablets, LED and even curved screens. Marketplace™ worktables were employed, along with District runoffs, to define individual workstations. The freestanding District components easily shift to accommodate more workers along the bench.

Founding Senior Principal Scott Ziegler notes that, “The furniture kit of parts was extraordinarily flexible. We were able to convert to an additional 30 workspaces by simply removing the freestanding District runoffs to provide additional primary seating at the bench. This planning concept allowed us to expand without taking on more space.”

The conversion was also simplified, thanks to the high cable capacity of the Marketplace truss and a design that provides easy access to cabling, thus adapting to higher density with relative ease.

The glass-fronted partner offices were furnished with Dossier™, a classic casegoods product with a clean architectural look and the flexibility required in the contemporary executive office.

From the beginning of the relocation process, Ziegler Cooper Architects sought ways to make its new office an inspiring and sustainable place to work. During construction, low-emitting materials were chosen for paint, sealants, finishes, flooring and furniture systems and more than 68 percent of the wood used was certified with the Forest Stewardship Council. In 2013 Ziegler Cooper became the Bank of America tower’s first tenant to receive LEED CI v2009 (Commercial Interior Design and Construction) Gold certification, from the USGBC. Teknion’s ability to deliver furniture with FSC-certified content was essential to the client’s goals.
 

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Marketplace is suited to casual meeting, touchdown and team areas, as well as open plan spaces designed to accommodate multiple project teams.  

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MAST provides a visually and technically sophisticated solution that addresses present needs for flexible monitor support, but also anticipates future requirements and the ongoing evolution of workplace technology.