Contract - Par Excellence: HOK designs its new New York headquarters

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Par Excellence: HOK designs its new New York headquarters

13 June, 2011

-By Jean Nayar



The ultimate place for a design team to showcase its talents—and its values—is in its own offices. And when the time came for the designers in HOK’s New York office to create a new headquarters for themselves, they took full advantage of the opportunity to creatively tap their own resources and craft a sleek, nuanced, eco-friendly environment that brings out their very best.

The 34,000-sq.-ft., L-shaped office overlooking Bryant Park behind New York’s main public library had everything going for it—even before the designers made it their own. “After an extensive search spanning several months, we found that this space had all the ingredients we were looking for,” says HOK principal Rick Focke. “It had the right square footage, it was above the Bryant Park tree line, and it’s at a major hub for commuters (whether by subway, train, or bus). The space was raw, with lots of light from the north, east, and south sides. Plus, it had an open floor plate that was conducive for the design studio.”

HOK’s New York design team had outgrown its previous loft-like space, which had been renovated several times. Also, the office’s marketing, accounting, and resource library were located in a small second-floor space, which was inefficient and disconnected from the design studio. So a primary goal with the new space was to gather everyone on one floor and create a studio that would be open and collaborative. Another main objective was to achieve LEED platinum status with an environmentally friendly design.

While creating one’s own office space may offer virtually limitless opportunities for self-expression, the process also can be fraught with challenges. “Some say when it comes to designing for yourself, you’re your own worst enemy,” says Focke. “It’s difficult to make decisions, and there can be too many egos involved.” To minimize these issues, the team focused on working through the office program, design, and implementation phases just as they would with any client. “We had a management group to present to, and they became the decision makers. We held vision/goal-setting sessions and made sure the objectives were met as we went through the process; and we had a budget and schedule to meet—it was a team effort all the way,” Focke explains.

The space concept for the new headquarters revolves not only around HOK’s culture and work process, but also around its brand values, which Focke defines as: “We create. We inspire. We connect. We care.” Upon entering the clean, open reception area, the visitor’s eye is drawn down a primary avenue through the main studio workspace in one leg of the L-shaped plan toward the east window and natural light. (Core support areas are located in the other leg of the space.) Perpendicular to this axis, a secondary street directs the eye toward the north widow wall, where the resource area is located, as well as to the south window wall. Creative areas include open collaboration zones, project team spaces, and flexible communal places.

According to Focke, a sense of transparency, access, and holistic experience contribute to the inspiring ambiance. Informal collaboration spaces, client lounges, and a café­—the office’s communal focal point—encourage face-to-face connection. And the fact that the office was designed to meet LEED platinum standards (likely earning the top sustainable designation later this summer), clearly indicates that the firm cares about its employees’ health and well-being, as well as the environment.

The team also relied on using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Product Delivery (IPD) systems in developing the space, both of which saved time and money not only in designing and building the offices, but also in managing the facility in the future. The BIM program the designers used enabled them to design the space in record time and also permitted them to coordinate LEED standards, and mechanical, electrical, and sprinkler issues for on-going facility management and real-time energy consumption monitoring. IPD—­a new kind of contractual agreement among the designer, builder, and client that incentivizes collaboration versus the standard design/bid/build process—enabled HOK along with engineering firm Flack & Kurtz and contractor Structure Tone to complete the project in six months­—about half the time it might have taken under the standard approach.

Aspiring to achieve the highest LEED rating, the designers integrated a range of sustainable features, starting with its location near multiple modes of public transportation. An optimal lighting design—which combines daylighting with human-scale LED lamps controlled by programmable occupancy sensors, automated daylight sensing MechoShade treatments and other sensors and controls—has resulted in at least a 40 percent reduction in energy costs. Ultra-efficient fixtures conserve water by 40 percent over EPA Guidelines, and new high-efficiency windows and optimized HVAC distribution, Energy-Star appliances and user-controlled thermostats improve energy efficiency even more.

Built out with sustainable materials and finishes—in neutral colors like charcoal, silver, and light gray and enriched with silver details, Venetian plaster, and glass and resin accents in HOK’s signature red—the space presents an understated yet inspiring classic modern profile. It also provides a shining example of how HOK can transform the bottom line and businesses of its clients with environments that will enhance their work processes and the well-being of their workers and the planet while saving on their design, build-out and long-term operating costs.

who
Client: HOK. Architect/interior designer: HOK; Rick Focke, senior principal, director of design; Doug West, senior designer; Elizabeth Marr- interior technology director; Jason Zoss, technology support; Stephen Weinryb, quality control/ tech. director. Contractor: StructureTone. Lighting, graphics: HOK. Engineering: Flack & Kurtz. Furniture dealer: Evenson & Best. Photographer: Eric Laignel.

what
Wallcoverings: Knoll. Paint: Benjamin Moore. Dry wall: USG. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street. Carpet fiber: Tru Blend from Investa Antron. Ceiling: Armstrong.  Doors: office fronts, Clestra. Floors: lobby, Architectural Systems, Inc. Glass: McGory Glass. Window treatments: MechoShade. Workstations/seating; conference cafeteria, dining tables; files: Knoll. Lounge seating: Bernhardt. Other seating: Herman Miller. Architectural woodworking: Petersen Galler Spurge, Inc. (reception desk and café).

where
Location: New York, NY. Total floor area: 34,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: one. Total staff size: 160.



Par Excellence: HOK designs its new New York headquarters

13 June, 2011


Eric Laignel

The ultimate place for a design team to showcase its talents—and its values—is in its own offices. And when the time came for the designers in HOK’s New York office to create a new headquarters for themselves, they took full advantage of the opportunity to creatively tap their own resources and craft a sleek, nuanced, eco-friendly environment that brings out their very best.

The 34,000-sq.-ft., L-shaped office overlooking Bryant Park behind New York’s main public library had everything going for it—even before the designers made it their own. “After an extensive search spanning several months, we found that this space had all the ingredients we were looking for,” says HOK principal Rick Focke. “It had the right square footage, it was above the Bryant Park tree line, and it’s at a major hub for commuters (whether by subway, train, or bus). The space was raw, with lots of light from the north, east, and south sides. Plus, it had an open floor plate that was conducive for the design studio.”

HOK’s New York design team had outgrown its previous loft-like space, which had been renovated several times. Also, the office’s marketing, accounting, and resource library were located in a small second-floor space, which was inefficient and disconnected from the design studio. So a primary goal with the new space was to gather everyone on one floor and create a studio that would be open and collaborative. Another main objective was to achieve LEED platinum status with an environmentally friendly design.

While creating one’s own office space may offer virtually limitless opportunities for self-expression, the process also can be fraught with challenges. “Some say when it comes to designing for yourself, you’re your own worst enemy,” says Focke. “It’s difficult to make decisions, and there can be too many egos involved.” To minimize these issues, the team focused on working through the office program, design, and implementation phases just as they would with any client. “We had a management group to present to, and they became the decision makers. We held vision/goal-setting sessions and made sure the objectives were met as we went through the process; and we had a budget and schedule to meet—it was a team effort all the way,” Focke explains.

The space concept for the new headquarters revolves not only around HOK’s culture and work process, but also around its brand values, which Focke defines as: “We create. We inspire. We connect. We care.” Upon entering the clean, open reception area, the visitor’s eye is drawn down a primary avenue through the main studio workspace in one leg of the L-shaped plan toward the east window and natural light. (Core support areas are located in the other leg of the space.) Perpendicular to this axis, a secondary street directs the eye toward the north widow wall, where the resource area is located, as well as to the south window wall. Creative areas include open collaboration zones, project team spaces, and flexible communal places.

According to Focke, a sense of transparency, access, and holistic experience contribute to the inspiring ambiance. Informal collaboration spaces, client lounges, and a café­—the office’s communal focal point—encourage face-to-face connection. And the fact that the office was designed to meet LEED platinum standards (likely earning the top sustainable designation later this summer), clearly indicates that the firm cares about its employees’ health and well-being, as well as the environment.

The team also relied on using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Product Delivery (IPD) systems in developing the space, both of which saved time and money not only in designing and building the offices, but also in managing the facility in the future. The BIM program the designers used enabled them to design the space in record time and also permitted them to coordinate LEED standards, and mechanical, electrical, and sprinkler issues for on-going facility management and real-time energy consumption monitoring. IPD—­a new kind of contractual agreement among the designer, builder, and client that incentivizes collaboration versus the standard design/bid/build process—enabled HOK along with engineering firm Flack & Kurtz and contractor Structure Tone to complete the project in six months­—about half the time it might have taken under the standard approach.

Aspiring to achieve the highest LEED rating, the designers integrated a range of sustainable features, starting with its location near multiple modes of public transportation. An optimal lighting design—which combines daylighting with human-scale LED lamps controlled by programmable occupancy sensors, automated daylight sensing MechoShade treatments and other sensors and controls—has resulted in at least a 40 percent reduction in energy costs. Ultra-efficient fixtures conserve water by 40 percent over EPA Guidelines, and new high-efficiency windows and optimized HVAC distribution, Energy-Star appliances and user-controlled thermostats improve energy efficiency even more.

Built out with sustainable materials and finishes—in neutral colors like charcoal, silver, and light gray and enriched with silver details, Venetian plaster, and glass and resin accents in HOK’s signature red—the space presents an understated yet inspiring classic modern profile. It also provides a shining example of how HOK can transform the bottom line and businesses of its clients with environments that will enhance their work processes and the well-being of their workers and the planet while saving on their design, build-out and long-term operating costs.

who
Client: HOK. Architect/interior designer: HOK; Rick Focke, senior principal, director of design; Doug West, senior designer; Elizabeth Marr- interior technology director; Jason Zoss, technology support; Stephen Weinryb, quality control/ tech. director. Contractor: StructureTone. Lighting, graphics: HOK. Engineering: Flack & Kurtz. Furniture dealer: Evenson & Best. Photographer: Eric Laignel.

what
Wallcoverings: Knoll. Paint: Benjamin Moore. Dry wall: USG. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street. Carpet fiber: Tru Blend from Investa Antron. Ceiling: Armstrong.  Doors: office fronts, Clestra. Floors: lobby, Architectural Systems, Inc. Glass: McGory Glass. Window treatments: MechoShade. Workstations/seating; conference cafeteria, dining tables; files: Knoll. Lounge seating: Bernhardt. Other seating: Herman Miller. Architectural woodworking: Petersen Galler Spurge, Inc. (reception desk and café).

where
Location: New York, NY. Total floor area: 34,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: one. Total staff size: 160.
 


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