Contract - Social Verdict: Yost Grube Hall Architects Revamps Traditional Law Office Design at Ater Wynne

design - features - corporate design



Social Verdict: Yost Grube Hall Architects Revamps Traditional Law Office Design at Ater Wynne

01 June, 2010

-By Stacy Straczynski



When Michael Shackelford steps off the office elevator each morning, he is greeted in the golden-hued reception area by a flood of natural light. Walking down the hallway, he can see spectacular views of Portland’s Pearl District through glass-walled meeting rooms and hear the buzz of conversation emanating from the apple green-accented lunchroom. He is happy to be at work. What’s unusual about this scenario is that Shackelford works as managing partner at Ater Wynne, LLP, a Portland-based law firm.

Occupying the top floor of the recently built, nine-story Lovejoy Building in Portland’s up-and-coming Pearl District, the 27,600-sq.-ft. space isn’t your traditional stereotype of staid law firm design. Visitors won’t find the wall-to-wall bookcases, dark wood, or closed doors that defined the firm’s previous downtown location. Rather, the new Ater Wynne, designed by Portland-based Yost Grube Hall Architects (YGH), is a light and modern space that features large exterior windows and skylights, six glass-walled conference rooms, and a palette of sophisticated pale, warm wood and colors that pop.

“It looks more like a designer’s office. It’s a very desirable place to be and has a great energy,” says Shackelford, adding that clients are never shy on feedback. “When people enter our space for the first time, it’s fun to watch. ‘Wow’ or ‘This is so cool’ are common reactions. This is very unique in my experience for a law firm.”

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect is the expansive use of glass in the conference rooms, which lie adjacent to the reception area along the building’s south wall. Five of the six rooms feature all-glass walls, which successfully challenge the notion of privacy by putting the stunning views of the Willamette River on display, and pulling in a vast amount of natural light.

“They are more like fishbowls, with all the glass that’s happening there,” says Meredith Curan, associate at YGH. “It’s the kind of thing architects dream of—having as much glass as possible. But in law firms that doesn’t always fly.”

The reduced privacy of the conference rooms instantly gives the office a more friendly vibe, the main reason why this is Shackelford’s favorite part of the design. “It’s the public side of the office,” he says. “We wanted to break down those barriers [between lawyer and client]. That was the goal: great sight lines and trying to pour natural light into it.”

In addition to a warmer, more open style, the design strays from the norm by incorporating plenty of “social” areas for both business and casual interaction, which was another of Ater Wynne’s main design objectives, says Curan. “The big buzz word for them was ‘community’—this idea of creating interactive spaces instead of a closed, impersonal law firm space. That was their big push from the beginning.”The Commons, stationed in the center of the office floor, serves as the main employee “watering hole.” The centrally located lunchroom, which houses two tapered skylights and flaunts youthful hues, is the only area in the entire office where employees can find a refrigerator or grab a cup of coffee.

“We didn’t want satellite coffee stations but one central place for people to go—more like a café. There’s more day-to-day interaction of staff that don’t normally work together,” says Shackelford. “It strengthens the relationship inside the firm.”

Heading to the south end of the building, a 500-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace, complete with lounge seating and a horizontal fireplace, occupies a majority of the building’s exterior wall. Sliding glass doors on the adjacent conference rooms provide plenty of access for employees to hold impromptu outdoor meetings or lunch-time conversation. A storefront system also allows the firm to entirely open up the glass walls to create one large social venue that encompasses the terrace, three meeting rooms, and gallery (a main circulation hallway that showcases the firm’s extensive art collection).

While the design as a whole is a drastic diversion from what Ater Wynne employees had been used to, and while many objected initially to the change, all resistance disappeared after the first month. People actually report looking forward to coming to work.

Equally happy with the results, Curan credits it to the concept’s proper balance of style and functionality. “It’s one thing to have a lot of daylight, great views, and beautiful materials, but it’s another thing if the space can be effective for the employees and the work they do…This project is a really great combination of having what a law firm likes to have—a little bit of formality and a polished, confident appearance—while still being approachable.”

who
Client: Ater Wynne LLP. Architect, interior designer: Yost Grube Hall Architecture. Structural engineer: ABHT Structural Engineers. General contractor: Russell Construction, Inc. Lighting designer: Luma Lighting Design. Furniture dealer: Smith CFI. Photographer: Pete Eckert - Eckert & Eckert Photography; Jeremy Bittermann.

what

Wallcoverings: Modular Arts, Knoll. Paint: Benjamin Moore, Miller, ICI. Laminate: Nevamar, Pionite, Wilsonart. Masonry: Intrepid, Pental. Flooring: WFI, Mannington Commercial, Armstrong. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street, Invision. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Ledalite, A•Light, Hess Messina, Lightolier, Peerless, Louis Poulsen, Forecast. Doors: Nana Wall. Window treatments: Mechoshade, Velux. Workstations: OFS, First Office. Workstation seating: Steelcase, OFS. Lounge seating: Decca Rottet, Bernhardt. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Ledland, Brayton. Other seating: Cabot Wrenn, Gloster, Danao. Upholstery: Knoll, Maharam, Momentum, Designtex, Arc|Com, Bernhardt. Conference table: Nucraft. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Harter. Other tables: Nevins. Files/shelving: Spacesaver. Architectural woodworking: Spectrum Woodworking. Plumbing fixtures: Elkay.

where

Location: Portland, OR. Total floor area: 36,336 sq. ft. No. of floors: 1.5. Total staff size: 79.



Social Verdict: Yost Grube Hall Architects Revamps Traditional Law Office Design at Ater Wynne

01 June, 2010


Eckert & Eckert Photography and Jeremy Bittermann

When Michael Shackelford steps off the office elevator each morning, he is greeted in the golden-hued reception area by a flood of natural light. Walking down the hallway, he can see spectacular views of Portland’s Pearl District through glass-walled meeting rooms and hear the buzz of conversation emanating from the apple green-accented lunchroom. He is happy to be at work. What’s unusual about this scenario is that Shackelford works as managing partner at Ater Wynne, LLP, a Portland-based law firm.

Occupying the top floor of the recently built, nine-story Lovejoy Building in Portland’s up-and-coming Pearl District, the 27,600-sq.-ft. space isn’t your traditional stereotype of staid law firm design. Visitors won’t find the wall-to-wall bookcases, dark wood, or closed doors that defined the firm’s previous downtown location. Rather, the new Ater Wynne, designed by Portland-based Yost Grube Hall Architects (YGH), is a light and modern space that features large exterior windows and skylights, six glass-walled conference rooms, and a palette of sophisticated pale, warm wood and colors that pop.

“It looks more like a designer’s office. It’s a very desirable place to be and has a great energy,” says Shackelford, adding that clients are never shy on feedback. “When people enter our space for the first time, it’s fun to watch. ‘Wow’ or ‘This is so cool’ are common reactions. This is very unique in my experience for a law firm.”

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect is the expansive use of glass in the conference rooms, which lie adjacent to the reception area along the building’s south wall. Five of the six rooms feature all-glass walls, which successfully challenge the notion of privacy by putting the stunning views of the Willamette River on display, and pulling in a vast amount of natural light.

“They are more like fishbowls, with all the glass that’s happening there,” says Meredith Curan, associate at YGH. “It’s the kind of thing architects dream of—having as much glass as possible. But in law firms that doesn’t always fly.”

The reduced privacy of the conference rooms instantly gives the office a more friendly vibe, the main reason why this is Shackelford’s favorite part of the design. “It’s the public side of the office,” he says. “We wanted to break down those barriers [between lawyer and client]. That was the goal: great sight lines and trying to pour natural light into it.”

In addition to a warmer, more open style, the design strays from the norm by incorporating plenty of “social” areas for both business and casual interaction, which was another of Ater Wynne’s main design objectives, says Curan. “The big buzz word for them was ‘community’—this idea of creating interactive spaces instead of a closed, impersonal law firm space. That was their big push from the beginning.”The Commons, stationed in the center of the office floor, serves as the main employee “watering hole.” The centrally located lunchroom, which houses two tapered skylights and flaunts youthful hues, is the only area in the entire office where employees can find a refrigerator or grab a cup of coffee.

“We didn’t want satellite coffee stations but one central place for people to go—more like a café. There’s more day-to-day interaction of staff that don’t normally work together,” says Shackelford. “It strengthens the relationship inside the firm.”

Heading to the south end of the building, a 500-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace, complete with lounge seating and a horizontal fireplace, occupies a majority of the building’s exterior wall. Sliding glass doors on the adjacent conference rooms provide plenty of access for employees to hold impromptu outdoor meetings or lunch-time conversation. A storefront system also allows the firm to entirely open up the glass walls to create one large social venue that encompasses the terrace, three meeting rooms, and gallery (a main circulation hallway that showcases the firm’s extensive art collection).

While the design as a whole is a drastic diversion from what Ater Wynne employees had been used to, and while many objected initially to the change, all resistance disappeared after the first month. People actually report looking forward to coming to work.

Equally happy with the results, Curan credits it to the concept’s proper balance of style and functionality. “It’s one thing to have a lot of daylight, great views, and beautiful materials, but it’s another thing if the space can be effective for the employees and the work they do…This project is a really great combination of having what a law firm likes to have—a little bit of formality and a polished, confident appearance—while still being approachable.”

who
Client: Ater Wynne LLP. Architect, interior designer: Yost Grube Hall Architecture. Structural engineer: ABHT Structural Engineers. General contractor: Russell Construction, Inc. Lighting designer: Luma Lighting Design. Furniture dealer: Smith CFI. Photographer: Pete Eckert - Eckert & Eckert Photography; Jeremy Bittermann.

what

Wallcoverings: Modular Arts, Knoll. Paint: Benjamin Moore, Miller, ICI. Laminate: Nevamar, Pionite, Wilsonart. Masonry: Intrepid, Pental. Flooring: WFI, Mannington Commercial, Armstrong. Carpet/carpet tile: Bentley Prince Street, Invision. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Ledalite, A•Light, Hess Messina, Lightolier, Peerless, Louis Poulsen, Forecast. Doors: Nana Wall. Window treatments: Mechoshade, Velux. Workstations: OFS, First Office. Workstation seating: Steelcase, OFS. Lounge seating: Decca Rottet, Bernhardt. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Ledland, Brayton. Other seating: Cabot Wrenn, Gloster, Danao. Upholstery: Knoll, Maharam, Momentum, Designtex, Arc|Com, Bernhardt. Conference table: Nucraft. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Harter. Other tables: Nevins. Files/shelving: Spacesaver. Architectural woodworking: Spectrum Woodworking. Plumbing fixtures: Elkay.

where

Location: Portland, OR. Total floor area: 36,336 sq. ft. No. of floors: 1.5. Total staff size: 79.
 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy