Building Business: Hutker Architects’ new Falmouth office
Next came the puzzle of how to best use this unique space and design the individual workspaces, referred to collectively as “The Studio.” “Just as we do with our clients,” McNeill says, “I asked the employees, ‘What do you need exactly?’” Taking into account how each person worked was critical, since their previous home had traditional offices and other partitioning; the firm’s new space now finds employees open to the rest of the office. The corrugated metal sheeting with small acoustical holes chosen to line the ceiling served a dual purpose of form and function, two design considerations at the forefront of any architect’s endeavor. In terms of form, the material accents the industrial feel of the hefty wooden trusses with their new steel brackets; functionally, it diffuses the din resulting from an open work environment.
“The staff has been remarkably successful at ‘self-policing,’” notes Julia Bangert, Hutker’s director of marketing. “We all seem to be self-aware of our overall contribution and extraction in terms of the space. I think we all really love our new home.”
Another innovative contribution to the overall design of the space is “The Spine,” a linear workspace that runs down the center of the office. Purposely built at counter height, it encourages an interactive energy as colleagues discuss projects, share insights and recommendations, or simply gather at the space for informal, brief meetings. McNeill says, “We went through more schemes than letters in the alphabet. Ultimately what we ended up landing on was creating a central nerve center within an open environment where information is shared daily. It’s a collision space for collaboration.”
It’s no surprise that an architectural design firm embraced the opportunity to inject layered meaning and subtle influence into every element of the design. “Like many clients, we had a budget,” states McNeill. “And staying within that budget was non-negotiable. So when it came to choices for our roofing materials, we knew that asphalt shingles were the only sensible option. We decided we would acknowledge it for the material it was, but also explore ways to be creative with it.”
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