The new Washington, DC studio of this international design firm transforms and celebrates the way its designers work, positioning the practice for bold future achievements. After extensive visioning with the client, the project team was charged with creating a space that would demonstrate and promote excellence in design, especially collaboration and sustainability.

The client's previous space--an enclosed and clustered environment--segregated teams and limited opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas. The new light-filled space is an open design studio with benching-style workstations organised around the premise that two-person collaboration is the basis for project interaction. Team members sit across from each other, allowing a visual connection and a heightened team-building environment. The office fosters open communication, revealing and celebrating the design process while reinforcing the importance of collaboration as its heart.

Collaboration areas dot the studio, including workstation conference tables, mini-lounges, and drawing/work tables with built-in collaboration nooks. Communication tools are integrated, including projection screens, SMART boards, glass dry-erase surfaces and tackable upholstered pin-up areas.

This LEED CI Platinum work place, completed in the fall of 2010, manifests the client's core value: their global responsibility toward future generations. In addition to standard best practices for sustainability, only rapidly renewable materials and those with significant recycled content were selected. The space monitors specific allotments of energy use including lighting, HVAC, computer and network loads, independently providing real-time feedback on system performance.

Innovatively, reporting functions of the energy management system are displayed in the lobby where tenants can observe their actual energy use.

Key reduction of energy use statistics:

• 35% overall energy consumption (projected)

• 40% water consumption

• 35% lighting power Key

Post-occupancy survey statistics:

• 66% found the ergonomic tools enhanced efficiency

• 82% found flexibility of workspace enhanced ability to work effectively

• 77% utilize collaborative areas multiple times a week

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