Elkus Manfredi Architects transformed the two-floor Chicago office of Charles River Associates, unifying and re-inventing the company’s dim, low-ceilinged office into an airy, welcoming, daylight-filled workspace within the original 35,620-sf footprint. Using standardized real estate metrics developed by Elkus Manfredi for CRA offices throughout the country, architects balanced private spaces for focused work with inviting gathering areas for the relaxation and spontaneous exchange that is equally crucial to peak staff performance.
Design highlights include:
•A visually arresting central staircase in the heart of the space that connects floors 33 and 34, opening up the interior and allowing natural light to reach deep into the office.
•Introducing more light by transforming ceilings, floors, and columns into light-reflecting surfaces and installing glass-fronted conference rooms and offices.
•Co-locating junior and senior staff work areas in “neighborhoods” that feature team rooms and collaborative work spaces and provide increased opportunities for mentoring among staff.
•Creating an inviting setting for staff members to socialize, recharge, and work informally in the café.
The design is inspired by the city’s industrial roots, sophisticated urban elegance, and Midwestern hospitality, all lifted by a fresh palette of blues and whites that speaks of the sky and Lake Michigan outside the office windows. The CRA Chicago office is now a productive balance of areas for collaborative work, private spaces for focused independent work, and rejuvenating community spaces—all infused with natural light and a distinct aesthetic that reflects the cultural character of CRA Chicago.
To see more amazing entries from this year’s WIN Awards please click here.