Perkins Eastman was in the early stages of designing its new space when the pandemic reached the United States in March, 2020. To accommodate evolving predictions of the post-pandemic “new normal”, the studio’s workplace design team accelerated its research and planning, exploring new and additional options.
The bright and airy space operates a first come, first served system with seats. In designing the new space, it was important to celebrate and promote the studio’s creative, collaborative spirit. The free address environment creates opportunities for unanticipated collaboration and mentorship, sparking innovation that otherwise would not have happened.
The Maker Box, a studio within the studio, is located near the main entrance, where Perkins Eastman’s work tools, model making materials, 3D printer and virtual reality station are showcased. The Box’s exterior is clad in a custom wood pegboard, providing hooks for hardhats and construction vests along one side, and a “People” wall, displaying photos and facts about staff, adorns another.
Open workshop spaces lined with felt panels, magnetic whiteboards, and display monitors, provide opportunities for teams to work together with design processes on full display. The material palette, consisting of high quality materials, is deployed throughout the space, reducing the firm’s carbon footprint and serving as a backdrop for the work they do.
Pittsburgh’s history is showcased, though polished original concrete floors and columns to the high, exposed ceilings and ductwork. Access to daylight and views of downtown and outlying neighbourhoods, rivers, and hills provide biophilic benefits. The layout minimises the number of walls to situate seating and casual gathering areas along the perimeter windows creates an impact.
Showcasing the craftsmanship of local artisans and makers was imperative. Key pieces highlight the space, including a custom made, locally sourced oak coffee table, raw steel framed mobile whiteboards, a ‘Human by Design’ neon light, and a porcelain tile backsplash.
The project aims to achieve LEED Gold v4.