Global design firm Gensler has recently moved its Denver office to a new space at 1225 17th Street, in the Lower Downtown neighborhood. The firm designed the interior renovation of this space to take advantage of sustainable design principles while offering employees and collaborators a diversity of work environments.
The office provides 23,000 square feet of workspace over two floors and features a variety of work environments to address the manifold working and social needs of 90 employees. The first thing one notices when examining the new space is the ground-floor lobby and collaboration space located directly off Lawrence Street. This expansive lobby allows Gensler to host events, helping to engage the community in the design process. A stadium style staircase connects the lobby to the second floor office area, which has been massed so as to place the length of the program along the facade of the building, allowing natural light to fill the space. This second floor office spills out onto a roof deck featuring plantings, seating, and break areas, creating not only a place for repose, but an engaging outdoor work environment to take advantage of the copious Denver sunshine.
A focus on workplace ergonomics is borne out in a variety of standing, sitting, and lounging workspaces designed for different types of work. The size of individual
workspaces has been reduced at the same time so that communal spaces have been increased in order to accommodate the changing nature of collaboration. This sensitivity to different work types and styles frames ergonomics as its own kind of sustainable and natural design. It is this human-centered focus that drives much of Gensler’s workspace design. Design Director Michelle Liebling spoke to AN about the project, “The strategies that we worked with in this project are developed by our [Workplace Strategy and Design] consulting group, which includes management consultants, cultural anthropologists, psychologists, and other professionals.” The tools this in-house consultancy developed were put to use by the Denver office in both design and analysis in order to tailor the programming and implementation of the space planning to the needs of the office. Increasingly, it is these sorts of collaborations with behavioral and environmental professionals that are driving the profession forward in ways that simple geometry and program planning can never do.
LED lighting with motion and daylighting sensors, low-VOC materials, energy and water saving equipment, and interior plantscaping round out the sustainable credentials of the space. Locally sourced beetle-kill pine provides a rich texture in a sustainable package throughout this project. The Gensler project team has shown that sustainable and natural design consists of much more than efficient fixtures and certified materials.