Our client is a successful broker and fitness enthusiast, who needed to move his office out of an environmental processing facility that he recently sold. After finding a 12-year-old building near his residence in Little Rock, he hired our team to design an appropriate remodel for his company's new home. Having spent "years in a dungeon" he had some specific requests:
- An inspiring atmosphere that immediately tells visitors what goes on here
- A transparent space with very few solid walls
- High quality and efficiency in every aspect of construction
- Sleek, modern materials...but not void of warm, inviting comfort
- Careful integration of permanent construction and furniture systems
- Workstations without hierarchy. Anyone can work anywhere.
Unfortunately, the existing building had none of the desired qualities. By contrast, it was a dark, depressing collection of cubby holes, complete with builder-grade mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. This would not suffice.
We kept all exterior walls, doors, and windows intact. Almost everything else was demolished...even the interior load-bearing walls. We modified the existing roof trusses to span the entire width of the building, creating the open space our client asked for. A large Work Room, complete with sit-&-stand workstations and treadmills, dominates the center and is prominently visible upon entering the building. All "private" offices line one side of the Work Room, while all "public" breakroom and conference spaces occupy the other. Service functions (bathrooms, storage, fax/copy, janitor, and IT closet) are located along the back wall.
Materials were carefully chosen to project the energetic, minimalist environment that the owner asked for. Glass walls and gray tile floors provide a pleasant background to place focus on the functions of the office. Alternately, brick walls and a wood linear ceiling provide warmth and a sense of welcome to visitors.
Efficiency was our goal in all areas of design. Lighting is accomplished with simple LED recessed strips. Low-flow plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency gas water heater & furnace, soy-based foam insulation, high-SEER air conditioners, and a new reflective roof create a building with very low energy consumption.
The absence of traditional offices promotes a collaborative work environment, where everyone "meets in the middle". As an architect, I am always hopeful that our buildings will be used as intended, and am occasionally disappointed when they are not. I have visited KMS numerous times since completion in December, and have smiled ear-to-ear every time I walk in and see the group gathered in the center. What at gift it is to witness the transformation of a building...and a company.
- Brian Black, AIA