B+O congratulates Big Sky Design for its winning submission of the Masonboro Lodge’s spec office space design. We feel Big Sky had the most comprehensive and thorough approach, and seemed to understand exactly what the judges were looking for.
The challenge: design a sustainable spec office, given an existing shell-of-a-space.
Being a fairly sustainably-minded group of people, the challenge struck us as somewhat of a contradiction in terms. We feel the greenest method of design involves the client – knowing exactly who you are designing for reduces waste – less wasted time, money, and resources. How could we design a speculative office space? Wouldn’t an office for a lawyer be quite different than an office for an architect? What if the person who leased the existing space was a fashion designer? An acupuncturist?
If we couldn’t comfortably design a speculative office space, we could certainly contemplate the nature of office design and offer a preferred method and materials for achieving the highest sustainability. We took the boring precedent – with its many dividing walls, traditional hierarchy of spaces, and poor air quality – and deconstructed it. Having determined what we didn’t want (i.e. what was not sustainable), we proceeded with ideas for a smarter and more responsible alternative.
We proposed two designs, responding to the different privacy needs an office may have.
the egalitarian – was our favorite – engaging, open, airy, it encourages communication, collaboration and equality between everyone, with minimal separations, maximum air flow, only one door (to the bathroom), recycled rubber floors and recycled paper desktops, and moveable file/storage cabinets.
the spiral – is closer to the traditional idea of office, with a fully enclosed/separated conference room, and at least one private office. We kept the walls to a minimum – as you proceed into the space the walls increase from desk-height to full-height, creating a gradiation of public/private spaces.
Both designs feature ductless mini-split hvac systems, occupancy sensors, passive air cooling, solar shades, recycled materials and furniture, ceiling fans, indoor plants for air quality, and space planning to keep noisy functions in already noisy areas of the space.
We also encouraged sustainable office principles such as incentives for workers to commute by alternate modes of transportation, recycling centers within the office, water cooler not water bottles, and a sustainability manual and standards for office education of ‘green’ principles.