Monday, March 19, 2012

Open Doors, From Open Minds

From New York Times Article:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle was designed by NBBJ, an architecture firm whose largest operation is also in Seattle. The structure is a culmination of ideas about the 21st-century workplace.

Less space per worker may be inevitable for cost-effectiveness, but it can also enhance the working environment. The favorite working space of Martha Choe, the foundation’s chief administrative officer, is a long, narrow table in the building’s vast atrium.

Ron Bundy, chief executive of the Russell Index Group, said the office environment had helped eliminate the office as a status symbol. Some employees don’t even claim permanent workspaces; they call themselves free-deskers, and they simply take whatever is available each day — with a preference for good views and proximity to their teams.

Russell Investments’ new home has saved the company money. The 1,000 employees used to occupy a 16-story building. Now, they’re folded into just five floors.

In good weather, hundreds of workers migrate outside to varied landscapes in the courtyard designed by the Seattle landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.

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