Making Conventional Offices Creative

Creative office is hot.  What was considered a fad and unpractical just 15 years ago, is now becoming main stream.  Pension funds and investment advisors who once only bought class A highrises, have recently pursued creative offices in major growth markets.  Creative offices buildings are achieving sub-10% vacancy rates while many conventional office buildings have vacancy rates hovering closer to 20%. Companies outside technology and entertainment look to emulate the efficiencies and collaborative environments achieved in creative offices. Today, people can work everywhere.  The office needs to be more interesting and interactive.

In markets where tenant demand for creative office is strong–(San Francisco and Los Angeles), property owners of conventional space, especially class b and c vanilla offices, are trying to find ways to make their space appeal to creative users.  One way involves deconstruction:  exposing the natural building elements–like steel, ducting, or concrete. Another involves removing the suspended ceiling and creating an open ceiling plan with greater volumes.

Gensler proposes another way:  cut and remove floors to create  atrium.  The owner will lose footage but gain much more interesting space.  We did this 15 years ago when we re-developed Penn Station in Santa Monica.  We cut away sections of the second floor to create expansive first floor volumes for  this aging and tired 75,000 R&D warehouse in Santa Monica.  By also exposing the wood structural ceilings as well as concrete floors, we created a dazzling atrium:

Before Atrium

Before Atrium

After Atrium

After Atrium

After Atrium 2

After Atrium 2

Gensler did this same technique in a boring three story bank building in downtown Los Angeles.  .

In a recent LA Times article, Gensler discussed the issue:

“Making underused office properties desirable again may require radical modifications inside and out, real estate experts say. Few owners have taken bold actions yet, but architects and urban planners are scheming about how such transformations might be accomplished.

Cutting out chunks of an office building’s interior to create an atrium or theater, adding loft-like mezzanines on floors with high ceilings or grafting on outdoor staircases are among the ways that structures could be dramatically remodeled to be more efficient and appeal to changing tastes.”

You can read the full article below. Plus, the article has a 360 degree interactive picture of Gensler’s new downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

via Big changes are coming to conventional office buildings – latimes.com.

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