Flexible Space: Ayers Saint Gross Leads by Example with New Office

The new Ayers Saint Gross office in Washington, DC was among the most compelling submissions for our 2014 Work Design NOW series, sponsored by Haworth. The top three — announced here — will be profiled in depth in the coming months, but we also want to show off the finalists in short project profiles like the one that follows. Stay tuned for several more.

The cafe in the new office. All images courtesy of Ayers Saint Gross.
The cafe in the new office. All images courtesy of Ayers Saint Gross.

In April of last year, Ayers Saint Gross — a design firm with offices in DC, Baltimore, and Tempe, Ariz. — completed their new office in DC’s burgeoning NoMa neighborhood (NoMa stands for “North of Massachusetts Avenue”). The 8,344 square foot project, which focuses on collaboration, sustainability, and mobility, features natural light, views of the surrounding neighborhood, and an open floor plan.

According to their Work Design NOW submission, the firm achieved a LEED Gold rating by utilizing “occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, sustainable furniture and finishes and an intensive recycling and compost system” to greatly reduce the amount of waste. These features reduced water use by 20 percent and workstation energy use by 25 percent. Additionally, 75 percent of waste was diverted from landfills. The firm remained environmentally conscious during their move into the office as well, reducing their footprint by recycling paper, cardboard, and e-waste.

Sustainability is also important to the employees: more than 85 percent of the staff takes public transportation, walks, or bikes to work on a daily basis. Employees also compost food, recycle, and attend virtual meetings rather than travel long distances to attend in person.

Ayers Saint Gross’s new office space is adaptable and meets the demands of the modern workplace, enabling employees to work in a variety of settings.

Collaboration was top of mind, too, and the new space has no enclosed work cubicles. Instead, “the architects installed and designed 28 foot-long work benches with individual computer stations, shared work surfaces, storage and utilities.” Not only does this promote a collaborative work environment, it gives all employees equal access to natural light and a view of the NoMa neighborhood through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Several different types of work stations are available to employees. The space provides “computer stations for individual tasks; tables with separate seating for collaboration and brainstorming; glass partitions for writing and drawing; comfortable lounge chairs for discussions or quiet reading; high tables in the café for meals or group discussions and celebrations.”

Mobility is another key feature of the new space. The office features designated workstations equipped with telephone and internet access for hoteling employees, and each hoteling guest has full use of conference rooms, collaboration spaces, and the café and lounge areas. These provisions “allow visiting consultants and team members from the firm’s Baltimore office to feel at home.”

Ayers Saint Gross’s new office space is adaptable and meets the demands of the modern workplace, enabling employees to work in a variety of settings. Most notably, the space advertises the firm’s commitment to sustainable design; the office “serves as a model for implementing similar strategies in the firm’s building and interiors projects for clients.” Ayers Saint Gross has chosen to lead by example.

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