Perkins&Will created a light-filled, multi-functional space with special attention to enhancing a sense of community for International Leadership of Texas.
International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) stands among the nation’s fastest-growing charter networks. Currently serving more than 21,000 K-12 students across 21 campuses in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, College Station, and Cleveland, this free public charter school relies on its DFW-area headquarters for centralized administrative support. Eager for a new office that promoted cohesion, ILTexas moved its headquarters into a four-story, 60,000-square-foot building in Richardson and tapped Perkins&Will’s Dallas studio to spearhead the interior design. The project team created a light-filled, multi-functional space with special attention to enhancing a sense of community.
The ILTexas motto is “Others Before Self,” but to work selflessly, one needs a baseline level of support. To that end the Perkins&Will team transformed the office’s first floor into an amenity-rich, adaptive communal space that meets shifting needs at the company-wide and employee-specific level.
Past reception, one enters the wide community area, prime for everything from team lunches to holiday parties. Flexible and banquette seating options inspire spontaneous connection throughout this general-use breakout space that includes an IT genius bar and the office’s main break room—and focus rooms, to be inclusive of individual working styles. An enclosed professional development room on the same floor uses folding partitions with sound control to divide the space as needed to comfortably host events large and small, from town halls to online teacher-training sessions.
To best manage its dynamic state-wide community, the ILTexas team needed offices that fostered strong inter-sector communication. The Perkins&Will design team positioned open workstations by the windows, encouraging coordination and transparency and allowing natural light to flow through the space, into central glass-partitioned offices. With a series of test fits and surveys, the project team met the challenge of arranging the puzzle pieces that were ILTexas’s 12 departments, also physically integrating the school’s motto into the headquarters.
Supporting network-wide communication needs, the design team enabled ILTexas to create its own sophisticated audio and video assets with a studio outfitted for work such as voiceover recordings or addresses from leadership.
The ILTexas C-suite & department heads were involved in the planning process. It was critical that all departments had adequate heads down workspace & collaborative hubs.
Input from current employees directly contributed to the outcome of the office space. Employee surveys and engagement in the programming & visioning sessions lead to a collective, curated environment tailored to International Leadership of Texas.
The recording & video studio was a unique element to incorporate into the space. The studio required partitions, observation windows, and entry doors to be acoustically sound and functional. Other elements included green screen systems, customized lighting controls, and a separate podcast recording studio.
Project Details & Products
The new ILTexas headquarters prioritizes connection and wellness. Wellness rooms and Perkins&Will’s attention to safe and sustainable material selections, including biophilic elements—promote the ongoing well-being of those tasked with supporting the leaders of tomorrow. Equal access to daylight & sit to stand workstations energized the workspace.
The brand presence is strong throughout the space. In a gesture to ILTexas’s proud affiliation with Texas A&M University, the design team unified the space by incorporating a maroon color palette, including accent carpeting in the university’s custom shade.
The community floor serves as the most unique feature of the space. Various work & lounge settings encourage engagement between departments, parents & faculty, and the ILTexas leadership team. A lively brand presence is created through the dynamic graphic wall patterns and strong maroon highlights.
Overall Project Results
Switching from a static, partitioned workstation to an open, sit to stand benching solution was a welcomed change that provided challenges. Increased acoustic solutions, breakout spaces, and enclosed rooms for private conversations were studied and implemented throughout the space.
Integrating digital room reservation systems helped simplify the use of collaborative / open spaces for employees. Providing multiple opportunities for employees to break out into smaller collaborative groups throughout the space has aided in departments feeling more interconnected to each other.
The most illuminating result is how frequently the community floor is being used in a post-pandemic work environment. The collaborative lounge spaces serve as a destination & retreat for employees. Employees are excited to come together to work in their space.