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Hacker's New Home: An Unexpected Opportunity

Hacker's New Home: An Unexpected Opportunity

Floors 5 and 6 of District Office will be Hacker’s new home.

Jennie Fowler
August 15, 2019

Designing one’s own workspace inevitably becomes a process of collective self-reflection: How do we want to work? Can our space better express our values? For Hacker, this exploration began much earlier than usual, in 2016, when we were commissioned to design District Office, a new office building in the emerging Central Eastside commercial district.

Our client's brief for this six-story, 90,400-sf building asked for a forward-thinking design offering the flexible, open, and healthy environment desired by creative industries. These values really resonated with us, and with our lease coming up for renewal, it didn’t take long for us to sign as the building’s first tenant.

Having the opportunity to design both the base building and interiors for our space brought home just how much architecture informs the experience within. Guided by our client’s pro forma and our shared commitment to occupant well-being, we prioritized access to daylight and views, biophilic and inclusive design philosophies, and sustainable design strategies to meet AIA 2030 commitment goals. Inside, double-height spaces lend a sense of volume and connection. Glue-laminated columns and beams are left exposed to add warmth to the space; they also are locally sourced and work to accelerate construction.

After construction got underway last fall, we turned to designing the space itself. We tapped a slightly larger team, representing all areas of our practice, and budgeted an allowance for additional engagement beyond the surveys and workshops we would do with any client. Still, there is no denying that when it is your workspace on the boards, the central question—what do we need to be at our best—becomes very personal, and that’s a different sense of responsibility.

At Hacker “walking the talk” is very central to our culture. Our previous space was the first LEED-certified architecture office in the country. Today, as a Just organization, we’re not only looking at sustainability but also at who’s in the room—and who isn’t—and making sure we create an equitable environment where all can thrive.

What does this mean for a design studio? Stay tuned for our next post.

Moving the Needle on Inclusive Restroom Design

Moving the Needle on Inclusive Restroom Design

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