Moving from cubicle city to open office plan may sound intimidating… and it can be, at first. But as civil engineering and surveying firm The Kleingers Group proves, the transition to a more casual, community-driven workplace can also be more awe-inspiring than unnerving.
The firm’s new headquarters in West Chester is nothing like its former space—even though it occupies the same 28,000-square-foot building it always has. Prior to engaging SHP, the nondescript, early-80s era converted warehouse was the opposite of a connected work environment. Heavy on private offices, disconnected studios and circuitous corridors, the office was a mish-mash of different styles desperately in need of a total transformation.
This is not uncommon. Companies often incrementally absorb—and renovate—to accommodate a growing staff. As architects and designers, it is SHP’s job to reimagine and reconfigure the bones of a building to reflect where our clients are headed next.
We started this process by engaging Kleingers leadership in a strategic workplace planning session, during which we zeroed in on the company’s core challenges. Like many businesses, the firm cites multiple generations in the workplace, the need for more collaboration, and recruiting and retaining top-notch talent as primary concerns for the future.
SHP’s solution was a truly open office plan driven by collaboration, communication and community. Core service areas, the firm’s plotting room, and private and open meeting spaces comprise the nucleus of the renovated space. Capping off each end are formal and informal workspaces and additional meeting rooms that can accommodate multiple business functions and workstyles.
But the heartbeat of the office is undoubtedly Sharky’s North Park Tavern, a community gathering space and beer hall. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, polished concrete floors, and variety of seating options, it’s the perfect place to pour a cold one and collaborate. This space flows naturally into a flexible training center where in-house professional development regularly occurs.
Throughout the building, special touches reinforce a sense of community. Several spaces feature artwork or installations fabricated by Kleingers employees, while an abundance of natural light, a cool-gray color palette, warm, highly polished wood accents and exposed industrial trusses and ductwork communicate a contemporary, urban vibe reminiscent of a downtown loft.
- A warren of circuitous hallways, private offices and outdated gathering spaces—including six kitchens—was overhauled into an inviting, collaborative and community-focused workplace.
- The firm’s signature, fin-shaped logo appears throughout the space to subtly reinforce the Kleingers brand.
- An open concept, interesting places to meet, plenty of natural light and community gathering spaces accommodate different work styles and encourage collaboration.