Offices

Substantial, Seattle

Retrofit Team

ARCHITECT: goCstudio, Seattle

  • Jon Gentry, AIA
  • Aimee O’Carroll, ARB
  • Rebecca Fuhrman and Nick Durig, intern architects

CONTRACTOR: Montlake Associates, Seattle


goCstudio proposed the concept of The Forum, a place of assembly for social and business activities.

LIGHTING DESIGN: KMJ Design, Seattle

MATERIALS

The following materials were used in the project:
CORK FLOORING: Vallarex from Expanko

CORK WALL PANELING: Jelinek

SKYLIGHT: CrystaLite

CUSTOM-FABRICATED STEEL/ GLASS CONFERENCE ROOM WALLS AND DOORS: Marian Built

SLIDING DOOR HARDWARE: Henderson

DOOR LEVER: Athena from EMTEK

RECEPTION DESK (BLACK WALNUT VENEER PLYWOOD, HOT-ROLLED STEEL BASE): Designed by goCstudio and Fabricated by Dolan Built

KITCHEN ISLAND AND BAR (CROSS-LAMINATED TIMBER ON HOT-ROLLED STEEL BASE): Designed by goCstudio and Fabricated by Dolan Built

CONFERENCE-ROOM STEEL DOOR HANDLES: Designed by goCstudio, Fabricated by Marian Built
KITCHEN ISLAND AND BAR LIGHTING: Lucent Lampworks

KITCHEN CHAIRS: Hot Mesh Stool from Blu Dot

The Retrofit


The 25-foot-long kitchen island and 16-foot-long bar island transform into a busy full-service event space.

Substantial is a digital product studio that was housed in one of two office spaces on the upper floor of a 100-year-old building. Substantial readily took the opportunity to expand into the rest of the floor when the previous tenant moved. The challenge was to create a cohesive open plan workspace, which retained the feel of the original Substantial space and would maximize the existing character of the building: exposed brick walls, old-growth Douglas fir beams and roof decking, and warehouse-style window walls.

Working closely with the owners to understand how the office operates on a day-to-day basis, as well as the needs of the ever-growing number of events and social programs that Substantial hosts, goCstudio proposed the concept of The Forum, a place of assembly for social and business activities. By creating a focal point for a 14,000-square-foot office, employees and visitors would have a place to congregate and exchange ideas in an informal space.

Architecturally, The Forum became an open space below a new large-scale skylight adjacent to the entry staircase. Not only is the skylight used as means to allow natural light into the deep plan of the building, but it also naturally draws people into the heart of the building. This space became the pro- grammatic organizer of the new insertions, which were laid out around it. A strong material palette of ebony-stained plywood defines the new insertions—conference rooms, quiet rooms and phone rooms—which are organized around The Forum and tie the open office together. Two existing confer- ence rooms were retained from the previous tenant in the expansion and treated with the same material palette to tie them into the new design. The rooms have large steel and glass doors in the style of the industrial warehouses of the building’s era.

By day, the large kitchen/dining area is used as transient workspaces for the employees who often enjoy a change of scene throughout the day. The 25-foot-long kitchen island and 16-foot-long bar island transform into a busy full-service event space. A 20-foot-long custom reception desk, which reuses Substantial’s former steel entry door, was designed to greet visitors as they ascend the staircase from the street. Almost half the office can be used as social gathering space with ease.

PHOTOS: Kevin Scott

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