Gensler's new offices at the Houston Center provide a blank canvas and fresh perspective, as well as an immersive experience for clients, staff and visitors of the global design and architecture firm.
Gensler are a world-renowned, award-winning integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. With over 50 locations and 6,000+ employees already, the architecture firm have recently signed a lease for 50,000 sq feet over two floors in downtown Houston, Texas. In recent years, its Houston office has implemented more of the design trends it studies and carries out for its clients, which include some of this region's top law practices, financial institutions and energy firms.
The design of the office is a real representation of Gensler's history and strength in Houston - showcasing the full spectrum of project types, practice areas, and clients. And this new space will bring even more forward-thinking design. About 70% of the Houston office focusses on agile working, where employees can choose from a variety of workplace settings, whether it’s outside on a patio, in a huddle room or at a stand-up desk.
The transformation represents a shift from a traditional workplace-focused office into a far more multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary practice. The result is an environment that supports and harnesses Gensler Houston’s dynamic, boundary-pushing energy. The office embraces the full range of work styles required by the creative process, enhancing collaboration and innovation.
As part of this innovative, solutions-focussed design we were pleased to be able to supply our Lockers with tech-enabled 'digital' locks. Using this technology based system, rather than other more traditional locker styles, allows Gensler's employees to be fully agile and assign themselves lockers as needed. Used in several different configurations around the space, some lockers feature at the end of a run of desks, for off the desk storage, whilst still being conveniently near. Other banks are located around the circumference of the building. Customized to suit their needs, the black finish, with vinyl numbering and integrated waste solutions allow the lockers to match the design scheme as well as supporting the multiple ways of working, featured throughout the space.
This shift, from traditional workplace focus, to an interdisciplinary practise, is bolstered by Gensler’s repositioning of 2 Houston Center itself, linking the office with public space in the building, which supports a more collaborative, mobile, and progressive workflow.
“As you have more open areas sometimes some people just need to get away,” Flickinger said. “Not focus rooms or huddle rooms, but rooms for you to separate yourself from the working environment to get refreshed.”
An expanded Design Library cleverly creates various meeting spaces while enhanced technology is available in lounge-furnished “cabanas” for informal group meetings and other gathering areas dispersed throughout the office. Direct access to a landscaped outdoor terrace, equipped with Wi-Fi and speakers, presents alternative work and meeting spaces. This prized amenity is one aspect of the design that emphasizes employee health and wellness; other elements that focus on sustainability help to achieve LEED credentials. And supporting these wellbeing amenities is the large underground space for bike storage.
This new office is a statement, and not only that but a true design lab. The Library, Maker Space, and VR Room are all on full display by the reception to make visible Gensler Houston’s identity as innovators and change-makers. “We like to see our office as a testing ground,” Flickinger said.
Photography Credits: Gensler/ Grant Gay©