Building 43 was a 199,000-square-foot tenant improvement to transform 730 private offices, meeting rooms, and corridors into an open and collaborative space that allows employees to be both creative and productive. Unique features include use of wood, glass, and steel throughout and a new central stair feature with a 4-story art installation. The project also included a locker room expansion, a pilot program to test new design concepts with the user groups, and complete renovations of three large multi-purpose training rooms.
The project was on a fast-track schedule from early design through occupancy. The total construction time was less than six months, including the demolition of the existing interior down to the exterior shell, rebuilding all perimeter framing and insulation, and refurbishing the building HVAC systems.
Using Virtual Reality
The general building footprint has two large wings with a narrow connecting “bridge”. The most prominent architectural feature being added was a central staircase in the bridge area, opening up the 4-story curtainwall and allowing much more light into an atrium-like area. The staircase was custom-built, with a self-supporting steel structure, wood risers, a large wooden seating platform at the bottom, and resin panels at the landings to allow more light into the space and views of the 4-story glass art piece installed on the adjacent wall. Modifying the space entailed removing approximately 20' x 30' sections of 14" thick slabs in patchwork squares due to their weight and access limitations.
Since this was a visually high risk element, our project team pioneered the use of Virtual Reality to allow the architects and client to “see” the finished product in a very realistic way. The team built the entire lobby and stair structure in a virtual model and brought in key client representatives several times to “walk” the space after design but prior to stair fabrication and installation. This resulted in several changes, including reducing the height of the resin panels at the landings, adjusting features of the handrails, and shifting the entire staircase several feet to allow better viewing of the art piece. These changes that were relatively inexpensive, but had they been made later, would likely have resulted in a cost of more than $100,000 dollars.