A primary challenge the firm overcame when designing the client’s new Irvine headquarters was creating a common space for the organization’s two different entities which serve diverse clientele. Prior to renovation, the client’s facilities team divided the corporate office and therapy services into two separate buildings, each functioning independently, but working toward the same goal. The merger of the two entities united the organization and gave the design firm the opportunity to challenge the ways of the conventional office space and therapy center to create a new shared environment to be occupied in harmony by both groups. As building owners, the end user sought a more permanent, deep-rooted residence with this new building renovation. In response, the firm delivered a timeless, durable design for a long-term return on investment. While budget is a primary concern for any not for profit organization, the team remained focused on making the correct, most sustainable financial decisions. Approximately 92.7 percent of the end user’s donations goes directly into their services and programs, so it was vital for the firm to stay within the budget to support and maintain the company’s remarkable organizational performance of giving back. The firm was ultimately tasked with designing a new space to optimize the performance, health and well-being of the client’s Orange County based employees and the children and families who use the space daily.
The renovation of the client’s Southern California headquarters delivered on a twofold vision: to design a branded space that creates an inviting and playful experience for special-needs children, and an inspiring work environment that enhances employee well-being. The firm designed a warm and cheerful lobby that offers a comfortable and inviting environment for the 100-125 autistic patients served each day. The new branded office layout enables the end user to showcase its mission, promote more donor opportunities, and offers a centralized location for fundraising events. To create a space that promotes health and wellness, the interior architect firm incorporated eco-friendly materials throughout the space emulating the greenhouse theme and offering the end user an organic solution to improving the well-being of its patients, guests and employees. The biophilic design of the renovated facility builds a framework for human/nature connections with terrariums lining the staircase, succulents layered in outdoor troughs next to the seating areas, bright and colorful images of natural elements within the organization’s huddle rooms, and carved panels in the lobby that symbolize hanging vines. Indoor outdoor work areas also allow access to natural light and offers employees the flexibility to work where they feel most comfortable doing the task at hand. To encourage movement and support ergonomics, all of the client’s workstations are height adjustable. The design of the facility was highly motivated by the humble, kind, and giving heart found in every associate. Their infectious passion for the services they provide made it prudent for the project team to find design solutions that mitigated additional costs for the organization. The design firm and the general contractor collaborated to leverage donor funding efficiently by integrating existing utilitarian elements into impactful design features.