After 26 years in the suburban Buckhead section of town—in an office accessible only by car—Atlanta-based design firm Cooper Carry set out to practice what it preaches from the sustainable design pulpit. In the process, they created an award-winning showcase of high-end sustainable interior architecture that reduced their carbon footprint and earned LEED-CI Platinum certification.
Raising the bar in sustainable design is a delicate balancing act, requiring judicial use of high level finishes where appropriate, and then hitting the numbers with finishes and recycled products that achieve a maximum level of sustainability. Cooper Carry’s office accomplishes this in style.
To create an open and flexible space that would support a more collaborative work environment, executive offices were integrated into the surrounding millwork of the general studio workspace, separated only by frameless glazing and acoustically isolated ceilings. After interviewing staff to determine their needs and wants, the project team custom-designed low work stations that maximize daylighting and promote a more collaborative environment. They also concluded that the 18- to 24-inch-deep work surfaces available on manufactured systems were not suited to architectural work, opting instead for custom surfaces that are 30 to 36 inches deep.
Direct and indirect pendant lighting fixtures work in tandem with the work stations, which are fabricated of FSC-certified MDF and finished with five coats of water-based clear coat. Existing file cabinets were slipped into millwork envelopes for use as collaboration tables. The team focused on sophisticated lighting control systems with proximity and daylight level sensors that are utilized throughout the new office space, along with indoor air quality and CO2 monitors. The result is a brighter, healthier environment for the firm’s staff and clients.
Cooper Carry harvests all of its daylighting with Lutron’s EcoSystem, which was new at the time of installation. LEED credits were also achieved by reusing conference tables, file cabinets, wood furniture and task chairs. Additionally, 89 percent of the furniture was relocated from its old offices to the new space.
The move confirms Cooper Carry’s commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint, with a reduction from nearly all employees commuting by car, to over 60 percent using public or sustainable transit. The team is equally proud of the speed with which staff members adapted to the new open plan office system.