Top Prospect

VLK Architects transforms a former metal fabrication warehouse into a high-tech office for digital marketing firm iProspect--all while honoring the company's Fort Worth roots.

by Elianne Halbersberg

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As a leader in global digital marketing, iProspect’s Fort Worth office has deep roots in both the cutting edge and Texas tradition. So when it was time for the company to expand and move its office—previously located in a warehouse space in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards—it hired local firm VLK Architects to create a new facility that would reflect its high-tech status, while still paying homage to its Lone Star home.

In June of 2012, iProspect relocated its 175-person staff into a 25,000-square-foot building which had formerly served as a metal fabrication warehouse. Sloan Harris, AIA, LEED AP, principal with VLK Architects, explains that in order to honor the firm’s history while still creating a modern space, the first step was to employ materials that were reminiscent of the stockyard: heavy timber, raw steel, rock, brick, and exposed masonry and cable structures. “It’s new technology meets old historic feel,” he says.

That theme is carried out in two layers, Harris adds. The first layer is that of locally sourced raw materials—wood, concrete, rock and brick—which create the earth tones. “It’s all muted and rustic,” he says. “The concrete floor was polished and ground down to a finish. It reflects light really well and exposes some of the aggregate in the concrete. The wood that we used is 8 by 8 rough-cut timber that mimics railroad ties. The rock is 2 to 4-inch Colorado cobble. The wood ceiling panels are 1-inch thick birch plywood. The separations between the pieces of plywood are the exact dimensions needed for the linear fixtures that are placed within the slots in the plywood. It became all one system and was suspended above each workstation pod.”

Reclaimed wood is used to create sliding conference room doors, as well as a pivoting wall system between the commons area and the work space. A wall made of railroad ties leads the visitor’s eyes to a mural wall with a historic photo of the Fort Worth Stockyards, circa 1905.

The second layer of the theme accentuates iProspect’s branding through the use of the company’s colors: blue, orange and green. “That’s the beginning of the color scheme,” Harris explains. “They’re very bright, and we used them as starting points for the furniture and the accent colors that we chose.” Bold pops of color emanate from the furnishings specified throughout the space, including pieces from Knoll, Allermuir, Global and Izzy. Sleek glass panels, printed with iProspect’s own HTML code, create a floor, wall and ceiling around the reception desk.

Like most modern offices, iProspect’s headquarters was designed with collaboration, creativity and efficiency in mind; the team from VLK wanted to give employees the freedom to stretch out and create, as well as the ability to hunker down when warranted. An open-office concept was developed for general work areas, including minimal workstations designed to support little more than a computer or a laptop. Collaborative spaces have been provided throughout the floorplan, including breakout spaces for small group meetings, conference rooms for larger gatherings, phone booths for personal use, and a specialty room, known as the Brain Room, which features writeable walls and tables, as well as projectable surfaces.

The main kitchen is housed in the center of the office, making it the hub for all employees to use and enjoy. A large common area, adjacent to the kitchen, houses mobile furnishings, creating an ever-changing environment, while two game rooms allow employees to take a mental break at any point during the day.

Customized Tectum panels, designed in a color scheme that matches the office, have been applied to the concrete structure of the roof to help eliminate the reflection of sound off the hard surfaces found throughout the office.

“Even though they’re an open space, there’s still privacy and acoustical separation, so there’s not a large disruption between the sporadic meetings and those who are still working at their individual stations,” says Harris.

Prior to their relocation, iProspect’s offices were akin to what Harris calls “individual living rooms, with two, three or four people in each office. It was inefficient, with redundant and unused square footage.” In the new location, VLK used the reconfigured workstations as a launching point for the open floor design, allocating 115 square feet of space per employee for maximum efficiency.

“As the workplace metric ideology starts to shift, companies realize that researching as a group, socializing and working in project teams are a regular percentage of a worker’s day, rather than sitting at a desk working by themselves,” says Harris. “We’re able to realize these spatial efficiencies because we’re dedicating more space to groups rather than individuals. That allows us to be more efficient, because if you put eight people in a room to work on a project, obviously that room’s not going to be 100 square feet per person, as opposed to private offices and individual workstations, where the square footage per person is a lot greater than it is when they’re in groups. That allows us to get the square footage down and improves collaboration, with people working in proximity and playing off of each other’s ideas. That’s how iProspect works. There’s no individual in that company that’s working on an island or by themselves.”

The new iProspect space is located in Fort Worth’s West 7th Cultural District, which is filling with gentrified retail outlets, restaurants and offices—and a lot of visitors to the new marketing headquarters. For employees and the project owners, it’s proof of the attraction and efficiency of the new facility.

“We have an open and collaborative work environment that provides our employees a living space in which they could contribute their best ideas,” says iProspect Managing Director Price Glomski. “From the moment you walk in the doors you feel the energy of our company. It’s a great way to start the work day.”

 

CONTACT:
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client
iProspect Fort Worth
1021 Foch Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 625-4157
www.iProspect.com

 

 

project team
architecture + interior design
VLK Architects, Inc.
2821 West 7th Street
Suite 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 633-1600
www.vlkarchitects.com

Sloan Harris, AIA, LEED AP
Brian Harlan, AIA
Joey Mejia, Assoc. AIA
Christopher Ortiz, Assoc. AIA
Tracy A. Loftin, CSI, CDT

PHOTOGRAPHY
Chad M. Davis, AIA