Butler Rogers Baskett (BRB), in collaboration with exhibit/environmental design firm C&G Partners, redesigned the headquarters for Major League Baseball (MLB), the Office of the Commissioner.
The 24,000-square-foot conference center encompasses expanded workspace; a 1,500-square-foot sub-dividable multi-purpose room features advanced audiovisual and teleconferencing capabilities, which can accommodate 299 people; and eight meeting rooms seat from eight to 24 people. Its fresh, client-specific design was the result of a thorough design process. This included evaluating projects of similar scope, observing the workings of MLB’s various departments, revising ideas with client feedback, and devising a design vocabulary drawn from baseball itself.
Throughout the conference center, design elements infer baseball references. Textures inspired by the sport (base-like fabrics, baseball stitching in leather panels, aluminum, steel, terrazzo, and wood) combine to create unique interiors. Glass walls are etched with baseball statistics, streaming videos reprise information from the MLB website, baseball news and headlines appear on LED tickers, carpet-and-terrazzo flooring recalls a grass-and-dirt baseball diamond, conference tables are made of ash (the favored wood for baseball bats), and “billboards” with changing graphics decorate the multi-purpose room.
Even the visitor’s procession through the space echoes the stadium experience, as an angled hall leads up from a compressed elevator lobby to a single, oversized door and a large, open reception area. This striking space features a backstop-shaped module with focused lighting, a seating area bordered by aluminum trim, and an architectural interpretation of the iconic Major League Baseball logo realized in backlit glass. The walls of the hallway leading from the reception area to the conference room showcase National and American League uniforms, which adorn heroic life-sized figures; replacing their “faces” are cogent facts and images of their home stadiums. A bar/food-service area is surmounted by monitors with live feeds from the Major League website.
The 25-foot-high by 10-foot-wide interior trilon, comprised of three billboards, visually connects the floors and brings the stairway to life. Typically used as outdoor advertising, the billboards are presented on a series of rotating, three-sided vertical slats, all run by individual servo motors, that allow each louver to turn individually.