Abundance is a Paladino core value, meaning that every successful change initiative must contain an upside. So when it came time to design and build our new Seattle headquarters, we put ourselves through the abundance approach.
Rather than bemoaning any lack of resources (cost, time, etc.), we preferred to build upon what we already had to create the things we believe in: a healthier work environment and reduced carbon emissions. We set a target of what we valued and rigorously adhered to it when it came time to make decisions. Doing so allowed us to focus on the upside, or a state of abundance, that we wanted to create.
We found ways to reduce costs so we could invest in features that really mattered. For example, by eliminating glass conference room walls/doors, we were able to upgrade our lighting system. Both the lighting system and the lack of conference room walls allow us to collaborate more effectively. The result of our abundance approach? We got a top of class green project at conventional construction costs.
Abundance of Seattle
After an exhaustive search for the “greenest” building in Seattle, we were fortunate to find a building within blocks of our existing location and just a block away from Pike Place Market. We have a view of Victor Steinbrueck Park, named after the councilman who helped save Pike Place Market, a view of Puget Sound with passing ferries, and a roof terrace with a view of all of downtown, the Olympic Mountains and, of course, Mt. Rainer. And we are connected to Seattle Steam, which is fueled by carbon neutral sources.
We have a roof terrace as a conference room!
Abundance of Transportation
Located within walking distance to all downtown busses, Link light rail, The South Lake Union Streetcar, Washington state ferries, and the monorail, our staff can get from anywhere to the front door without ever having to drive. And for those that prefer a bike? We found a building that has fantastic bike facilities and we added an additional bike rack wall within our space to celebrate the activity and promote bicycling.
Paladino’s bikes are celebrated in this space.
We elected to keep new materials raw and expose them for what they are made of!
Abundance of History
Constructed in the early 1920s, our new headquarters was originally a warehouse for Bon Marche, Seattle’s first major department store. Given its history, we elected to celebrate it by revealing its character instead of covering it with pristine surfaces.
The concrete floor was exposed, stained, and sealed (low VOC, naturally), creating a rich, one of a kind texture. Likewise, columns that bear evidence of multiple generations of tenants were left exposed. The rawness of the space provides visible reminders that we are mere caretakers of an old jewel, but also required a lot less materials to finish, lowering our carbon footprint and aiding our bottom line; abundance at its best.
New meets old: natural fiber carpets create a sharp contrast with old floors.
Abundance of Collaboration
For the first time in five years, we are all on the same floor, enabling us to reconnect teams through open, breezeway-like collaboration rooms. These spaces feature three parallel walls of floor to ceiling whiteboards and pin-up areas, creating an abundance of vertical space to explore new ideas through collaboration. Gone are the physical barriers that prevent ideas from spreading; collaboration behind closed doors is not an option at our new space.
No doors on these collaboration rooms; everyone has access to our ideas.
Abundance of Flexibility
We all have different working styles and different collaboration needs. Our new plan offers us at least five different areas to work in for different types of tasks.
Need a quiet reading space? Try our lounge, our den, or our phone booth. Need a conference room for two, four, eight or the entire staff to meet? We have those too. Want to sit, stand or walk while connected? Check. Work in the kitchen? Work outside? Work in the reception area? You guessed it; we can do all of those things. Our space plan will allow us to rapidly re-deploy teams and allow them to work the way that is best for them to design abundance for our clients.
Work can happen anywhere in our space.
Collaboration can even happen around the kitchen table!
Abundance of Nature
We are also now deeply connected to the Seattle climate. We have an abundance of operable windows that open the way windows should; all the way! This creates an abundant cross flow of ventilation. On recent days in which we topped 85 degrees outside, the combination of sun-shielding blinds, open windows and exposed thermal mass meant that we needed no air-conditioning to maintain comfort, which is a good thing because we actually don’t have air conditioning. This saves on energy and reduced the HVAC equipment needed in the space, all without sacrificing comfort. Abundance!
Operable windows wrap the space in daylight and fresh air.
Abundance of Old Stuff
That old drinking fountain formerly required by code? It’s now the proud display case for all our magnets collected from the great places where we have worked around the world.
Old light fixtures made in China, left by other tenants? They are now our front entry chandelier. Old front doors to suites left from the demolition? They found a new home as doors to our server room and storage closet.
An abundance of metal becomes a space for our expression.
Reclaimed from our demo, these $5 fixtures now form our entry chandelier.
Abundance of Paladino
We are a mission-driven company that believes we can change the course of climate change if we are willing to change ourselves. This space allows us to test out behavior change techniques and work through the real solutions to them. If we are uncomfortable with the light, air, temperature, or noise, rather than complain, we now move within our suite to find a spot that works for us.
We’ve taken “business casual” to a new level. On warm weather days staff members can wear shorts (not too short) to the office. Cold? Sweaters are allowed too! Our lights are controlled by vacancy sensors that require an opt-in to turn on.
Come visit us in our new space!
Behavior change starts with us. We’re confident that the lessons that we learned by doing what we preach for our own sustainability project will help us to solve the bigger challenges of our clients.
Paladino would like to thank SKB Architects, Schuchart and Martin Smith Inc for their enthusiastic collaboration on abundance. We’re applying for LEEDv4 certification for our space. Stay tuned for more news about that.
Brad Pease AIA, LEED® AP BD is the leader of Paladino’s Signature Buildings Practice that guides owners to embed core organizational values around sustainability into their significant single building projects