Archtober Building of the Day #14> Wieden & Kennedy offices by WORKac

Archtober Building of the Day #14> Wieden & Kennedy offices by WORKac

Archtober Building of the Day #14
Wieden & Kennedy
150 Varick Street, 6th Floor

Sam Dufaux, associate principal of WORKac, led a full boatload of Archtober enthusiasts through the New York offices of renowned Portland, Oregon–based ad agency Wieden + Kennedy.

The firm got famous with its “Just do it” campaign for Nike, and the office atmosphere retains an air of athleticism with its ESPN TV feed, sneaker shod youths with untucked shirts, full-on gym, and Heineken on tap.

The center of the reception experience is the drop-down “Coin” stair, richly sculpted in wood, serving as an amphitheater for the lounge seating at its base. There was plenty of lounge seating, empty, juxtaposed to dense clusters of the aforementioned staffers huddled in their 5-foot-by-2.5-foot sections of desk. The result of analysis of work habits and meeting room needs, the space has a range of options beyond the sliver of space for the individual. Social centers abound—pantries, vending areas, conference rooms with names like “Winners Circle,” were glassy and well stocked with bright and cheerful furniture. Long, stand-up tables provide dividers between the pods and the West Elm–style groupings of sofas and upholstered chairs set off on platforms

The one private office I spied was called the Ninja Den.

There were a lot of ideas here, and I was pleasantly surprised to note that, while many were colorful, none seemed goofy in that silly Google way. An abundance of white paint, dominating columns, and a relatively contiguous polished-concrete floor gave the interior a sense of architectonic continuity. Episodes, like the corkscrew stair, were well spaced with enough context to knit the space together into a spirited unity.

Let’s see what today’s tour brings with the Red Bull Studios.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober:  Architecture and Design Month NYC.  She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell.  After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater.