For Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding site, the Do-it-Yourself, entrepreneurial mission is embedded not only in the thousands of creative projects it helps to bring to life, but also in its own ethos and day-to-day operations. So when it came to imagining a new headquarters for its rapidly growing team, the tech company did not take the obvious or easy route: It brought on Ole Sondresen Architect (OSA)
To connect with the outdoors and bring in abundant daylight to the interior, the structure is anchored by a central courtyard, which is supported by 380 feet of salvaged steel trusses from the former roof. Sondresen referred to this approach as the “Renaissance palazzo scheme” where “most light comes from inside” and enables “a strong connection to natural elements.”
The lower level is dedicated to public programming and operations with open offices, a cafeteria, a 1,600-square-foot gallery for artists’ work and community events, and a 74-seat theater—made of oxidized, reclaimed oak and Western redcedar panels to enhance acoustics—to host screenings, lectures, and other productions. “They [Kickstarter] wanted to give back to the community and have all the workers engaged and have an art component in the program,” said Sondresen.
The theater extends up to the ground floor, which includes a spacious library, outfitted with comfortable armchairs and communal desks, as well as more open offices. Roomy conference rooms for larger breakout sessions and smaller nooks for intimate meetings encourage a flexible and collaborative work environment. “There are no private offices in the entire complex,” added Sondresen. “It is quite a liberal office—everyone has options for where they want to work.”
In addition to the two-tier courtyard, Camille Finefrock (who also did the interior design as well) designed a landscaped 8,500-square-foot green roof, featuring a staff-run vegetable, fruit, and herb garden, which also mitigates the heat-island effect.
Beyond aesthetics, the repurposing of materials, including the recycled denim insulation, reclaimed wood, and the use of 40-percent recycled fly-ash in poured concrete, lowered the building’s overall carbon footprint. “We wanted to save as much of the building possible,” said Sondrensen. “After all, adaptive reuse is the most sustainable thing you can do in an old building.”