In November 2018, developer Skanska USA announced it had made a deal with Indeed as the first tenant in the 38-story, 686,000 square foot Class A office tower 2+U located in Seattle’s Central Business District. Fast forward to the last quarter of 2019, and Indeed is exploring new concepts of design in their 11 floors of leased space with the direction of Bellevue-based JPC Architects, leaning heavily into the influence of what JPC Architects colloquially refers to as the “Northwest flavor.”
“[Indeed] has been really supportive of JPC and what we’ve tried to achieve for them in the project,” said Mark Peterson, principal-in-charge at JPC. “They’ve embraced our creativity with open arms.”
Indeed rented 200,000 square feet of space at 2+U, with a 14-year lease purchased at market rate. Within that build, there will be nine office floors and two communal floors with food service halls.
Two characteristics of this working relationship that have really stood out during the design process, according to Peterson, were creativity and responsiveness to JPC’s work style. Susan Griffin, senior designer at JPC, added that Indeed has a vision across all their offices, with a unique flair to the new space at 2+U.
“They have a corporate vision for all their offices, so we were really working with them, as well as bringing in some of the Northwest themes,” Griffin said.
These Northwest themes, informally referred to by the team as the “flavor of the Northwest,” are multifold, according to Griffin. Manufacturing, shipbuilding and other historical industries in the region all had an influence on the project, with a heavy emphasis on natural elements like wood and industrial materials like concrete.
Peterson used the 37th and 38th floors as an example to demonstrate this idea, which are united by a large feature staircase which wraps from the 38th floor down to the 37th, and are clad with both wood and exposed concrete.
In this environment, it’s a white oak,” he said. “The nice part about this is the juxtaposition between the raw shell, which might be a little bit more industrial and its nature being cast against some of the wood elements, which are much more finished and refined, so we have a lot going on to keep the eye interested.”
That design concept is used in collaboration with the high-level method JPC and Indeed are using for the first time in one of Indeed’s offices, which span nationwide: the Dunbar idea.
According to Peterson, the Dunbar idea as it relates to office space was based on Dunbar’s Number, an ideology developed in the early 1990s by anthropologist and psychologist Robin Dunbar that focuses on primates, sociability and connection with peers. While Dunbar’s Number hypothesizes that humans have a cap of 150 relationships when it comes to meaningful connections, organizations can take this into account when reorganizing office space and creating an atmosphere that promotes community and social interaction when designing around the concept of the Dunbar idea.
Indeed wanted to incorporate an element of collaboration, despite leasing so many different floors of space.
“They wanted to create pockets of communities so there would be interest and interactions with all of the floors,” said Martin Grube, project manager.
Griffin continued to say the nine office floors are broken into three different Dunbar communities, each with a different design theme that would both complement the other communities and remain consistent with the Northwest flavor of the space.
“The space division concept is based on the Dunbar Community theory of communication,” she said. “There are three Dunbar Communities on three floors each. The middle floors offer more gathering and collaboration space. The finishes vary per community and are based on the Northwest.”
Currently, the project is working through the permitting process with the city of Seattle to clear through some of the more mechanical and technical difficulties so the contractor, Seattle-based Lease Crutcher Lewis, can begin. Grube said the working relationship among the different teams has helped in working through any challenges.
“We’re working and partnering through the challenges,” he said. “There are some things that we’re having to address as far as the shell and core of the building and working with some of the existing infrastructure and also some of the requirements that they want to see worked into the project, but there’s a partnership between the shell and core team and the TI team. We’re working through these without much difficulty.”
While JPC said Indeed is hoping to tentatively move the first phase of employees into the space by Q2 2020, they don’t want to be restricted to a specific timeline. Grube said Indeed’s focus is to make it a “nice, inviting” office, and the project is still undergoing change and input from JPC, Indeed and subcontractors.
“There’s a timeline, the fortunate thing is it has some flexibility in it,” he said.
While working through that collaborative process, the design team is looking forward to creating a space that will provide employees with an opportunity to step out of the office and into a community where they can enjoy interaction and the views of Puget Sound. Some of the amenities include the “two-story” space at 37th and 38th floors with the staircase, a fireplace and food service on the communal floors for people to meet and enjoy a meal together. Griffin added the view from 38th Floor looks west over Puget Sound.
“The 38th Floor is going to be a spectacular gathering space with the two-story windows and an exterior deck all overlooking the sound,” Grube said. “[It’s going to be] a really wonderful floor for people to get away from their desk.”
The JPC design team emphasized the importance of the working relationship they had established with Indeed at the inception of the project through the original project manager, who introduced them to the project itself.
“When we were in the interview process with them, they experienced the energy we brought to the interview and really appreciated what we proposed as far as scheme, how we approached the project and how we would implement the project,” Peterson said.
The team pointed out that the ease with which they have been able to move through the design process of the project is due to Indeed’s support and cooperation.
“Indeed has been fantastic to work with,” Grube said. “They have two great project managers that we’ve gotten the fortune to work with. Very team-oriented and extremely knowledgeable. It’s made our lives that much easier.”