Looking to increase headcount, improve staff interaction, and promote the exchange of knowledge, CableLabs hired Acquilano to help them “press the reset button”. The non-profit thinktank, development, and testing company is responsible for many of the cable television technology advances we enjoy today. CableLabs’ innovative spirit showed through early when discussing how to address the real estate decisions facing the company – there was no fear of being different in the interest of moving forward. The result is a case-study that disrupts the way we think about technology offices, open office design and its practicality.

Location: Denver, CO
Size: 56,000 SF
Contractor: Howell Construction
Professional Partners: JLL Project Management, ME Engineers, Elements
Photography: David Lauer

100% Open Office (That Works)

Planning for a headcount growth from 185 to 215 in the same footprint we recognized the need to rethink the office environment. CEO, Phil McKinney was first to propose eliminating space-eating private offices, including his own. Committed to maintaining a facility conducive to the work, privacy remained a critical component. Small departmental ‘neighborhoods’ consisting of 10-20 stations and multiple enclosed enclaves were constructed to avoid the ‘cube farm’ effect and to provide for private space. Departments’ degree of privacy was categorized into four types and located with respective proximity to the active circulation path.

“Phil’s leadership was inspiring. He ‘walked the walk’ and that made the change easy for all to support.” – Ashley Stinson, Acquilano

“Our goal going forward was to create an efficient and energetic space that did not look like a law firm.”

Spontaneous Collisions

The prior space was burdened with perimeter offices that precluded daylight infiltration and an uninspired ‘racetrack’ circulation path. The new plan featured a single oversized highway. It bisected the plan in a meandering fashion, connecting many of the private enclaves. On both floors, the central path terminates with a glorified breakroom, each with unique vending and beverage options to help drive cross floor pollination. The idea was this highway, humorously dubbed “the highway of serendipity” by CableLabs, was to create spontaneous collisions to improve the exchange of ideas.

Destination Hubs

Group spaces representing more than 35% of the plan vary in size and type. A break space at each end bookends the primary path. These destination hubs feature unique finishes and vending offerings to promote cross floor traffic.

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