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Project Files: Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald

Construction law firm relocates to a timeless, inviting office with built-in efficiencies and endless day light.
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Photo © Thomas McConnell.

Law firm design is undergoing noticeable transitions that reflect increasing parallels with modern corporate designs. The transitions are subtle and have resulted in increased space efficiencies and detours from the traditional perception of a private, hierarchical approach that has framed legal design in popular culture over the years. Gone are the days of office size being determined by seniority and a lack of transparency. When IA recently designed a new office space for construction law firm Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, these transitions contributed to an environment that fosters collaboration and community building.

Extensive visioning sessions, focus groups and programming produced a design strategy that expresses the firm’s redefined structure, transparent organization, and collaborative management style. Office sizes are universal and have glass fronts to project the image of a flatter and more transparent organization. The office layout was carefully determined based on the solar orientation of the building in an effort to optimize universal day light and create a space that is welcoming and a catalyst to nurture wellbeing and productivity.

Photo © Thomas McConnell.
Photo © Thomas McConnell.

A central stair in the one-and-a-half floor space connects the firm’s support personnel on the 10th floor with the 11th floor attorney lounge that is the heart of the office for gatherings, collaboration, and “alone together” work.

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Photo © Thomas McConnell.

Beyond the lounge, attorney and support staff are in close proximity. Paired administrative assistant stations, with surrounding attorney offices, create light-filled team zones for collaboration and heads-down work in library-like settings. Universal offices for partners and associates have sit-stand desks, feature full floor-to-ceiling glass fronts, and are adjacent to shared corner team rooms that replace traditional corner offices. Enclosed touchdown areas and multiple case rooms create an array of options that can easily become private offices for future expansion. Case rooms also allow associates to collaborate on a wide variety of assignments and double as  team rooms through the right mix of technology and furnishings.

Photo © Thomas McConnell.
Photo © Thomas McConnell.

Watt Tieder Senior Partner Lewis J. Baker: “For our lawyers and staff who spend enormous hours in the office, there is universal pride in their new work home.”

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