Project Files: URG Touchstone

URG Touchstone brings together the cultures and work-styles of two companies. URG Touchstone, Seattle. Photography © Chris Eden.

In Seattle, URG Touchstone represents the merger of two companies and their differing cultures: Touchstone was a brokerage firm, accustomed to sleek high-end finishes and an office for each broker; URG, specializing in historical buildings, was a real estate development firm comfortable in an open office environment with few private offices. Established as one firm two years earlier, they would be housed together for the first time in their new offices on the second floor of an historically registered building in Seattle. The goal was to design an environment that would support the way each currently worked but provide the capacity to develop new ways of working together.

Although large windows offer amazing views of downtown Seattle, they are limited to just two sides of the deep, square floorplan. Ensuring natural light for all staff, as well as creating an overall transparency and an area for entertaining, were additional objectives.

The design respects each company’s workstyles. A reduced number of offices for executives are at the core, with glass fronts displaying enlarged renderings of city maps, also used on conference room glass fronts, for privacy and to celebrate Seattle. In a bright, open plan area, project managers use benching systems, and other staff, including most brokers, have a workstation with low partitions that offer clean sightlines.

At the core, two original skylights revealed by the design team are significant sources of abundant natural light. One is in the large interior conference room, the other in an adjacent café that extends to one of the windowless walls. A glass wall between the café and conference room creates a large space for group meetings and entertaining when retracted. A lively mural by a local artist brightens the café. At the core there are also conference, phone, huddle, and focus rooms as well as a kitchenette, some in an area originally dark, now illuminated by a third skylight designed by IA.

Slylights in the conference room and café provide abundant natural light. URG Touchstone, Seattle. Photography © Chris Eden.

Starting at the elevator, a wedge-shaped corridor moves through the floorplan guiding visitors to the conference room, then becomes increasingly narrow to intuitively signal the end of the public area for visitors.

A diagonal corridor leads to the conference room. URG Touchstone, Seattle. Photography © Chris Eden.

The design leaves in place as much of the original structure as possible. Hundred-year-old terrazzo floors remain exposed where feasible, highlighted by painted cross-bracing. All of the original windows are uncovered; from one vantage point every window can be seen at once. The new design, sleek and modern, contrasts with the retained features and respects the site’s historicity through a consistent design approach. Clean detailing and contemporary materials compliment the building without visibly touching or imitating the original. All this transforms an historic space into a flexible, fresh venue, approachably professional, collaboration-focused, and geared for staff and community interaction.


IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.


Law Firm Metrics: The Story Behind Some Key Numbers


The realm of law firm design has its own rules, traditions, and language.

IA Interior Architects and New York legal business consulting firm SB2 look at the metrics impacting successful law firms and their built environments. ...continued.

Read More

Task-Based Lighting Leads to Efficiencies


Recently research seeks to determine the optimal lighting environment for different work types. We take a look at that research, and discuss the implications for the world of workplace design and architecture. ...continued.

Read More

2020 New Year’s Resolutions


​The design of a workplace can help those who make resolutions keep them through specific spaces and features that create opportunities for desired outcomes. ...continued.

Read More

close

STAY IN TOUCH
TWICE A WEEK

  • circle
    Weekly blog updates
  • circle
    Project videos
  • circle
    Whitepapers, company updates, and more

We use the information we collect about you to inform you about IA services, events and related news that may interest you. We do not share or sell your information to third parties. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.


By clicking "SIGN UP," you consent to allow IA Interior Architects to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.