A recent assignment to photograph Okland Construction’s Salt Lake headquarters building demonstrated to me how an office space can be vital, energized, and focused on the daily experiences of those who work there. Okland Construction, of course, built the space (designed by WRNS Studios, San Francisco) and showcased the many types of concrete they bring to their projects. (I believe I heard there were 18 different types of finished concrete.)

Natural daylight pours through a central atrium through the three floors. The graphically designed yellow metal stairway brings in the yellow from Okland’s logo and feels like bolts of energy running through the building.

As you can see, conference rooms, offices, and collaboration rooms all have glass walls to the hallways, suggesting a corporate ethos of openness and “we’re all in it together.”

The two largest conference rooms are on the top floor and face east to the Wasatch. Naming the conference rooms for local geographic features (like Ensign Peak and Mt. Olympus) reinforce the sense of place that the ample windows offer. For the south-facing windows, light shelves control for glare and heat gain. Wood paneling and a suspended wood ceiling frames the comfortably furnished waiting area by the conference rooms that features photos and histories of the family-owned company’s founder and successors and the values that carry forth today.

Many of Okland’s employees are out on the jobsite much of the day, and the office plans for desks for them to use with hookups for laptops and printers and places to sit and return calls. Additionally, there are large and small collaboration areas to meet and go through plans, as well as differently sized conference rooms to meet with project teams.

The future is clearly a consideration in sizing the space. When the firm grows and new people arrive, there is planned space to equip with minimal disruption to the other employee’s work environment.

The amenities must surely make employees feel appreciated. This dining area benefits from a bar with beverages, snacks, sink and refrigerator space, and for good weather there are outdoor patio tables. Beyond is a presentation and training area with tables for serving lunch or refreshments.

The lower level offers recreation with a sizable gym and ping-pong tables, where I sensed considerable competitiveness as evidenced by the swiftly returned balls.

I experimented by processing some of the photos as black-and-whites and others as selectively colored. Here are examples.

The same view of the north elevation, the black-and-white offers a different sense of the building. It feels strong and timeless while the color photo has a vital intensity about it. I like them both.

I photographed the interiors during the day and had little need to supplement the natural light. For the exteriors, I waited until evening because of the time of year. I’m excited to return after the spring buds for some day exteriors and plan on showing them to you. Spring! I just love saying the word. I’m ready.

See more of Scot’s work on the blog here!

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