Baton Rouge, Louisiana
When the Baton Rouge, Louisiana'based billboard company Lamar Advertising outgrew its headquarters, finding another traditional office building would have been the natural next step. But a 1970s data center across the street hit the market, and management decided to make the leap—despite the building's closed-off precast-concrete facade and stingy allotment of windows. “You can imagine staff saying, 'What, we're going to move into that?' ” recalls architect Steve Dumez of the New Orleans'based firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR). “It took a tremendous amount of vision to look at that building and say, 'This is going to be our new headquarters.'”
Choosing a frumpy building may seem like a puzzling move for a graphics company, but for CEO Sean Reilly, it was the interior that mattered. “It's not important for us to brag, but rather to create a space that makes our employees feel welcome,” Reilly says. The three-story, 115,000-square-foot building, which opened in March 2012, includes a large training room, open-plan workstations, a ground-floor cafeteria, and an outdoor patio shaded by oak trees.
To boost employee collaboration, EDR sought to unify the steel-and-precast-concrete structure's three levels into one light-filled space. The architects removed a central portion of the roof and upper floors and inserted a glazed open-air courtyard above a ground-level training room. To encourage chance encounters, they made taking the stairs an appealing option. A set of ip'-wood bleachers, with a stair linking the first and second floors, serves as a gathering spot and makes moving around the office inherently social. Glass rails preserve sightlines between departments.
The EDR team jazzed up the interiors by hanging items from Lamar's trove of vintage billboards, including early painted canvas specimens. For a mural on the ground floor, they screen-printed an image of a 1950s-era roadside scene onto aluminum signage panels.
By renovating the existing building instead of demolishing it and building new, Lamar saved 30 percent on construction costs. Since the move-in, the company estimates, employee collaboration has jumped 25 percent. “It gets us together more often and in different ways, and you never know where the conversation will go,” says Reilly.
Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple — Steve Dumez, principal in charge
Size: 115,000 square feet
Cost: $13.8 million
Completion Date: March 2012
Formal name of building:
Gross square footage:
Total construction cost:
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit: Architect of record: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
Structural/Civil Engineer: Fox-Nesbit Engineering, LLC.
Structural Engineer: Dean C. McKee, LLC.
Civil/Site Engineer: ABMB Engineers, Inc.
General contractor: Buquet-LeBlanc, Inc.
Acoustic ceiling (training room): Hunter Douglas
Paints and stains (interior paints): Benjamin Moore
Custom digital wallcoverings (throughout): Media DPI
Wrapped panel fabric (media room, 2nd floor reception): Knoll Textiles
Plastic laminate (coffee bar, restrooms, mailroom): Formica
Board room pantry: Wilsonart
Solid surfacing countertops (throughout): Corian by DuPont
Special surfacing wood sealer (throughout): Penofin
Floor and wall tile (restrooms): Daltile
Wall tile (restrooms): Crossville
Resilient flooring rubber flooring (media room): Flexco
Carpet tile (throughout): J&J Invision
Broadloom carpet (board room): Tandus
Office Specialty: lateral files
Custom desk (lobby): Architectural Glass & Metal
Reception furniture (reception areas lounge seating): Bernhardt Design
Chairs --guest seating (executive offices, caf' chairs (lunchroom, patio), barstools (casual meeting areas), lounge seating (casual meeting area), guest seating (manager offices), lounge seating (manager offices, executive offices, nursing room): Knoll
Seating (conference rooms, board room, nursing room rocking chair): Herman Miller
Open office, private offices task seating: Allsteel
Private offices guest seating, media room seating: KI Banquette seating (lobby, lunchroom): Quinze & Milan
Sofa (executive office): Modernica
Meeting and side table (casual meeting area): Tom Dixon
Executive offices table desks, reception areas side tables: Knoll
Mobile tables (media room): KI
Café tables (lunchroom, patio), community center lounge tables): Emeco
Side tables (lobby, casual meeting areas drop-leaf tables, board room conference table): Custom
Side table (nursing room): Harter
Coffee table (nursing room): Design Within Reach
Seating upholstery (private offices, media room, reception areas, executive office sofa upholstery): Maharam
Upholstery leather (board room, executive offices): Spinneybeck
Other furniture - mailroom cabinetry (mailroom): Hamilton Sorter