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photo of South Lake Union Headquarters
Photo: Aaron Leitz

South Lake Union Headquarters

Seattle, Washington

South Lake Union Headquarters

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Kirsten R. Murray

For their Seattle offices, this international financial services company desired a site-specific space inspired by the history and context of Seattle. Because the workplace is frequented by both local and business-wide employees and customers, the design establishes the 38,000-square-foot space as an observation point for the city of Seattle.

Inspired by downtown Seattle and the Pike Place Market district visible just outside, the design is anchored by the “Town Hall” – a communal meeting and dining area that mixes uses in an open and versatile market-like space. Informal gathering areas, formal conference rooms and customer engagement areas are distributed across the office’s two floors, creating a sense of an urban environment within the workplace. Seattle’s cultural history of underground music clubs inspired the “Speakeasy” – a music and game room with art by local street artists. Throughout, unfinished concrete, built-in seating and plantings relate to the movement and color of Seattle’s iconic Freeway Park. A wellness room supports movement, individual meditation and prayer for staff.

The workplace is organized around a central core, offering natural daylight and views to all workers. A variety of flexible places for meetings and collective gathering are balanced with spaces for individuals to work quietly away from their desks. Throughout, reconfigurable furniture and non-prescriptive breakout areas allow users to easily transform the space depending on changing needs.

The design of this workplace draws on the context of downtown Seattle with its iconic Freeway Park, Pike Place Market District, and the local cultural history of underground music clubs that flourished in this area. The space acts as an observation point for the larger city. Kirsten R. Murray, FAIA

Team