Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Community Transit of Snohomish County

Transformed HQ Leads to a Thriving Community

Community Transit of Snohomish County is an innovative transportation leader in the Puget Sound region. Their rapidly expanding services and forward-thinking culture required a larger and more dynamic headquarters, and to that end our interiors team partnered with OTAK Architecture on this project. This collaborative undertaking represents the essence of sustainability, in that after many scenarios of new development were explored, ultimately the organization decided to repurpose an under-utilized and neglected industrial property. Community Transit is deeply committed to the well-being of its people. So much so, that the four design pillars for this project were borne from futurecasting the sensations employees would be feeling in their forthcoming new office, each pillar starting with the words, “I am”. “I am valued”, “I am learning”, “I am caring”, and “I am well”. These pillars can be discerned through many unexpected design features. The importance of civic engagement is demonstrated by Community Transit’s contribution of a large chamber within the new headquarters that is dedicated to the Everett City Council for their monthly community meetings. It includes state-of-the-art technology and security, a custom board dais in which all members have an individual microphone, a custom podium for the public to address the Counsel, and seating for over 60 people. The new workplace for the employees of Community Transit is not just a beautiful vision, though it is that. It’s also proving itself to be a place that employees can be proud to take a family member through. It’s a place where they feel valued and heard, and where they can realize a sense of belonging.

...
Washington
  • 2 stories
  • 70,000 sq. ft.
  • Completed in 2022
PROGRAM

Workplace Interiors

PROJECT CONTACT

Interiors: Michael Stueve


Interior Story

Skylights, Space & a Sense of Belonging

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

Architecture Photo of Community Transit of Snohomish County

Ⓒ Aaron Locke

As a transportation leader in the Puget Sound area, Community Transit is fast growing and serves an increasingly wider public with their multiple services. With this growth, the progressive and pioneering transit authority needed larger and more modern headquarters. Rather than dive into a new development, the organization decided to repurpose a neglected and soulless industrial property near the airport. The area that the building is located is devoid of foot traffic, restaurants, or scenic destinations. Our interiors team partnered with OTAK Architecture to transform this neglected tilt-up concrete building into a light-filled hub of collaboration and amenities for its occupants. With low ceilings, minimal daylight, and little character to speak of, most would view this building as a teardown. With only a few redeemable elements, the design team set off with a mission: To make the employees the heart of this building. Their current environment forced employees to take lunch off campus and work in isolation. Employees were skeptical that this building could be transformed into a vibrant work environment. Field workers, bus drivers, and office employees would be colliding within the new headquarters, so the designers placed significant emphasis on multi-purpose collaboration zones, a variety of lunch spaces, a mix of open and private work environments, lots of natural daylight, and even a stadium stair to host all office gatherings. In the end employees’ hearts were changed when they saw the extraordinary transformation. During a deep dive into Community Transit’s culture, goals, and needs, four design pillars for this project arose. Each pillar starting with the words, “I am” to represent the future sensations employees would experience here. “I am valued”, “I am learning”, “I am caring”, and “I am well”. These pillars are realized with design features such as a Lifetime Learning Library with scheduled lectures, an all-teams gathering stadium with a stage for impromptu performances, and an indoor/outdoor wellness & fitness center. There is also an outdoor terrace for employee hosted BBQ’s and events, and even the regional City Council chambers have a home here to provide an opportunity for civic engagement. With an eye towards employees’ well-being an interior walking track is incorporated along the corridors that are central to the atrium. Literally opening the heart of the building by cutting through the first and second floors to create the atrium, the result is a surprising contrast to the dark, neglected building it had been previously. A vast open space with clear views, an abundance of natural daylight streams in through the skylight above. Built-in planters are placed all around, the greenery ensuring a lush and living space. In the center of that space is a large stair, a culmination for gathering with stadium seating. Off to the side are elevators tucked away, made accessible, though not prominent, to encourage stair use. We collaborated with a furniture dealer to create comfortable designs that welcome the employees and visitors of the transit hub. A variety of seating styles abound, accessible to all. Brightly colored couches, privacy booths, and chairs and tables to arrange for impromptu meetings or coffee breaks. There is a multitude of gathering areas that they didn’t even know they needed, bringing folks together for meetings or meals, resulting in a collaborative community teeming with activity. This was a challenging project, one that has opened hearts and stimulated conversations. The foundational “I am” design pillars proved to promote wellness and belonging. It has us rethinking how we frame those conversations, and how we present our own work. We’ve helped Community Transit re-envision invaluable spaces as valuable, and through the design ushered in a new era where employees are empowered to realize they deserve a beautiful place, to be proud of and excited to come to.

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