Offices of Ross Barney Architects

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program: Interior Office Renovation
Photography: © Hedrich Blessing, Steve Hall
Status: Complete, 2002

In 2002, Ross Barney + Jankowski moved into a century old warehouse in Chicago’s River North Gallery District. Formerly owned by Harry Weese, a world renowned Chicago architect, the building had been home to his practice since the 1960’s. RBJ retained many of the previous occupant’s improvements including the 3 story, sky lighted atrium and the angled stair connecting the 3rd and 4th floors, but revised the space to reflect the collaborative nature of our practice. It also has become a laboratory and proving ground for our ideas about productive workspace.

Office partitions, including those that enclosed Harry’s 5th floor personal office, were demolished allowing natural light to flood the entire space. RBJ installed new reconfigurable workstations that accommodate the need for a variety of team sizes and structures. A new stair connecting the 4th and 5th floors vertically unites the studio. The stair was constructed with grating treads to maximize day light penetration.

Reception is located on the 5th floor where clients are greeted by a series of fabric panels upon which the firm’s current work can be projected. The panels also hide back of house functions, such as kitchen and copying. From here, visitors circulate down into the studio.

Four collaborative work/conference spaces were created, where an active project can “live” without having to move on a daily basis. The largest one, on the 5th floor, is 19 feet x 60 feet and can be configured for use by several groups simultaneously. It is separated from the reception area by four 16 feet tall translucent sliding doors that stack to the sides combining the spaces when desired.