To better understand an Owner’s future workplace, we recently hosted an engagement workshop with the KPFF Louisville team who is planning their new office in downtown Louisville.

KPFF is a national structural engineering firm that partners with the world’s most thoughtful and creative design professionals to design and build extraordinary places and things. In 2022, the firm experienced substantial growth, which brought the need for a new office space design. Therefore, when it came time to discuss a new space, they knew they wanted to start with a firm who would listen to them, challenge them, and keep their best interests in mind. In essence, they wanted somebody they could trust.

“Our current office space was fractured, disjointed, and needed to be reimagined to reflect who we are and what we believe,” said Principal Greg Buccola. “We have a very collaborative and family-like culture, so it was important to hear from our team about what they seek in their ‘home away from home’ in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

The Process
Through a day-long working session, we led KPFF employees through a series of exercises aimed at producing a better understanding of what they want to see and experience in their future office. The meeting was led with visuals by Graduate Interior Designer Liam Keesling and me. We asked a series of leading questions, gathered answers, and listened intently for emerging themes. Through the discussion, many “a-ha” moments were uncovered that proved valuable in the design process. Buccola opted not to attend to offer a neutral environment where team members were free to share their thoughts openly and candidly. The office manager in charge of people, Megan Carr, was one of nine people in attendance.

“My role was to bring everyone together to hear opinions and reach a common consensus,” Carr said. “We’re really happy with where we are, and I know everything is going to look amazing and be a true reflection of who we are as a company when it’s done.”

The Benefits
While there are many benefits to hosting an engagement workshop, the simple opportunity for team members to communicate openly through the sharing of ideas and perspectives is oftentimes the most significant. Everyone was candid but also respectful and professional.

Throughout the workshop, we heard what is working, what is not, and what can be improved. The exercise truly helped us discover not only what team members want in their new space, but how we could better collaborate to deliver an office that is deliberate, thoughtful, and a true reflection of what they want and what will serve their clients best.

“Because of the engagement workshop, the team really felt like it was time well spent and it validated our inclusive mindset,” Buccola explained. “We strive to be authentic, and we believe our employees should be the center of attention, so to work with a firm who understands this has been a very seamless and enjoyable process.”

Coming Soon
As a result of the engagement workshop, we developed original concepts based on what we heard, and we are focusing on designs to incorporate lighting control, air quality, and acoustics. We also had the opportunity to collaborate with Rachel D. Worley from Three Dot Design on the interior design and furniture elements. Construction will start in June with a projected completion date of this fall. Great progress is underway, and we are eager to watch everything unfold.

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