Office Fronts Encourage Interaction, Ensure Privacy

1511pjdorma01p The law firm Cozen O’Connor set their sights on creating a new physical space that would not only accommodate their firm’s growth, but would also facilitate interaction and ensure privacy more effectively than their previous location.

When members of the law firm Cozen O’Connor decided to move their world headquarters of 31 years from 1900 Market Street to One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street in the center-city district of Philadelphia, they set their sights on creating a physical space that would not only accommodate their firm’s growth, but would also facilitate interaction and ensure privacy more effectively than their previous location.

Before moving into floors 21 through 28 of One Liberty Place, the firm had all eight-and-a-half floors demolished to the concrete so they could rebuild the workspace to meet their needs. In June 2015, the law firm opened for business at its new, nearly 200,000-sq.-ft. location.

Jerry Riesenbach, member, Cozen O’Connor, served as chair of the construction project. According to Riesenbach, as the firm grew at their former location, they adapted by using a hodgepodge of office elements, which resulted in closed-in, inefficient space. When the decision was made to move, they enlisted the help of Gensler, an architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco and with offices in Philadelphia.

“One thing that we wanted to do was reorganize our office layout so staff in individual departments could be together,” explained Riesenbach. “We wanted an open space, with plenty of light and air from outside.”

Riesenbach and the other members sought an atmosphere that would encourage communication and interaction within their firm. Among the design elements to help accomplish that were glass fronts on all offices.

With open space and clear lines of sight a priority, the office fronts became a key element in accomplishing the project’s functional and design goals. With open space and clear lines of sight a priority, the office fronts became a key element in accomplishing the project’s functional and design goals.

“We did something rather unique when deciding on manufacturers and vendors for the project,” Riesenbach said. “We had mockups built so we could test and compare the solutions. Our staff had an opportunity to share their likes and dislikes and be a part of the decision-making process.”

Besides aesthetic and functional considerations, Cozen O’Connor’s team also based its decision on how well the solutions would prevent distracting noise from carrying from one area to another. With complaints about lack of sound protection at their old office location, Riesenbach and his fellow members were conscious about eliminating that issue in their new space.

DORMA, Reamstown, PA, was chosen to provide the glass fronts and doors. Products used included interior PURE Enclose and Enclose Fusion office fronts, M9000 locksets, and DRS 120 sliding doors.

“DORMA was the only company with a door that has hinges at only the top and bottom,” said Riesenbach. “The doors’ unique design allows them to close tightly, making them a good fit because they prevent sound from escaping from the room.”

According to Shawn McCord, director of sales, DORMA interior division, the company’s glass, architectural hardware, and interior divisions worked together, and also worked directly with the partners of the law firm and Turner Construction, New York, to create a working space that accommodated the design objectives.

With open space and clear lines of sight a priority for the new offices, the office fronts became a key element in accomplishing the project goals. “Every floor has basically the same layout of offices, with only minor differences,” explained McCord. “The offices have a mixture of glass and wood or other solid-material doors.”

Glass fronts on all offices encourage communication and interaction within the firm. Glass fronts on all offices encourage communication and interaction within the firm.

DORMA’s PURE Enclose framed glass wall systems provide the aesthetic advantages of glass walls with full framing. The 1 3/4 ? 4 1/8-in. metal channels at the floor, ceiling, and walls effectively dampen sound transmission and add structural definition without impeding sightlines.

DORMA’s Fusion glass-wall design merges transparent glass walls with warm wood doors or other solid doors. It offers several possibilities for contemporary and traditional décors, and provides a clean, simple appearance, with no visible door-control hardware.

“To meet their sound protection needs, we built sound seals around the glass and wood doors to achieve the sound rating they desired,” explained McCord.

Each floor also has an installation of DRS 120 sliding-door hardware, which features a hollow-profiled aluminum track that is light, yet rugged, and resistant to dust and dirt because of its raised, convex shape.

The locksets are M9000 series Grade 1 heavy-duty mortise locksets that provide exceptional security, enhanced aesthetics, and dependability.

The law firm has discovered that the new open, inviting office space has made a world of difference in how everyone works and interacts.

“The design of the new location has given us a totally different office experience,” said Riesenbach. “With the glass-front offices, we can all see each other and the interior core areas of our office have line of sight to the outside. It’s much more welcoming for all.”

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