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Werkhaus Creative Loft Offices 

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Chicago, IL, United States

The Werkhaus - Creative Loft Offices project presented our design team with a unique opportunity to explore the transformation of an existing building while maintaining its current use as artist’s live/work space. The pre-war era, former armory had once undergone minor renovation to demise individual creative spaces. JGMA was challenged by the client to define the communal areas as a place for collaboration, idea sharing, and exhibition. Furthermore, the design team was tasked to clearly identify entry to the building without sacrificing the raw, industrial character which appeals to the current and future tenants. 

The design process began with a thorough analysis of the existing conditions including building proportions, entry procession, and building identity. Maintaining the entry locations, the team crafted a folded steel entry portal lined with intense green to attract the user’s eye from afar. Additionally, the folded steel provides a sheltering canopy over the entry and loading dock. This canopy is balanced with a simple folded bench, providing even more opportunity for chance meetings and collaboration. 

The interior design flows as the bright green entry portal draws you in and continues with a feature light leading you completely through the building. Budget constraints led the team to clearly define circulation space from gathering space using varying stain colors over the existing wood floors. Cove lighting and simple wood benches complete the gathering spaces by allowing opportunity for art exhibition and interdisciplinary collaboration throughout. 

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