A Collaborative Workspace

Merit Network

Merit Network

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Our process-driven approach resulted in a warm and open workspace that supports collaboration. As a nonprofit in the technology field, Merit Network’s ways of working are always evolving, but one constant remains: teams need to be productive in a variety of work modes. In return, we created a series of flexible spaces that allow Merit’s staff to collaborate where and how they want, and to do their best work.

Before we started to design, we surveyed Merit’s staff to learn what was and wasn’t working about their previous space. We learned that Merit’s teams didn’t have right-size or property constructed places to work together effectively. Based on this feedback, we created a variety of meeting spaces, from two-person “phone booths” to a living room-style lounge, to a large, flexible training center. Today, Merit’s staff have a choice of workspaces for the task at hand.

A Collaborative Workspace
A photo of a woman leaving a conference room.

Focus Rooms

We heard from our survey that noise from conversations and videoconferences taking place in the open office was distracting to those nearby. In response, we provided several small, sound-isolated breakout spaces where staff can take private calls or collaborate in small groups away from their desks.

A photo of an office lobby.

Make Yourself at Home

Client leadership told us they wanted to enable a culture of warmth and welcome. In response, we provided comfortable seating around a fireplace in a lounging area that feels like home. A comfortable venue for solo work or group discussion, the “living room” is just one of the office’s many seating options.

A photo of office workers at dining tables.

A Natural Environment

We composed a materials palette that evokes Michigan’s rich natural resources. Warm woods and stone elements recall forests. Shades of blue and tan conjure the Great Lakes shoreline, and flooring and fabrics feature flowing prairie-like patterns. Copper accents nod to the state’s mining heritage.

A photo of office workers utilizing open office space.

Wellness Features

Our designers incorporated a number of elements that support whole-person wellness. Most open workstations are within sight of a window, with a circulation path along the main window wall. A wellness room provides an area of respite, and a shower room encourages staff to bike to work or take lunchtime walks.

More Projects From Our Portfolio