To design an office that amplifies TNC’s purpose, Whitney used earthy accents and natural elements throughout the space. According to Illinois Deputy Director Georgie Geraghty, “The juxtaposition of hip features such as the cement floors and cool furnishings conveys a feeling of being cutting edge while focusing on conservation.” To that end, the entryway features a reception desk paneled in two converging, beveled ash slabs that were harvested to prevent the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.
TNC walks the walk when it comes to their sustainability mission. The organization’s new offices showcase state-of-the art environmental design in HVAC, electric, hardware, and materials. Low-flow sinks highlight the water-efficient plumbing, breakrooms include composting pails, and electric hand dryers reduce waste. Carpets made from recycled nylon along with a renewable cork wallcovering limit resource consumption. And the work café features a farm-style table made from reclaimed barn wood.
To give everyone access to natural light and create a more open, airy layout, Whitney placed medium-height workspaces off the window-rich perimeter. This allows for views of the Chicago River emptying into Lake Michigan on one side, and vibrant wall hangings of nature scenes on the other. The building’s unusual trapezoidal footprint features one acute corner. Meeting and work areas converge toward this point on a scale from formal to casual. Says Geraghty, “I especially like the range of options for working. My favorite is the collaboration space with a fantastic view, a comfy sofa, and ample workspace for teams.”