United Way of Southeastern Michigan

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Headquarters Relocation

Location
Detroit, Michigan

Size
47,000 GSF, 4360 M2

Services
Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Programming

Sustainable Programs
LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) (LEED-CI)-Silver

Awards
Honor Award -- Interiors, Best Use of Architectural Materials, Corporate Over 10,000 sf, Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)

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“The space accelerates our work and is fundamental to the future of our organization.”

—Michael Brennan, President and CEO, UWSEM

Description

Wishing to get back to its roots, United Way for Southeastern Michigan seized a relocation opportunity as occasion to strengthen its commitment to bettering downtown Detroit. SmithGroupJJR responded to United Way's vision with a plan to move the headquarters into the historic First National Building, adapting the 1930s environment into a fresh workplace for its employees.

With evolving work styles and increased activity outside of the office, UWSEM was ready for a program that de-emphasized the use of permanently assigned workstations. The planning approach incorporates a “free-address” concept, reducing the number of assigned workstations and allowing staffers to choose where to work. Traditional workspaces were reduced in size by as much as 30-percent while an array of interactive work environments facilitate collaboration, informal meetings and team-based work activities. Not only did these approaches impact the non-profit’s workplace culture, these strategies consolidated their space by more than half—adding to operational savings of $300,000 a year.

Now complete, the headquarters—containing zero enclosed offices—establishes a new model for corporate headquarters, one that the client greatly praises.

Related Content

Workplace of the Future: United Way
United Way of SE Michigan CEO Michael Brennan shares his thoughts in SmithGroupJJR's Workplace of the Future video

UWSEM HQ Profile
Arch Daily profiles the United Way Southeastern Michigan Headquarters

Bilt to the Hilt
AIA Detroit Award Winners