Degenkolb Engineers Oakland Headquarters
A structural engineering firm that is both a trusted design partner and valued previous client, Degenkolb Engineers looked forward to bringing their team together in a new space. Yet rather than return to its existing Oakland office, the firm wanted to welcome Bay Area employees back to a more uplifting environment. It selected a new location just a few blocks away in historic Old Oakland, then turned to SmithGroup to create a space that would delight and inspire its staff.
It achieves Degenkolb’s desire for a more engaging, interactive workplace, while also respecting the importance of acoustics, ergonomics and privacy in the firm’s work. Designed for longevity with durable, sustainable materials and a timeless aesthetic, the Oakland office sets a new standard for the Degenkolb hybrid workplace.
The entry establishes a lively tone and gesture of affection to its downtown Oakland location. An elevator opens into a reception area with a reclaimed wood wall, north-facing views out to the urban streetscape and a colorful mural—painted by an employee—that celebrates Oakland landmarks and cultural attributes. Operable walls on the adjacent café and conference room can be retracted to create a large space for meetings and social events.
Throughout the workplace, acoustic elements act as integral design features on walls and ceilings. Wool felt triangles and pyramids, evocative of the firm’s logo, soften acoustics and create interesting textures and shadows that subtly activate the space.