Project Team: Alexander Jermyn, Sarah Ebner, Jonathan Cotté
Architect: Alexander Jermyn Architecture
Consulting Engineer: ARUP
Contractor: Merged Builders
Photography: Chris Stark Photography and Wework
WeWork is one of the largest co-working providers in the United States. With over 69 locations in 21 cities, it targets growing business communities in the technology and professional sector. Anticipating growth in the East Bay, WeWork secured a lease for 40,000 SF in Berkeley adjacent to the UC Campus.
Our firm was hired to adapt their design model to the building context, navigate the permit process, and manage construction administration – all within 5 months. The project team was principally based in New York, so online collaboration was indispensable. To ensure design consistency through construction, WeWork selected a New York based general contractor to manage the project. Consequently, much of the labor and materials originated from New York and were shipped to California. This type of outsourcing did not come without its challenges. Close coordination between
the design team and the builders was essential as the construction crews were not familiar with local codes.
The 40,000 SF renovation involved work on all seven stories of an existing building. The project provides a new entry from the street, expansive views to the Bay, a diverse mix of glass walled offices, vibrantly colored conference rooms and lively commons spaces for networking, eating and drinking. Community is the catalyst that drives the layout of the shared spaces. Offices house between one and 15 occupants depending on the size of the company. The use of transparent walls mitigates the compactness of the work space, while the generous communal spaces invite members to convene, work and socialize. To revitalize the exterior, WeWork commissioned artist Jason Woodside to paint murals on two of the facades. New full-height glazing and a ramp at the entry provide aluminous, inviting lobby for the WeWorkers and their guests.