For Mathison | Mathison Architects (MMA), the use of a strong natural material as an inspirational design element in its own offices is a natural outgrowth of the firm’s philosophy of rigorous planning and creative design informed by a modern aesthetic and sustainable design principles. MMA often incorporates natural wood as an interior finish material and for its own work space explored how this natural material could create a tectonic dialogue with its historic context of a century-old brick and timber furniture factory.
The concept is a linear, open and flexible floor plan that allows for future staff expansion within a tall space with plentiful natural light and which demonstrates the firm’s modern design and attention to detail. New interior partitions are faced with clear vertical grain western red cedar (WRC) with a shiplap profile and horizontal reveal, providing visual warmth and a sophisticated texture within the existing open volume.
The design introduces the WRC at the front entry as a beautiful surface, and it continues into the space to enclose two smaller offices and a hidden server room. With large windows beyond, the wood surface is held back and glass encloses the front of the offices to allow natural light to penetrate each office. The lower wood ceilings at each office create an intimate scale but also serve to conceal a large air handler above. The shiplap reveal continues throughout the space – around corners and at transitions from wall to ceiling. All glass partitions within the wood surfaces are floor to ceiling, and the frosted glass includes voids that align with the shiplap reveals in a playful pattern. Sliding “barn” office doors clad in WRC feature recessed ceiling slots and concealed tracks.
The new wood surface adds a clean, modern furniture element that is custom fit to the space, resulting in a sculptural composition of natural materials offering restrained transparency, intentional simplicity, and warmth.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Architect of record:
Mathison | Mathison Architects
2100 sq ft