The renovation of a neglected 1960’s food distribution center on the edge of downtown Minneapolis into a gleaming new headquarters for the creative innovators at KNOCK Inc. is both a fresh and welcomed presence on the underrated stretch of Glenwood Avenue just west of International Market Square. The project’s inventiveness lies in the sustainable transformation of a potential “tear down” structure into a high performance building.
Architects: Julie Snow Architects, Inc.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Design Principal: Matthew Kreilich, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager/Designer: Pauv Thouk
Project Team: Tamara Wibowo
Client: KNOCK Inc.
Project Area: 10,000 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Paul Crosby
KNOCK Inc., home to a branding, advertising and design firm, is based on a collaborative business model that brings together a diversity of design disciplines to serve their clients. Artistic and innovative thinking allowed us to re-envision, renovate, expand, and create a new KNOCK workspace that enhanced their collaborative work model, conveyed their unique brand and connected the building and interiors with Glenwood Avenue and the unique mix of residential and industrial building stock that surrounds the neighborhood. The renovated space and new addition create a 10,000 sqf work space and a distinguished new presence enlivening Glenwood Avenue.
Insulated walls, roofs and glazing replaced single pane glass units, non-insulated exterior walls and a failing roof. Natural daylight penetrates the space with expansive window openings, floor to ceiling glazed office walls and over 25 solar light tubes enhancing the work environment and reducing energy consumption. Healthy and local building materials were chosen such as reclaimed walnut for the main millwork pieces of the building and cedar siding for the additions at the front and back of the facility. Most of the existing structure is exposed, minimizing excessive ceiling materials and increasing the sense of openness.
KNOCK’s creative and collaborative business model sets out to redefine what it means to build a brand. Their office space was designed to support this idea and enhance teamwork and creative interaction by using gathering and collaborative spaces as the organizing elements of the design, rather than placing them in a peripheral, or secondary, relationship to the individual work spaces. A diversity of collaborative spaces was created throughout the office, including pin up walls in all work areas for spontaneous meetings, a focused critique space for small team meetings located in the heart of the office, a library stocked with the latest design-focused books and periodicals for smaller and quieter gatherings, and two large conference rooms for office and client meetings. The collective team culture is reinforced in the kitchen with a table designed for meetings, casual gatherings and lunches of twenty plus employees. A yoga room, exercise room and a game room provide additional non-traditional work areas. The work, the culture, and the workspace combine to convey the very unique creative product offered by KNOCK.