Text description provided by the architects. The site for this project was within an abandoned warehouse that fills a city block. This allowed the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency to occupy a single building for the first time in many years. The original 1908 building formed a solid, five-story masonry mass with little light - a perforated box filled with a gridwork of heavy timber and quartered by cruciform masonry walls.
The first act of architecture was one of distinction: preserving and restoring the historic warehouse. Against this neutral ground of workspace, a five-story concrete building rises within the cleared center of the block. This new construction concentrates seismic forces, daylight, and collective activity into a single room—a building of pure space, not form; with no elevations, no distant views, no front or back—it is embedded architecture.
Emerging from the street you arrive deep within the building in a space filled with light, activity, and energy. The heart of the city block has been taken apart and reassembled to accommodate concerts and events amid the hum of the workplace. A building that appears divided by the juxtaposition of old and new, by the layering of light and structure, it is woven together again by two totemic columns holding walkways that radiate through the center space. From above, light filters into the heart of the space, reflected and diffused by the timber structure of the enclosing penthouse.
The building is one of inversion, continually collapsing upon itself, from exterior to interior and exterior again, from public to private then public once more. At its center is a single room, a transparent mass that seems to expand infinitely beyond its concrete boundaries.