Architects: Desai Chia Architecture
- Area: 18000 ft²
- Year: 2015
- Code Consultant:: R.I.P. NY
- Architect In Charge: Desai Chia Architecture
- Design Team: Katherine Chia, Arjun Desai, Kenneth Mitchell, Katsuya Arai
- City: New York
- Country: United States
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located in a loft-style, 3 story former school building in the MeatPacking District of Manhattan near the Highline; the building was built in 1901. The office occupies a large portion of the first and second floors. Ceilings height on the ground floor: 14'-9". On the second floor the ceiling height is 13'-4".
The building was originally a printing factory when it was first built in 1901. We renovated two floors for the Betaworks office including a ground floor space which acts as the main 'front door' with a private sidewalk entrance.
Betaworks is a thriving tech incubator company that nutures a wide range of creative tech start ups. The company had grown rapidly in just 3 years and was busting at the seams. They had grown organically, adding desks and conference rooms on an as-needed basis wherever space allowed, but they never had the luxury of stepping back and developing a master plan for the company that allowed for the physical expression of their brand.
When we first visited their old space on the 2nd floor of the building, we walked into a vibrant but disjointed collection of work areas & knew immediately that we needed to hone in on the flow of work groups and design a support system for a range of social activities-- creative lounge areas, ad-hoc brainstorming sessions, break out spaces for relaxing, and TED-talk type events.
Betaworks is actually an incubator tech company that literally builds other tech companies (like Giphy, Instapaper, Digg, and dots); but they are more than just an incubator umbrella for other start ups-- they provide seed money but also play a strong advisory role in the companies they support: they consider themselves an inexplicable hybrid of startup studio and accelerator, led by John Borthwick. At any given time 10-15 start up companies are housed at Betaworks and the Betaworks executive team merges in and out of each company's work area to help them envision and grow. Betaworks is the mothership and the start ups are the young companies being nurtured until they are large enough to move out and go it alone.