Open More Doors is a section by ArchDaily and the MINI Clubman that takes you behind the scenes of the world’s most innovative offices through exciting video interviews and an exclusive photo gallery featuring each studio’s workspace.
This month, we talked with American architecture and urban design firm Studio Gang and how their Chicago office focuses on ecological biodiversity, collaborative multidisciplinary projects, and finding potential in historic structures.
In 1997, Studio Gang was founded by Jeanne Gang, and since then, it has evolved into a 100+ firm of architects, designers, artists, and writers across the United States. Before the team moved into their current Chicago office in 2015, Jeanne Gang asked the team to pin where they live, making sure that the new office location, which happened to remain in the same neighborhood, is convenient for everyone.
The new office replaced the former Polish National Alliance, a robust building that housed several services years ago. The firm chose to keep the shell structure and preserve its qualities but removed all partitions and walls, creating an open-floor plan with smaller individual desks, but larger collaborative spaces. The roof surrounding the office is covered with Prairie plantings and beehives not only for ecological biodiversity, but for research purposes as well.
The ecological framework plan of Studio Gang has encouraged them to think not only of the building and its inhabitants, but how this design approach can benefit the neighborhood as a whole. The attention to emotional and physical well-being is not only focused on clients, but implemented on the firm's employees as well with annual retreats and activities, and flexible summer hours.