Great Workspaces: In Transition
Morris Adjmi Architects’ Lower Garden District offices are designed for flexibility and change
When Morris Adjmi Architects opened its New Orleans offices in August 2018, the staff were aware the pool house where they were working would be a temporary space. Originally from New Orleans, Adjmi has been based in New York City for more than 20 years. On the heels of finishing The Standard — the South Market condominium project in the Central Business District — he decided to open a satellite office in his home town. The award-winning firm has clients all over the country, with the New Orleans team currently working on projects in New Orleans, Tampa, Miami, Nashville, Memphis, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Palo Alto.
“We always collaborate with highly skilled and knowledgeable local partners so we get to familiarize ourselves with different markets around the country,” said New Orleans office director Ian Mills. “This arrangement also allows us to focus on design. We’re equally interested in the work we’re doing in New Orleans where we see an opportunity to combine a historically sensitive and contextual approach with the added knowledge of our lessons learned from around the country.”
The team has been in a state of transition, due to the initial move from New York to New Orleans and then from a pool house to the loft where they now work. The pool house was a 630-square-foot space renovated to accommodate the staff until the new space was leased in July of 2019.
“The actual move from New York City to New Orleans was a bit hectic as the initial renovation of the pool house was behind schedule, so I had to oversee that while working out of another space and managing my ongoing projects,” said Mills. “We renovated [the pool house] with the intention that it would eventually be converted back to residential use.”
Mills said he, Adjmi and the company’s lead interior designer, Lucy Garner worked out the plan for the pool house and he oversaw the construction, with Garner then directing the conversion back to residential use. The three also later renovated the loft space to fit the local team’s needs.
“We tried to have a light touch and keep most of the space open and partition free,” says Mills. “Like most New Orleans spaces, the ceilings are high and the windows are large so there was great interior light from the beginning. We have the major elements in place and we’re continuing to refine and fit out the space.”
For the loft, Mills says they also needed to create spaces for both 20-person meetings and two-person team discussions. The pool house connects to an outdoor space with a pool and large courtyard, with what Mills describes as having a secret garden feel to it, which they wanted to recreate in some way in the new space.
“We want our staff and clients alike to feel comfortable working, eating, and meeting in the space,” he says. “It was imperative to be able to have a connection to the exterior as we did in the pool house. The balconies on Jackson and Magazine [streets] provide this and we’re in the process of furnishing and planting them now.”
Mills said flexibility was the biggest challenge for the design but it was also the most essential aspect in both spaces to allow the firm to accommodate collaboration, transition and growth, adding that it was important to showcase the proportions of the rooms and the windows.
“The traces of the history of the building were something we wanted to showcase as it’s something that relates directly to our work,” he said. “We tried not to be too precious with the renovation but also make sure it all works well. We hope everyone that comes into the space feels comfortable visiting, discussing, working and collaborating.”
AT A GLANCE
Location | 1033 Jackson Ave. Suite 201
Date of Opening | July 2019
Size | 3,000 square feet
Number of Employees | 10
Person in Charge | Ian Mills, Director of New Orleans Office