22 June 2018
22 June 2018
WRNS Studio, San Francisco: Critical, Diverse, Engaged.
The Culture of Practice
With a diverse portfolio ranging from small urban community centres in underserved neighbourhoods to new workplace campuses for today’s most transformative technology companies, WRNS is a process-oriented firm, approaching each new project as curious problem solvers, engaging in research, options analysis, and iteration.
With offices in San Francisco, New York and Honolulu, leaders and staff at all levels engage in the broader critical discourse of the industry, including the sustainable design movement. While they have a strong group of leaders within the firm, headed by partners and, under them, associates, they operate as a relatively flat organisation, with dispersed decision making among the leaders and individual teams.
This structure is reflected in an open plan office and the way they organise the bench seating and layout to support 4-8 person teams, with leaders interspersed with staff to avoid any kind of hierarchical seating. Despite the open plan, people understand certain signs – headphones, intense concentration on a set – and know not to interfere within someone’s focused work.
Located in South Park, with easy connections to amenities, transit, and other like-minded creatives, the firm’s proximity, both physical and visual (through the windows) to restaurants, coffee shops, a park, a baseball field, and other amenities means that it is highly common to have a meeting in South Park or for different people within the office to organise running or soccer nights within the neighbourhood.
WRNS operates a scholarship programme that awards every staff member and as¬sociate who has been there for more than one year with $1K and $3K respectively to engage in a trip, project, or line of inquiry that contributes to the culture within the firm. Social events include an annual picnic and numerous staff-generated spontaneous gatherings. They also have an informal mentoring and education programme called ‘WRNS-U’ that involves a quarterly staff-organised site visit and regular skill share events within the office.
“You would want to work with us if you have an incredibly strong work ethic informed by curiosity about what we do and connecting it to broader cultural, social, and environmental issues,” says Melinda Rosenberg, WRNS Studio Partner. “This is the kind of place where diligent, inquisitive, talented people are known to carve paths for themselves and have fun while doing it.”
Author: Kat Hall, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers