10 July 2018
10 July 2018
Deborah Berke Partners, New York: Collaborative, Authentic, Creative.
The Culture of Practice
In 2005, when the woman-owned firm went from a Downtown loft aesthetic to its new light-filled premises on the 7th floor in the Flatiron neighborhood, it was a growing-up moment. “Being based in a beautiful urban space like Madison Square Park was really important to us,” says Stephen Brockman, Senior Principal at Deborah Berke Partners.
Then about eight years later, the firm occupied the 6th floor as well, which gave them a second chance to reconfigure the space. There are only two enclosed offices, one for Deborah and one for the business manager but essentially, it’s all open. The studio has a combination of open seating with break-out areas and enclosed conference and meeting rooms for privacy and focused work. “We are huge proponents of technology, but we don’t just want people sitting plugged in at their desks. We try to get people to engage with each other,” says Brockman, who joined the firm in 1997.
A regular design panel every Monday morning in the big open space that overlooks the park is a good way to jump-start the week and keep everyone engaged with what’s going on in the office. It becomes a place where staff can gather to talk about work, project delivery or more technical topics. “Our office is a laboratory, we try to not do what everyone else is doing,” says Brockman who leads the firm’s hospitality and multi-family housing group.
The practice hosts events for like-minded non-profits that can take advantage of the firm’s enviable location. They’ve also been holding semi-annual exhibitions since 1997. It’s a great way to support the artists they love and enrich the office environment. Beyond work, a recent group outing included going to see a film in which Deborah is mentioned that celebrates the architectural legacy of Columbus, Indiana.
“This firm is a serious place to work, but we strive to create an inclusive environment where every voice is heard,” says Brockman, whose unerring eye for space, structure, and fine details is a distinguishing hallmark of the firm’s holistic approach to design.
Author: Sung Yoon, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers