MetaCommunications, a workflow and automation software company in Iowa City, Iowa, wanted an updated work environment to retain and recruit a talented, creative workforce. The company was torn between two prospective locations: an office suite in the upscale suburb Coralville; or in a newly constructed mixed-use building on a main pedestrian way in downtown Iowa City. The Coralville location was monetarily more feasible, yet the downtown location was more attractive to soon-to-be graduates from the nearby University of Iowa. MetaCommunications raised the necessary additional funds and moved into a three-story space downtown, located on the second-through-fourth floors of the 14-story, glass-enclosed Park@201 building. OPN Architects was hired to complete the build-out for all three MetaCommunications floors. Continuing the theme of simplistic design and the clean lines of the exterior, MetaCommunications and OPN Architects opted for a no-frills, industrial aesthetic. An open, flexible office space promotes a collaborative work style on the second and third floors; the fourth floor work spaces are divided by fogged-glass partitions to offer privacy. All floors are enclosed in glass exterior walls with remote-controlled sun shades. Polished concrete floors ground the space.
Teaming rooms with solid doors allow employees to work in private or convene as small groups, and a conference room with a retractable glass wall on the fourth floor provides space for larger meetings. OPN installed interactive screens outside each of these spaces to display the schedules. Management offices are located on the third and fourth floors. Kitchenettes on the second and fourth floors provide amenities to the employees, such as a self-serve espresso machine and fair-trade chocolates. A custom-made bike rack and art were later added to the space.
The company works across two locations: Iowa City and St. Petersburg, Russia. As such, the employees operate in shifts on a 24-hour work cycle. Lighting was important to keep productivity high at all times. In addition to creating a conducive work environment, the lights shine brighter than any others in the building, giving the three MetaCommunications floors a strong presence at night.