by Terri Frink
On the top floors of the iconic Gold Building in downtown Hartford, Conn., sits the new headquarters of Virtus Investment Partners, a distinctive partnership of boutique investment managers with $101.7 billion in assets under management.
The new 65,000sf space offers spectacular views of the region, including the Connecticut River and the Travelers Tower. A look inside features an unmatched interior space in the state’s capital city that showcases Virtus as a solid, progressive and forward moving company.
Like many companies, Virtus’ previous workspace had become inefficient and outdated. Senior leadership wanted the new headquarters to facilitate an increase in employee interaction through more unobstructed floor space and natural light, without compromising the need for privacy.
Unlike today’s trend for increased open office space, Virtus places nearly 40% of employees in private offices due to the sensitive nature of the business. SLAM was challenged with providing a significant number of enclosed offices around the perimeter of the building, without losing the benefits of natural light.
A relocation to the iconic Gold Building, a 26-story Class A office tower with a distinctive gold-glass facade, rendered a balanced solution. The design team’s use of full-glass office fronts allows access to daylight and panoramic views for all employees, including those in the interior workstations.
This option bucked today’s ongoing trend of doing away with enclosed offices, understanding that one size does not fit all when designing a 21st century workspace. The underlying mission was to design a space that truly supports the way people work and the behaviors that are beneficial to the business.
From inception, senior management demonstrated strong leadership for this project. The dynamic collaboration between senior management, the SLAM design team, Gilbane Construction, and our end-user representatives resulted in a new paradigm for workplaces designed by SLAM. We forged a model partnership from the very beginning that served as the roadmap to success. Clearly defining the program requirements and understanding the vision of senior leadership is what shaped the modern, timeless interior design of Virtus’ new offices that incorporates classic materials and well-appointed technology.
Although not originally considered, SLAM introduced Virtus to the concept of a grand staircase. Not part of the program requirement, it was intended to serve as a centerpiece and vehicle to bring the Virtus community together. Agreeing to its benefits, Virtus supported construction of one of the most dramatic interior staircases in Hartford.
The stair connects the reception area on the 26th floor to a spacious, well-appointed café on the 25th floor. Bright and comfortable, the café provides employees a central space in which to engage and host both casual interactions and large communications sessions.
In Virtus’ new space, individuals can easily and visibly move throughout the space, which is facilitating increased collaboration and communication. In addition, an emphasis on employee wellness has shifted the culture to embrace sit to stand workstations for all staff, plus a quiet room was provided for employee “off-stage” privacy.
SLAM recognizes that each of our clients are under tremendous competition to retain and attract talent. The design solution for Virtus is a game changer that captures their brand, while offering a forward-looking perspective that meets their needs in today’s modern workplace. The design successfully communicates their brand and envisions their future, resulting is a workplace that provides the best possible employee experience.
Terri Frink, IIDA, is a principal at The S/L/A/M Collaborative.