In a sea of corporate office buildings in downtown DC, 2020 K Street, NW, stands out—a glass-walled office that is so state-of-the-art, curious pedestrians stop to peer in. It’s the renovated DC home of Gensler, the international architecture and design giant, which recently re-opened in its altered state.
After 14 years on the second and fifth floors of 2020 K Street, the office, with 270 employees, was ready for an update. Lured by 14-foot ceilings and potentially 90 feet of window lines, DC principal and managing director Jordan Goldstein and his team persuaded their landlord to lease them the ground floor of the building—formerly home to two restaurants—to create a work place that would be interactive and open “with everything on display,” Goldstein says. “It was a great opportunity to think differently about a work space—could it be a retail space that’s been rethought?”
The new, 60,000-square-foot project encompasses the first, second and fifth floors. The building’s original granite façade has been replaced at ground level with a bank of windows, and a new, modern entry has been added. Inside, “there are very few closed-off areas,” Goldstein observes. Glassed-in rooms and informal gathering areas “make interaction possible,” while a Concept Fabrication Lab—for hands-on, non-digital design—is fully visible.
An open staircase leads to the second floor via a two-story atrium. The second floor houses an expansive resource library and a corridor with museum-quality walls and lighting that doubles as a gallery where architecture and design exhibits are staged by an in-house curator.
Eventually, the fifth floor spaces—home to design studios and meeting rooms—will move to the third and the atrium will extend three stories.
In Gensler’s new, modern offices, a blend of raw and refined materials creates a bold aesthetic. “Our goal is to showcase design innovation,” Goldstein says. “And to do it in a transparent way.”
RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE: JORDAN GOLDSTEIN, AIA, LEED AP, and Hansoo Kim, chief designer, Gensler, Washington, DC. CONTRACTOR: Rand Construction, Washington, DC.