Venable by Alliance Architecture: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Large Law Office

PROJECT NAME Venable
LOCATION Washington
FIRM Alliance Architecture
SQ. FT. 300,000 SQF

Moving to a gleaming LEED Platinum palace in the booming East End, this 117-year-old law firm left behind the endless dreary silos of its former headquarters and embraced a cultural shift toward wellness and ergonomics. Sunlight penetrates offices with clear glass enclosures, every employee has a motorized standing desk, and the café opens onto a terrace complete with barbecue grills, a fire pit, a bar, and a boccie court.

Venable by Alliance Architecture in Washington. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Venable by Alliance Architecture in Washington. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The practice occupies 300,000 square feet, 80 percent of the base building. “That allowed us to streamline and choreograph the arrivals process,” principal Phil Olson says. From across the gray granite lobby, the law firm’s elegant stainless-steel logo beckons from an illuminated niche in a feature wall of limestone. In front of it, an aerodynamic red bench by Studio Massaud draws attention to glass doors through which an asymmetrical faceted reception desk is visible. From here, elevators whisk visitors up to a top-story conference center.

Venable by Alliance Architecture in Washington. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Above the staircase that connects the top two levels, Olson took advantage of the double-height volume to suspend a gleaming sculpture from the ceiling on long rods—a commission from an artist, Zachary Oxman. Near the stairs, treadmill workstations are popular spots for meetings. However, there are only six of these multitasking stations, so tardy lawyers might just have to sit.

Project Team: Sherry Banaei; Corinne Rico.

Venable by Alliance Architecture in Washington. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Venable by Alliance Architecture in Washington. Photography by Eric Laignel.

> See more from the December 2017 issue of Interior Design

> See all 2017 Best of Year winners and honorees

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