FFA Office Renovation and Expansion

Portland, Oregon

How do we reinvent our workplace to better meet FFA's own "Community Agreements" addressing equity, wellness, safety and collaboration?

Man works at large wooden table in the foreground. In the background, two people chat in a kitchen with bar seating.

Since FFA’s founding in 1956, the firm has called several buildings in downtown Portland home. The city’s fabric has always been part of FFA’s identity, and in 2007 we moved into the 9th floor of A.E. Doyle’s historic Pacific Building, across from Pioneer Courthouse.

Being in the heart of Portland’s city core surrounded by every manner of mass transit, retail, and restaurant continues to be a great fit for the firm’s employees, clients, and AEC colleagues.

In 2020, FFA had a choice to reconsider our location and our current space. We took this as an opportunity to expand our footprint and renovate our studio. This process allowed us to re-think ways of working: past, present, and future. We conducted all-staff charettes, evaluated design decisions through an equity lens, and incorporated timely discussions on hybrid and in-person dynamics. Out of this effort rose the project goals of wellness, safety, and collaboration.

The entire staff worked together to re-imagine how the space would best support the changes that have occurred in workplace design as well as in our own industry over the past 15 years – particularly since the 2020 Covid pandemic began. Employees collaborated in determining what types of spaces and furniture systems would best support their activities throughout the workday.

Year Completed:
13,600 sf

Project Contact:
Téjara Burt, WELL AP
Senior Associate, Market Lead

Woman leads meeting, pointing to notes on a dry erase wall while three people sit at a table watching and two people walk toward the space.Collaboration & Pin-up Space

Four people working in an office pod with large windows in the background.New workstations with adjustable desks

Three people stand at large marble table sketching.The studio is flooded with natural light from all sides.

two people stand at a desk in a small office with glass doors.Workstation and Private Office

Open collaboration zone

The increased square footage allowed for open workstations to be spread out widely along the East/West spine and provide more person-to-person physical separation.  Throughout the office, there are now multiple open collaboration and pin-up spaces as well as smaller break-out rooms which can be used for informal meetings or individual, focused work.  It also allowed us to provide equitable access to the ample natural light when we pulled the workstations away from the window walls to create added circulation for all staff to enjoy.

Two women review interior design samples at a table, while a third woman arranges more samples on a counter in the foreground.Interiors Layout Space

two people sit talking at a long table. To their right, three people chat across a counter in an open kitchen area.Kitchen and Break Room

The renovated space features an all-open studio workspace with new adjustable workstations and new special-use spaces at three key points on the floor – a new Interiors workspace, a new Kitchen and Break Area, and the traditional lobby and reception desk were replaced with an open lounge which offers soft-seating options, a worktable, counterspace, a sink, small refrigerator and a kegerator for Friday afternoon happy hours.

Expanding the office on the East has provided stunning views of downtown, the nearby Morrison Bridge and majestic Mount Hood in the distance.  The Break Area also accommodates all-office meals as well as educational opportunities from guest artists, designers and consultants.

Two people working together on a laptop at a wooden table while a woman walks past the windows behind them.Working Lounge

As good stewards of our environment, our approach to sustainability doesn’t just involve the new work we do. For this project, we recognized the fact that with the renovation would come the removal and disposal of almost a full floor of carpet tile. Rather than let that go into the landfill, we worked with our carpet vendor and their take-back program to divert that waste and recycle it into new material.