When Southwest Airlines wanted to refresh its 3,500-person corporate headquarters in Dallas, they were looking to address a now common goal: to replace the segregated, hierarchical corporate style of the past with an open, collaborative workplace that better reflects how Southwest operates. But what makes Southwest different is they literally brought personal style into the process.
The company looked to Structure Tone Southwest to build out that employee-centric vision in which collaborative spaces included breakrooms known as “culture centers.” Each department designed its own culture center based on a theme chosen by the employees, ranging from coffee, to musical instruments, to Halloween. The spaces are meant to directly reflect the people who work there and the people-centered culture the company embraces. Other spaces throughout the office feature thank-you letters from customers, a listening center for the social media team to respond to customers and an archive room where the company keeps its memorabilia, complete with museum-quality air control and fire suppression systems.
With the building’s sheer size of 800,000 square feet, our team organized the renovation into 22 phases of work over four years. The completely new design involved mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades as well as renovating 64 restrooms as early as possible to accommodate staff as they moved to and from temporary workspaces.
We also implemented a stringent QA/QC plan, significantly reducing the quantity of punchlist items, and saved money and time by providing alternate solutions to some of the design features involving long-lead materials. One example was offering an alternate design for the large-radius light cove. We were able to provide the design intent at half of the original cost.