According to Gallup, U.S. full-time workers spend an average of 48.7 hours at work each week. For the team members who work at R.E. Crawford Construction headquarters in Sarasota, Florida, those 48+ hours are now spent in a workplace connected with light, with the outdoors, and with fellow members of the team.
R.E. Crawford Construction LLC, founded in 2005, has expanded its reach to 40 states, and needed to trade in its disjointed leased offices for a building tailored to Crawford’s fast-paced, detail-filled workflow. Thanks to an architectural design that includes a strategic configuration of exterior and interior glasswork, the company’s home office crew of 20 can now see at a glance if any team member is in the shop. He or she also can view the adjacent nature preserve—with its array of plants, birds, and a frequently-seen bobcat—from virtually any spot in the office.
The chosen 1.5-acre site on 6650 Professional Parkway required a north-facing rectangular footprint to best leverage the space, to allow the two tenant spaces needed to secure financing, and to maximize the building’s visibility from I-75.
The architectural design team worked with company co-owners Jeff and Utahna Smith to add interest and functionality to that rectangular footprint—turning it into a comfortable and collaborative workplace that has noticeably improved staff communication and company workflow.
The design employs an asymmetrical series of glass and aluminum storefronts with pent roofs, the tallest one serving as the building’s main entrance. The pitch of the roofs provides space for north-facing clerestory windows that add indirect daylight without the glare and heat gain of traditional skylights. This pent roof design is even echoed on the matching storage building out back; the roofs all face south to accommodate future solar PVs.
The R.E. Crawford Construction team enjoys using creative, value-added materials in the buildings they construct. For the company’s 5,400 SF offices, innovative materials include a central workstation corral handcrafted from stained and coated particle board with metal detailing. Made-to-fit shelves were fashioned out of aluminum diamond plate sheeting. Doors to the executive offices and conference room were rescued from a demolition project. The DIY pièce de résistance is in the entrance lobby, a back-lit custom-built tower filled with thousands of colorful glass marbles.
After investigating ways to dampen the acoustics in this semi-open work environment, the team opted for cedar plank ceilings throughout the much of building. The louvered cedar boards serve triple duty: They provide acoustic mitigation, are insect resistant, and deliver a pleasing patina from the interior ceilings flowing out to the exterior roof ridges, blurring the distinction between indoors and outdoors.
Sited next to a tranquil nature preserve, the site design includes easy entrance/egress, ample proximate parking in both front and back, back main entrance for the southwest corner tenant, separate employee entrances, and a covered deck where staff can pause to relax, eat lunch, meet outdoors, and peruse the preserve for visiting bobcats.
This project earned a 2017 Grand Aurora Award for the Best Commercial Project under 20,000 SF.