Perkins&Will designed a bright, multi-functional space that emphasized the importance of building community for International Leadership of Texas.
International Leadership of Texas, (ILTexas), is one of the fastest-growing charter networks in the country. This free public charter school serves more than 21,000 students on 21 campuses in Dallas, Houston, College Station and Cleveland. It relies on its DFW headquarters for central administrative support. ILTexas was looking for a cohesion-promoting office and moved its headquarters to Richardson’s four-story building measuring 60,000 square feet. It also hired Perkins&Will’s Dallas studio to design the interior. The team designed a multi-functional, light-filled space that promotes community.
ILTexas’ motto is “Others Before Self”, but in order to be selfless, one must have a basic level of support. Perkins&Will transformed the first floor of the office into an adaptive, communal space that is both amenity-rich and adaptable to meet the changing needs of employees and company-wide.
After reception, one can enter the large community area. It is ideal for anything from holiday parties to team lunches. This general-use breakout area, which includes an IT genius bar and office’s main breakroom–and focus rooms–is open to all types of work and encourages spontaneity. The professional development area is enclosed on the same floor and has sound control folding partitions that can be used to divide the space to host any size event, including town halls or online teacher-training sessions.
The ILTexas team required offices that encouraged strong inter-sector communications to best manage the state’s dynamic community. Perkins&Will designed open workstations near the windows to encourage coordination and transparency. Natural light can flow through the space into the centrally glass-partitioned offices. The project team faced the challenge of arranging the 12 departments of ILTexas. They also had to physically integrate the school’s motto into their headquarters.
The design team supported network-wide communication requirements by enabling ILTexas create its own audio and video assets. A studio was equipped for recording voiceovers or address from leaders.
The new ILTexas headquarters emphasizes connection and wellbeing. The brand is strong. In a gesture to ILTexas’s proud affiliation with Texas A&M University (TAMU), the design team unified space by using a maroon color scheme, accent carpeting in the university’s customized shade, and incorporating a maroon colour palette. Wellness rooms, as well as the Perkins&Will focus on safe and sustainable materials selections that include biophilic elements, promote the continued well-being for those who support the leaders of the future.
In the planning process, the ILTexas Csuite and department heads were involved. It was crucial that each department had sufficient heads down workspace and collaborative hubs.
The office space was directly influenced by the input of current employees. Participation in programming and visioning sessions, as well as employee surveys, led to a curated environment that is tailored to International Leadership of Texas.
The unique recording and video studio was an element that the designers were able to integrate into the space. To be functional and acoustically sound, the studio needed partitions, observation windows, as well as entry doors. Additional elements include green screen systems, custom lighting controls and a separate podcast recording room.
Project Details & Products
The new ILTexas headquarters places emphasis on connection and wellness. Perkins&Will’s focus on safe and sustainable materials, including biophilic components, promote the well-being and wellbeing of all those who support the leaders of tomorrow. The workspace was energized by equal access to sunlight and sit-to-stand workstations.
The brand presence is evident throughout the space. The design team unified this space in a gesture of ILTexas’s proud affiliation to Texas A&M University. They used a maroon color scheme, with accent carpeting in the university’s customized shade.
The most distinctive feature of the space is the community floor. The space features a variety of work and lounge areas that encourage interaction between parents, faculty, and the ILTexas leadership. The vibrant graphic wall patterns and strong maroon accents create a lively brand presence.
Overall Project Results
Although it was a welcome change, the transition from a static, partitioned workspace to an open, sitting to stand benching solution presented some challenges. The space was designed to allow for more acoustic solutions and breakout areas. Enclosed rooms were also created for private conversations.
Integration of digital room reservation systems has made it easier to use collaborative and open spaces for employees. The space provides multiple opportunities for employees and allows them to form smaller groups to collaborate. This has helped to increase the interconnectedness between departments.
It is remarkable to see how often the community floor is used in post-pandemic environments. Employees can use the collaborative lounge spaces as a place to relax and a retreat. Employees love to meet up to share their spaces.