The American Red Cross is a lifeline for hundreds of millions –built to support humanity. When disasters or emergencies strike, they are there to combat human suffering through the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
1510 North Meridian Street | Indianapolis, in
Square Footage: 23,400
Employee Count: 79
Year of Buildout: 2016
General Contractor: Hagerman Construction
Architect / Interiors: CSO Architects, Indianapolis and Perkins+Will, Chicago
How does your space drive productivity, collaboration and connectivity?
The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross’ building sits on 15th and Meridian, serving as a vital resource for the community. Natural light pours in through massive windows and pendant light fixtures. Walking into the Red Cross’ new region headquarters can feel like entering into an office of the future. The new Indiana headquarters of the Red Cross was resized from 100,000 square feet in their previous building to just over 20,000 square feet in their newly completed headquarters. The design for the new headquarters focused on productivity, efficiency, and collaboration. The reduced footprint and efficient use of space allows the Red Cross to commit more resources to their primary mission of helping and organizing in emergency situations. Flexible training rooms, a community center, teaming areas, local office spaces, and huddle spaces encapsulate the programs within the headquarters, creating an environment where employees and volunteers feel energized and accommodated. Strategies behind the design included removing office suites and positioning the staff in an open office environment to promote interaction and collaboration between different groups. A rooftop terrace creates a respite and wellness destination with a view of the downtown skyline. The building is extremely sustainable, with the exterior wrapped in red brick, seamlessly blending in with the surrounding architectural aesthetic and adding to the durability of the project.
The lack of walls or other physical barriers makes it easier for employees to interact with each other on a regular basis, helping to drive productivity, collaboration and connectivity. Interactions in an open-plan office more frequent, the constant intermingling not only generates a sense of camaraderie among staff.
What is the one thing that is unforgettable when someone walks through your space?
Someone is immediately moved by the intentional concept of an egalitarian workspace where touches of history and contemporary elements merge to unite what makes the American Red Cross. In particular, the first floor of the three-level building is reminiscent of a gallery exhibit. A ceiling to floor wall of red, white and gray glass donor tiles are etched with names of donors who helped make the existence of the building possible. Around that same area, another wall of donors are displayed with carved out crosses that simply help to highlight the name along with a wooden framed showcase, also in the shape of a cross with elements of historical and contemporary artifacts that embody the Red Cross. All of the features are memorable treasures that tell the story of the American Red Cross, what it means to the community and where we are going.
The key, unforgettable quality of the Red Cross headquarters is natural light. The headquarters functions extremely well with low levels of artificial lighting complemented by a deluge of light brought in from outside. The abundance of natural light creates a warm and inviting environment for those that need assistance, training, or support, as well as staff and volunteers who occupy the space on a daily basis.
The exterior feature wall that immediately identifies the building is purposefully located on the east portion of the project facing Meridian Street, a main corridor to downtown Indianapolis. The primary entrance of the building is located on the northeast corner under the cantilevered second level which provides a clearly identified public entry location.
The northern portion of the building is dedicated to training rooms, open office, and public spaces in order to take advantage of controlled natural lighting, while also allowing visual access to the activity within the organization. The core areas, including the restrooms, storage, stairs, and elevator are located on the south portion of the project where limited glazing shields the Red Cross from a neighboring building in very close proximity to the new headquarters.
How does your space tell your company’s story and reflect its brand?
In addition to the exterior feature wall, an important focal point is incorporated into an interior corridor where historical Red Cross artifacts, local to Indianapolis, are prominently displayed. The iconic, ARC-branded “red” is carried throughout the space – especially the first floor – and integrated into areas such as the lobby, training room, retail space, and team spaces. The brand is also carried through areas of the headquarters facilitating the delivery of donations (blankets, bottles of water, etc.) and temporary spaces housing families who arrive on site if their home has experienced extreme damage. Uniquely, ARC made a very brand-conscious decision prior to the building being constructed when stakeholders decided to move the headquarters downtown to the center of the city. The original Indiana Region of the American Red Cross was on Meridian Street, and in reestablishing the headquarters at this locale, it weaves the organization back into the rich, urban fabric of Indianapolis.
How does your space engage your employee base?
Within the headquarters, common meeting areas and the open environment engage the staff – from the part-time employees, to the volunteers -- allowing employees to interact in a comfortable manner. Additional amenity areas such as the rooftop terrace emphasize the ARC’s commitment to wellness. The building as a whole represents the mission and service of the organization, while supporting the people who serve it.