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333 Wabash, Northern Trust
Chicago, IL
Shaping the culture shift
A feedback rich process saves time, money, and delivers flexibility.
Research-Driven Design
Working with the Northern Trust Corporation team HED led a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to the design of the space at 333 South Wabash, located just off Chicago’s famous Grant Park. Spread across 17 floors, totaling just under a half a million square feet, the company decided to first build out a prototype of the new design ideas within the space to test them in action. HED’s research-driven process began with an assessment of workplace strategy and current portfolio usage, intensive weekly pre- and post-occupancy surveys, walkthroughs, open houses, verbal feedback and huddle sessions. This feedback rich prototype testing process ultimately allowed the project team to demonstrate available solutions to compare cost, look and feel, functionality, and to work out constructability kinks.

The new office space supports major culture shifts within the company through a reallocation of square footage toward more common and shared spaces, along with high tech spaces to accommodate the infusion of significant technology systems in operations. The office features “touchdown” and community areas, social hubs and lounge spaces, teaming spaces for longer work sessions, and paired programming. Movable desks, walls and power sources all add to increased flexibility and agility, and screens are height-adjustable to accommodate both privacy and transparency goals established by the company. In addition, the entire space follows a “free address” work model, allowing collaborators to cluster at various points in time, for various projects, and within various working styles. All these decisions underpin the importance of the ‘human element’ in defining the experience of the space, driving the work and social culture to support the desired organizational culture shift.
Introducing new workplace strategies before moving into the new office allows change management to happen sooner and more seamlessly.
By testing strategy and integrating A/V before finalizing design direction, we were able to streamline our process and resolve challenges while enabling partner agility—which translated to significant cost savings.
A critical aid in retention and recruitment, the new workplace is agile and innovative.
Architecture supports the culture shift with social spaces as the connectors/drivers.
Employees are encouraged to utilize conference rooms on other floors to promote movement and change of scenery.
This was the largest single construction project that Northern Trust has ever undertaken. The project has been delivered on time, on budget and to an exceptional quality.”
Martin Clarke
Global Head of Workplace Services
Northern Trust
A feedback rich process saves time, money, and delivers flexibility.
333 Wabash, Northern Trust
Chicago, IL
Shaping the culture shift