As the project team members observed the rapid shift to WFH during the COVID-19 pandemic, they also realized, “In order for workplaces to thrive now, they must make the transition between working from home and going to the office seamless and cohesive,” says Rockwell Group’s Richard Chandler, an associate principal and studio leader at the New York–based firm.
Reflecting how work and life activities have blurred during WFH, for example, recreational components flow easily into a variety of work environments: a large conference area, an open conference breakout space that includes library and elevated seating, meeting rooms that can be reconfigured for film screenings and events, and acoustically dampened huddle rooms. Chandler notes that, during the pandemic, “workplace teams [have become] more fluid and organic—allowing employees to come together to work collaboratively and then separate into small groups or focus on individual tasks.” The diversity of work areas, as well as the inherent flexibility of each, supports this emerging behavior.
Fisher Brothers opened Avenue of the Americas in 1969, and Rockwell Group–specified oak paneling, metal mesh curtains, sculptural chairs, and other elements are in homage to the building’s original midcentury design by Emery Roth & Sons. Rockwell Group also manifested the wellness and biophilia trends that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably by anchoring with the largest terrarium in the northeast United States, which was created by the AD100 landscape architecture firm Hollander Design. Because “a true amenity offering today has to exist in both physical and digital planes,” as Fisher puts it, tech connectivity is embedded throughout and a proprietary app supports uses ranging from touchless entry to conference booking.
Tenants of Avenue of the Americas have exclusive access to fitness center, and café, whereas the conference center and meeting rooms can be booked by anyone. (As of now, only tenants had pre-booking privileges.) Fisher says there are plans to roll out to other Fisher Brothers buildings. Ease Hospitality is also considering providing third-party services to other commercial landlords. In other words, this concept could just be spread far and wide.