During a renovation and expansion project for Okland Construction, WRNS Studio prioritized features where the company could display its dexterity with concrete.

A workplace renovation can provide a unique opportunity for a company to reaffirm its core values by baking them into the design scheme. For the owners of Okland Construction, a century-old family-owned business with roots in shipbuilding, rehabilitating and expanding its Salt Lake City office was a way to display not only a commitment to the well-being of its employees and the environment, but also to its artistry. Its revamped headquarters, designed by WRNS Studio using LEED, Living Building Challenge, and WELL guidelines, pairs generous glazing with a full-bodied expression of wood and concrete, creating a robust sense of place that had previously been lacking.

The 46,000-square-foot project nearly doubles the size of Okland’s original redbrick edifice, a squat, closed-off building that suffered from poor interior circulation. Unlike its predecessor, the new incarnation is free from barriers to the outdoors, allowing occupants to be more connected to the surrounding landscape.

According to WRNS Studio founding partner Bryan Shiles, the addition’s stacked, rectilinear composition was informed by the need to incorporate exterior spaces. At the ground floor, a courtyard nestled between the two structures knits them together. On the second level—which cantilevers over a xeriscape of native plants that extends from the building to the street—a terrace offers more space for respite.

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