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Kiva Headquarters Client / Kiva Architecture Firm / STUDIOS Architecture

An on-going series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1% who are making pro bono service an integral part of design practice.

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nº2

DIALOGUE CLIENT / ARCHITECT

© PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE FEBRUARY 2013


An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nยบ2


An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

Project Kiva Headquarters Location San Francisco, California Date 2012 Client Kiva Client liaison Stacey Vice Architecture firm STUDIOS Architecture Architecture team Kristin Lacy, AIA; Andrew Clemenza Consultants Lundberg Design; John Whitmarsh Cost $800,000 Value of pro bono architecture services $61,100 (est.) Area 17,000 sq. ft. More info www.studios.com www.kiva.org

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nº2

Architect /

Client /

During a conversation with a neighbor who worked for Kiva, we learned that the organization was moving into a new office. At the time, Kiva was looking for an architect to renovate their open shell of a space into a new office. After mentioning STUDIOS’ pro bono program and our capacity to create a design, we scheduled an interview with Kiva to share some of the work we had already done through The 1% program. We learned more about Kiva’s project needs, confirmed their interests, and pitched the project at our monthly internal pro bono meeting. Recognizing the project as a great match to our pro bono focus on local projects within the areas of food, health, poverty, and education, our principals backed the project. Not only did this local project have a mission we care

One of the main reasons for Kiva to move offices was to get everybody back in one space. Our old space was split between four suites on two floors. Communication and collaboration between departments— critical to our dynamic operations—was difficult, and our ability to expand was impaired. In the new space, everyone is integrated into one open area on a single floor. The positive impact on operations is huge. During 2011 we doubled our staff from fortyfive employees to ninety without sacrificing our company character and culture. Having places where people can join together and intermingle is important to maintain the company culture. Moving into the new office has been an excellent experience; we can already see our potential as an organization growing because of it.

Kristin Lacy, AIA, Associate, STUDIOS Andrew Clemenza, Associate, STUDIOS

Stacey Vice, Office Manager, Kiva

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An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

about, it had high potential to be realized. We all felt strongly that Kiva was a perfect match for us. Their needs played to our strengths and they had the funding to see the project to completion. During the design process we conducted a series of vision sessions where ideas and inspiration images were shown to advance the discussion about materiality and work culture, in terms of transparent group work versus private work. Kiva is very passionate and opinionated about their collective nature, and wanted the new space to reflect their vision. We gave the entire staff a customized survey focused on their space requirements, with questions like: Who do you work with? What do you like in the space you have now? What do you hate in the space you have now? How much is your identity connected to the mission of the organization? With the information we gathered through the vision sessions and

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nº2

“We all felt stongly that Kiva was a perfect match for us, their needs played to our strengths, and they had the funding to see the project to completion.” — Kristin Lacy, AIA

“The design of the office is flexible and incorporates many of the essential aspects of our organization.” — Stacey Vice

Kristin and Andrew worked with us from the beginning to clarify our mission and goals for the project. Representatives from each department formed a committee to be a part of the vision sessions. The architects met with the committee every couple of weeks over a few months to discuss ideas. We have a very genuine—some might say quirky—staff who aren’t afraid to create ideas even if they were unrealistic, like the idea for a treehouse in the office. Kristin and Andrew wanted everybody to let their imagination go and reeled it in later, rather than trying to put things into little boxes at the start, which we appreciated. Innovations were made in all areas of the office to address our culture and budget needs. To create the two open conference rooms and passageway, the contractor had suggested a solid wall in Douglas fir that would have blocked the hallway from the staff. We wanted a softer feel, with the

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An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

“Moving into the new office has been an excellent experience; we can already see our potential as an organization growing.” — Stacey Vice

our interfacing with the staff, we came up with innovative, do-it-yourself implementations of what the organization wanted for their new home. One of the greatest benefits of involving staff in the process was building their sense of ownership. Not only did we connect them to the design process but we invited them to come physically build with us. It was a collaborative effort. As designers, it is always good to remember that the roles of “the architect” and “the occupant” can be blurred; we believe that the effort is evenly distributed between the two. Lundberg Design collaborated with us pro bono to transform the generic, closed layout into an open office. We created a central lounge in the heart of the space and architecturally incorporated functional elements that play into Kiva’s organizational culture. Local artist and fabricator John Whitmarsh collaborated with us to design the two open conference rooms as well as the woven, wood wall in the passageway, which separates reception from the body of the office. He came up

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nº2

with the idea to use old wood pallets fingered together to create two singular walls that define an open conference room. In order to represent the hundreds of people working for Kiva internationally, the small conference rooms lining the edge of the office are named after the cities where Kiva works. We laser cut the skylines of those cities into stencils and placed them on the doors of each room.

ability to preview the office upon entry. The woven, wood wall solution STUDIOS came up with maintained a visual connection to the central lounge and cost about fortythousand dollars less than the contractor’s estimate for a solid wall. The central lounge assists in creating a collaborative environment; it is an all-around meeting space that we use for training and brown bag events. We have “recess” there, where we move all the furniture out of the way and play games. Those events are part of being able to help our growing staff know one another and socialize. We also have a very flexible bike room that can be used for trainings or meetings if we need the space. Another pleasant “getting-to-know-you” space is the kitchen, where people can interact and share ideas on the blackboard top tables. We didn’t have a space in the old office to do any of those activities.

From the beginning of the process, Matt Flannery, Kiva’s co-founder and CEO, and Premal Shah, their president, emphasized the importance of infusing Kiva’s personality into the space. Their biggest fear, when they were starting out, was that Kiva would move into a bland space that did not capture the spirit that they embody on a day-to-day basis. We think we were successful in facilitating Kiva’s request. Since Kiva moved into the new space, the feedback has been very positive. Employees are excited to be on one floor; they feel more connected to their peers, and understand what is happening in different areas of the office. This space is not overly designed and rigid; it’s flexible, fun,

There is never the same number of people in the office from one day to the next. We have a volunteer training four times a year that brings in thirty people for a week before they go to in the field for four months. We also have more than thirty interns at a time working in the office. In our new space, we now can accommodate for all of the variations. The design of the office is flexible and incorporates many of the essential aspects of our organization. Visitors enjoy the organic feel and the stencils on the doors depicting the many places where we work. Our environment provides a way for everyone to connect; everything flows and relates much better and our staff is happier.

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An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

“The project has received positive press and has brought a new momentum to the pro bono program at STUDIOS.” — Andrew Clemenza

and simple. As a growing organization, the open design gives Kiva the ability to expand and accommodate the ebb and flow of people. The project has received positive press and has brought a new momentum to the pro bono program at STUDIOS. Completing a project through our pro bono program has helped STUDIOS upper management identify the value on mulitple levels. Our staff felt part of something bigger than themselves. Not only did it inspire staff, the connection to the community has benefited our business. People know and admire Kiva’s work. We have been able to share this project in interviews with new clients and it has made us more marketable to nonprofits. It is a wonderful story and we’re so glad to be a part of it. •

PRO BONO CASE STUDY / Nº2

At Kiva, we try not to spend too much money on things that are not necessary. The largest expense was upgrading all the desks and chairs. The commerical furniture dealer, One Workplace, worked closely with us to sell quality product at a discount. Although we did not have a big budget, STUDIOS helped us to create the best office in our building and I guarantee we did it at the lowest cost. STUDIOS came up with cost-effective and ingenious solutions that addressed our needs. Now that we are in our new environment, funders that have been involved with Kiva for a long time say that we have grown up. They can feel the difference, and are always very impressed. I’ve seen people tear up as they come in here because they feel like we have made our vision solid. The whole office has begun to think in a more forward, innovative way. •

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An ongoing series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1%

THE 1% PROGRAM

The 1% program is a first-of-its-kind effort to encourage pro bono service within the architecture and design professions. It connects nonprofits with architecture and design firms willing to give of their time. Visit www.theonepercent.org

PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE

Public Architecture is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in San Francisco. It engages architecture firms, nonprofits, and manufacturers to commit to design for the public good through its nationally recognized 1% program. Visit www.publicarchitecture.org

THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Visit www.aia.org

AIA STRATEGIC ALLIANCES + INITIATIVES

The AIA’s Strategic Alliances + Initiatives department is responsible for direction and oversight of AIA’s relationships with allied and nonprofit organizations that support key Institute initiatives related to collaboration, sustainability, globalization, and other industry transformation trends. Visit www.aia.org/alliances

All photography © Sharon Risedorph


Profile for Public Architecture

Kiva Headquarters - The 1% | AIA Strategic Alliances  

The second of an on-going series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1% who are making pro bono servic...

Kiva Headquarters - The 1% | AIA Strategic Alliances  

The second of an on-going series of case studies that feature projects by AIA members participating in The 1% who are making pro bono servic...

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