For employees at Chicago-based bike parts manufacturer SRAM, cycling is much more than a hobby; for many, it's their primary mode of transportation. When the company decided to relocate, they hired architecture and design firm Perkins+Will to create a space that fit their unique needs. The result is a 72,000-square-foot office with bike lanes, workspace bike racks, tire-filling areas, a bike washing station, and a full locker room with showers. There are also enough racks in the basement for 200 bikes.
"SRAM believes in the power of bicycles to transform lives, and in their new office, we wanted to design a space that helps their culture celebrate that," Perkins+Will's Interior Design Global Practice Leader Fred Schmidt says.
“We originally began this project in May of 2012, with SRAM moving into their new office in May 2015,” a representative for Perkins+Will told mental_floss. “The project took three years to complete due to the former cold storage building’s having to thaw, prolonging the renovation process. The actual design process took 18 months, post-thaw.”
The firm was given a list of objectives by the executives at SRAM that included elements like privacy for HR, flexible communal spaces, space for machining and testing the parts that they manufacture, and the various “support features” for the cycling employees.
“There were certainly challenges when thinking about combining pedestrian and bicycle traffic within the same office, but the approach was to clearly delineate where the bicycle traffic was by way of the test track," a representative for the firm tells mental_floss of how the design team was able to make the space work for both walking and biking workers. "The speed at which bicyclists travel inside the office isn’t very fast, but we still approached it as bicycle lanes are handled on City of Chicago streets today by highlighting key paths where this traffic crosses, with the 'green' caution areas and graphics.”
Check out the video and images above for a closer look at the one-of-a-kind work space.
All images via Perkins+Will / ©Michelle Litvin Studio