Chamberlain Hrdlicka Offices – Houston

Gensler designed Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s modern and collaborative Houston headquarters renovation, emphasizing natural light, communal spaces, wellness features, and sound engineering for a transformative employee experience.

  • Client Chamberlain Hrdlicka,
  • size 55,178 sqft
  • Year 2023
  • Location Houston, Texas, United States,
  • Industry Law Firm / Legal Services,
  • Chamberlain Hrdlicka recently completed the approximately $6 million renovation of its Houston headquarters at Two Allen Center, the office tower located at 1200 Smith Street in downtown Houston. The growth-driven, extensive renovation has transformed Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s office space into a modern, inviting, collaborative environment designed to foster teamwork, training and mentoring, and elevate the overall employee experience.

    Chamberlain Hrdlicka brought together a diverse design committee, including shareholders, associates and staff to ensure the new space reflects the firm’s culture of excellence and collaboration in a value-driven manner. Architecture, design and planning firm Gensler, along with commercial construction company O’Donnell Snider, collaborated closely to bring the vision to life, with support from Cushman & Wakefield team, led by Tim Relyea, who also assisted with the lease extension.

    Key highlights of the renovation include:
    New Monumental Staircase: A stunning internal staircase now connects previously separate 13th and 14th floors, to foster collaboration and improve office flow. This architectural centerpiece serves as a conduit for enhanced interaction among employees and visitors.

    Maximizing Daylight: The renovation prioritized maximizing natural light throughout the workspace. All external offices were designed with glass walls, creating a brighter and more inviting workspace especially for those on the inside areas. Emphasis on access to daylight extends to communal spaces and seating areas, encouraging interactions and idea-sharing.

    State-of-the-Art AV Equipment: State-of-the-art audiovisual equipment – including a dedicated “Zoom Room” – facilitates seamless remote collaboration between offices and enhances client service.

    Communal Spaces: Redesigned communal areas include The Terrace – a café–inspired break room surrounded by plants to create an outdoor dining experience; four new conference rooms; and the redesigned, open-concept visitor lobby with several sitting areas for enhanced collaboration. The firm intends to use the spacious reception area for community events, as part of its commitment to giving back to Houston.

    Environmental Impact: The renovation had a minimal environmental impact through the design team’s ability to leverage existing architecture. The improved layout was achieved by surgically removing design barriers such as outdated ceiling beams and opening enclosed spaces, keeping waste at a minimum.

    Wellness: Thanks to the natural light, plants have been incorporated throughout the office, including breakrooms, conference rooms, and the visitor lobby to improve air quality, reduce stress, and enhance employees’ well-being. Acoustic properties were also considered. In addition to updating an existing Mother’s Room, a Wellness Room for work breaks was added with a reclining sofa from Gallery Furniture. Sit-to-stand desks and other ergonomic furniture pieces provide comfort and support health.

    Sound Engineering: To eliminate noise pollution, sound engineers installed a sound masking system that absorbs, blocks, and covers disruptive sounds, provides improved conversation privacy, and creates a more peaceful and productive office.

    Soft Touches: Houston-based small batch coffee roastery, Zeppelin Coffee created a custom Chamberlain Hrdlicka coffee blend, with the top flavor voted on by the entire office. Other enhanced offerings include organic teas, nitro brews and flavored sparkling water as well as a curated self-checkout pantry of fresh grab-and-go options, from healthy snacks to full meals.

    Decreased on-site paper files: As the way law firms work today changes, Chamberlain Hrdlicka was able to reduce its library space and significantly cut down space needed to store on-site paper files, freeing up room for additional offices and collaboration areas.

    Design: Gensler
    Photography: Grant Gay courtesy of Gensler