Meridian Design Associates, Architects P.C.: Winner of World Design Awards 2022. This LEED-certified project was a full upgrade of a historic building in Manhattan’s bustling Flatiron district. The building – once home to another, older media factory in the nineteenth century – was uniquely poised to host the headquarters of a present-day media analogue, Warner Bros. Discovery. Located at the corner of Park Avenue South and 19th Street, the 13-story building offered a wealth of existing architectural character in its cast iron and terracotta structure, use of brick, and classical proportions.
From the beginning of the project, it was clear that the design strategy would not only need to produce beautiful, functional spaces for end-users, but also facilitate a forward-looking perspective on how a healthy, restorative, and inclusive workplace could manifest in the 21st century. Three of the client’s previous leaseholds in the city, all of which came with their own logistical challenges, were all to be housed in the new headquarters. The minority-majority firm, working in close tandem with a woman-led real-estate and construction team, capitalized on building’s quintessential New York City character and, through tactful design decisions and thoughtful use of materials such as concrete and wood, rehabilitated the building to reflect its new station in a contemporary cityscape.
The project was founded on the principle that sustainability must be prioritized in the past, present, and future. Carpet was specified from manufacturers with carbon-negative footprints. Reclaimed and/or salvaged wood was implemented throughout the project as applied wall and door finishes. New natural wood finishes were all obtained from FSC-certified suppliers and all wood office fronts were sourced locally, specifically from Long Island, New York. Concrete, raised access flooring appears throughout the project, maximizing flexibility, streamlining electrical and low voltage distribution, and eliminating the need to replace flooring finishes in high-traffic areas.
The building couples its monumental presence with the energy of surrounding New York in a muted yet tasteful, warm yet vibrant palette of colors and textures. Beautiful yet aged columns, walls, and ceilings were restored utilizing dry ice; hardwood-finished walls and soft lighting now greet occupants and visitors. New amenities such as a subsidized café, a roof terrace, a newly constructed penthouse, a full-service wellness center, and flexible, multipurpose spaces throughout reinforce the new workplace paradigm of prioritizing a healthy, satisfied workforce over maximizing workplace density.
In positioning open workspaces, all of which are surrounded by native biophilia, at the perimeter of each floor and placing all enclosed, shared space and offices at each floors center, the design champions a people-centered use of the façade, emphasizing access, and thus equity, for its employees. The resulting design condenses the client’s former, sprawling real-estate footprint into one space with one unifying cultural vision – an agile, adaptable, equitable workplace. Since completion, employee surveys have reported an elevated, collective sense of comfort and security, highlighting the project’s objective; additionally, the project has a WELL Building Standard v2 application in progress for its design approach.
Meridian Design Associates, Architects P.C.
Antonio Argibay, AIA
Warner Bros. Discovery Global Headquarters
World Design Awards Category
New York City
Luciana Machado, Sr. Project Manager; Vinata Ciputra, Project Manager; CBRE; Outsource Consultants; Robert Director Associates; Gilsanz Murray Steficek; Reidy Contracting Group; Core Four Construction; Terrain; Bliss Fasman; Lighting Design Group; Clevenger Frable Lavalee; Cerami Associates; Ross & Baruzzini; Socotec; GHD Partners; Airspace; Hope Misterek; Ma Caputo & Associates
Meridian Design Associates, Architects P.C.: With offices in New York, Miami, and Seville, Spain, Meridian Design Associates is a nationally recognized leader in corporate, commercial, and media & entertainment workplace design and mission critical facility construction. Since its founding in 1981, Meridian Design Associates has implemented innovative workplace design strategies that imbue client workplace culture and prioritize end-user wellbeing through tactful, revolutionary technological applications.