Part I – The Future Home of Equity Schools

We’ve always had nice offices in downtown Chicago – the kind with the polished stone conference tables, cushy chairs, projection screens, and all the trappings. Very nice (33rd floor of this shiny building).

But hardly anyone ever comes to our offices; we can go years between visits. Rather, we go out to our projects to become familiar with the operations, sites, people, communities, and anything else relevant we might find. And since every place is different, these excursions are essential for our work. I have absolutely no complaints about this (excepting the airport experience).

Nevertheless, we still need to do our creative work somewhere and, quite frankly, expensive Class A office space in downtown Chicago is “spendy” (this is a staff term). So, trying to be both practical and modern, we’ve also been using co-working spaces and online collaborations.

Our former office space – on the 33rd floor of this building.

But this is not a perfect solution. I still find that people working together in closer proximity brings all sorts of communication, collaboration, and outright fun. It also can enhance creativity and innovation. But are conventional office spaces the best places for this?

Out With the Old, In With the… Even Older

Last year I decided to make a project out of designing an “ideal” working space that can be friendly, productive, and fun. It also had to suit my working style and the working styles of people younger than me. This turned into a tougher challenge than it sounds, but I’m mostly enjoying it.

I’ll post updates as we make progress, but first I should show you the cool space I decided to lease. It’s in a 110-year-old, still-active train station (it rumbles when the trains come through), in a space that has been occupied primarily by mold for 20 years. No one is sure, but the evidence suggests it originally was a combination of drug store and ice cream parlor. Yes, I like it.

Here are some photos of our future home. I know it needs some work, and we’ve already done a lot, starting with evicting the mold. But, really, how could you not love this?

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