'Pallotta TeamWorks is a journey; the journey is the metaphor for the building' - Client, CEO. The Client’s company was founded with a ‘vision of re-inventing charity fund-raising by bringing the most intelligent practices of the most successful businesses to the realm of common human decency.’ The company needed to consolidate their growing team into a single, creative and inspiring new headquarters, and approached the architects in March, 2001, having found 47,000 sq. ft. of new open unconditioned warehouse space with an already built-out office mezzanine. The CEO’s inspired vision for the new workplace had to be reconciled with a severely limited construction budget of $40 per sq. ft, forcing a radical approach to the process of creating a work environment in a warehouse shed. Rather than sacrificing other functional aspirations, the MEP components were targeted to find ways of reducing spending on cooling, heating and lighting. Close collaboration with the Client, whose culture of responsibility embraces alternative and sustainable strategies, enabled an investigation into the possibilities of a partially conditioned environment. Southern California’s optimal climate allows a wider temperature comfort range: heat gains were minimized with full roof insulation, by reduced artificial lighting with mainly fluorescent light fittings, and by maximizing daylight through skylights. A concept of ‘Breathing Islands’ was developed. Air conditioning was limited to those areas where staff spend the most time working, with circulation areas treated as streets or pathways, with no direct conditioning. Potential cost savings of 50% on the initial MEP budget were identified, releasing funds to support the Client’s vision of a playful and creative work environment. Taking cues from the mobile 'tent cities' created by the Client to shelter charity event participants each night, the 'breathing' tented islands were devised to act as giant air diffusers, minimizing the volume of conditioned air required for comfortable working. The tents also provide intimate and distinct work neighborhoods, distributing air and reflecting diffused light. Suspended from the roof support column grid, to avoid adding any new structure, they stretch in different directions according to programmatic needs of the workspaces. Their corners are anchored down by prefabricated shipping containers, which, at an average cost of $3,400 each, were the least costly way to house private offices and support facilities. Air, power and sprinkler feeds funnel directly down from the roof, supported by the columns. Entering the building through a large screen-printed sunshade, the reception area features an island desk modeled on Buckminster Fullers’ Dymaxion world map, a projection showing the continents as one continuous land mass, accurately reflecting their true surface areas, showing no boundaries or states. From this area, a dark blue open-ended shipping container forms a portal to the main volume of the building and onto the main street, leading on to the square with its executive tower, a 3-high six-pack of orange containers. The backdrop to the square is a 2-storey gallery of rough wood framing containing meeting rooms, audio and video recording studios, and support staff working areas. The project achieved target comfort and utility goals, as well as supporting a responsible green approach to resource efficiency. Color Inspiration: Color on the project was very deliberately used to choreograph views and distinguish more public and neighborhood zones. A dark blue open ended shipping container creates a deliberate transitional experience from the bright entry into the interior landscape beyond, framing ones initial view into the dramatic white tent landscape. Set against the crisp white of the tents is a palette of varying blues used at the four corners of each neighborhood. The palette was developed to subtly vary the views and enhance the sense of depth and composition of neighborhood forms without confusing the clarity of the tents. The café container and ‘tower on the square’, the most public zones, ‘speak out’ strongly in this sea of white and blue painted in a brilliant orange. Gloss paint is used for all these forms to enhance the effect of the bright colors. Set against this saturated palette is a variety of more muted earthy tones used on the floor of the tent neighborhoods. In combination with the exposed concrete in the circulation zone, this ground plane is reminiscent of the actual ground present in the mobile tent cities that the charity creates.