Gusto's new office at historic Pier 70 tells a story about revitalization, community engagement, and business relationships. Once a machine shop for military destroyers and submarines, the former Union Ironworks Machine Shop Building, opened in 1883, was reborn as a larger-than-life living room where Gusties and their guests go shoeless for an unprecedented workplace experience. As a mission-driven company, Gusto serves their clients by providing a payroll, benefits, and HR platform for more than 60,000 businesses. Their goal is to provide ways for small and medium-sized business owners to make HR more personal and community-oriented. By building them a unique and highly-tailored work environment, our team hoped to support their growth and innovative ideas.
Designing within the historic building retrofit by Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, our team explored topological analogs– cathedrals, warehouses, train stations, and similar cavernous spaces –to evaluate which programmatic uses were best suited to Gusto's specific way of working. Ultimately, inspiration was found in the living room-like waiting area of an historic train station revitalization project, and the team looked at ways of translating this furniture and architectural relationship to the building conditions at Pier 70. Occupying the central atrium and spreading under and over the mezzanine, the Living Room frames the main view corridor from the public lobby and becomes the space where people come together to work. In the open workplace neighborhoods flanking the Living Room, acoustics are mitigated with perforated corrugated metal panels. Glass walls on two sides of every meeting room support the port's desire to keep views to the exterior facade in prominent focus. A variety of spaces, open and enclosed, are offered for individual choice of how and where people want to work. This accommodates individual attention spans, from high level focus to welcome distractions and energetic collaboration.