Prominent Midwest law firm Warner Norcross + Judd, one of the largest in Michigan, wanted to transform their new five-story office into a physical reminder of the firm’s mantra, “A Better Partnership.” Housed in a new mixed-use building in Grand Rapids’ Central Business District, the layout and relationship of each space helps realize that design narrative.

The 75,000-square-foot office’s topmost floor contains client-serving spaces including a lobby, conference space, client hoteling, kitchen, and exterior patio. An open staircase connects all five floors of the office (which occupies the top stories of the eponymous The Warner Building), reinforcing the way in which the firm’s attorneys and staff work to support their clients. The offices emphasize natural daylight throughout. Signature elements play up the firm’s branding and help support its efforts to hire and retain talented attorneys and staff.

Orienting spaces around the views helps ground the office in its locale. The Grand River makes a naturally panoramic backdrop for the west-facing main lobby and terrace, a layout echoed on all floors — more open, public spaces face west while those designed for privacy or needing more enclosure face east. Interior glass walls help natural light penetrate deeper into the building.

Ensuring flexibility across the space helps maximize its functionality and make the square footage more efficient. Meeting spaces on the top floor are divided with folding partitions so that they can be merged for larger groups. The floor’s doorways and fireplace provide architectural contouring that allows for multiple space uses. On the staff floors, enclosed offices around the perimeter double as small meeting rooms and underutilized space near the coffee nooks becomes staff collaboration areas. A consistent 12-foot planning module across all floors further reinforces the versatility of the office.

Warner Norcross + Judd Grand Rapids

Location Grand Rapids, MI
Size 75,000 sq. ft. New Construction
Status Completed 2019
Applications Work Environments
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Hear more about the design decisions behind this award winning project.

This video was originally published by AIA Grand Rapids.

I speak for the entire firm today to say how incredibly thrilled we are with our new Grand Rapids home...the finished space truly exceeded our expectations and will provide a gracious opportunity for us to welcome clients and our community partners, as well as offer a flexible, functional workspace that meets the needs of attorneys and staff.

Douglas Dozeman, Managing Partner