Boundless is officially on the map at 38º 53′ 46.8632″, -77º 4′ 22.6549. After a year of co-working, co-locating and telecommuting, Boundless has moved into a new permanent headquarters in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Virginia. It is just blocks from Metro, has a bike room, commuter showers, a big kitchen and, yes, it even has a ping pong table. Most importantly, it’s ours.
Our endgame was to find an office in a neighborhood that was close to to transit, bikeable, and with walkable amenities, and to design the office to encourage collaboration among our teams, keep them happy, and play host to the larger open source community.
We began our search along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor of Arlington County and Alexandria in Northern Virginia with our real estate broker, Greg Miele of Broad Street Realty. After months of hunting, our broker found this space, which was perfect on almost all counts. The office was designed in-house with collaboration from the DC office staff. OTJ Architects was the architect of record and Monday Properties Construction built out the space.
Our executive team wanted the office to be a collaborative effort and address the needs and desires of everyone working there. The process of designing the space began by asking people what they wanted to have in our office. I created an idea board collected several dozen articles and photos from staff.
We have a variety of Boundless staff located in the DC area: our executive team and project management team are here alongside members of our design, engineering, and sales teams. They all have different needs that needed to be addressed: Our executive team needs privacy but to be available. Our sales teams needs acoustical privacy and areas to meet with clients. Our design team needs space to brainstorm and collaborate on ideas for our new products. Our project managers need comfortable spaces to make phone calls and hold meetings with the engineering teams. Our software engineers need a place to focus but be available to each other. All need private space to make phone calls or to just work alone. And everyone wants whiteboards!
We included a variety of spaces to work: common meeting spaces, lounge chairs, big tables, phone rooms clustered desks, multi-person offices, a lounge area and an area to demo software to clients, with comfortable seats and a projector. A variety of modular furniture was purchased or built: staff had a choice between shared desks, standing desks or regular solo desks. I kept the purchasing open so staff could specify the type of furniture they wanted to work at. The result is a comfortable, functional office for our developers, designers and management to collaborate and work together in while they’re developing and improving the Boundless software stack.
The color scheme is bright. I found some knock-out wallpaper from Flavor Paper. The floors were sealed with shiny varnish to increase the reflection of natural light. We used energy efficient day-light spectrum lighting fixtures. I choose soft-colored woods and glossy laminates to enhance the feeling of openness and brightness. All the whiteboards (over 400 sq ft of whiteboards abound) also keep the light bouncing and lively. Hint: here’s a great way to make large whiteboards on the cheap.
Exposure to natural light was the most requested amenity but the space has just about twenty linear feet of floor-to-ceiling glass along about a hundred feet of exterior wall. I maximized the amount of light entering the space by removing a private office that took up about ten of those linear feet and kept the majority of the space open. The other two offices with windows were opened up with large interior facing windows. A series of smaller offices along an interior wall are divided by glass partitions. All of the offices have a visual connection with each other, allowing not only natural light to flow through but also encouraging visual contact among staff.
The space also has a large event facility that will host to meetups and events, like the recent Women in Geospatial event.