SPACE: THE NEXT FRONTIER
Since much of Atlanta's recent leasing comes from law firms, we asked an expert about trends in their use of space. Harry Ludwig is facilities and admin chief for King & Spalding, and since they've grown from five offices to 14 in less than four years, he should know a thing or two. K&S updated the design of its offices when they relocated to 1180 Peachtree from 191 Peachtree in ?06. (K&S is the anchor tenant occupying two-thirds of this Hines development, the world?s second high-rise to get LEED Gold.) Among the changes: standardized offices (one size for partners, one for associates), one centralized cafeteria (no more lawyers? dining room), and an emphasis on flexibility and functionality.
The firm introduced ?flex zones? on each floor that can be converted from offices to work or conference rooms overnight, and movable aisles to save the law library 60% of its customary space. K&S also locates document production and childcare services at a nearby annex to save costs. Other changes to improve sustainability and efficiency: motion sensors for lighting, low-maintenance furnishings and finishes, and enhanced security. The magnitude of relocating a half-million square-foot firm means that Harry?s team began weighing options years before its lease was up.
This is K&S?s most traditional room: The firm was the first in Atlanta to build its own mock courtroom. Like many law firms, K&S is subletting excess space while retaining the option to take it back. Some firms are putting two associates in one office, and even considering one office size for all lawyers, eliminating the prestigious partner-sized office. Still, as long as developers don't build too many round buildings, the corner office seems safe.