How Exposed Brick Can Help a Mission
Youth for Understanding’s HQ in the Wonder Bread Factory in Shaw still has that new office smell. So it’s great timing to have the nonprofit speak about its quest for new space at our upcoming Real Estate Strategies for Associations and Law Firms on April 14. Sign up here.
Hickok Cole principal Sean Wayne (above) worked closely with YFU, an intercultural student exchange program, to design its space. (He’ll speak about design trends at our event.) He tells us the nonprofit spent 11 years in Chevy Chase, in an older, remote building about as far away from amenities as you could get. Its new leader, Michael Hill, wanted a HQ and a surrounding community that would represent the demographics of its staff and the students that the YFU exchange programs serve.
YFU moved into its new 32k SF HQ last fall, with the intention of subleasing some of the excess space. The organization was confident the building and the surrounding Shaw community would be a draw for smaller nonprofits. (In case you don’t know Shaw, it’s bound by M Street, Florida Avenue and 11 Street near the U Street corridor.) Since then, three like-minded nonprofits have moved in and are sharing a cafe, a lower-level conference center and multi-purpose room, a large flexible board room and a reception area. Sean says the extra square footage will come in handy for YFU’s future growth.
Sean says the location and character of the Wonder Bread Factory helped inform the look and feel of the space for YFU. He says a nonprofit or association’s space can’t be so dissimilar from the its culture, so YFU liked aesthetics such as exposed brick walls and ceilings and concrete floors to help communicate its image. Giving the majority of staff smaller offices and workstations gave YFU the opportunity to have larger amenity spaces such as a central cafe and conference area that are arranged to create a connection among staff and expose the historic nature of the building. We’ll have lots more detail about YFU’s space and other associations at our April 14 event at the Renaissance DC. Join us!