Schaefer, Inc., a national structural engineering firm, was moving from Evendale, OH to downtown Cincinnati in a building with prime views to the city and the Ohio River. With a design goal to bring more natural light to the employees and encourage more collaboration, while remaining sensitive to their needs for focused work, Schaefer’s project vision was a new headquarters that communicated who they are and what they do.

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The work began with BHDP leading a visioning session with employees and leadership, and later performing the programming of the space. BHDP worked in tandem with other firms (SketchBlue – Columbus, Kimberly O Design – Columbus, and Terrex – Cincinnati) on the concept. Although it was a major challenge to collaborate across a large team of design firms and contractors, BHDP helped connect all partners and their contributions without losing the design intent. The modern, open-space features grand views of the river and includes exposed structures and ample daylight in meeting spaces for collaboration and focus. The new training room has the flexibility to be completely open with garage doors that extend seating when needed for all-staff meetings. Unique to this project, Schaefer employees personally built some of the office furniture and architectural elements, such as the custom ping pong table and conference table.

The new headquarters has helped boost their ability to attract and retain talent, and despite facing a new and longer commute for some, staff members have adapted well and are enjoying the workspace. Collaboration is increasing, and productivity is improving. Schaefer has also received an encouraging positive reaction from visitors and new hires.