RiverRock Real Estate Corporate Headquarters

Irvine, California

An open, collaborative workplace that gives the company’s ‘rock stars’ a reason to go back to the office.

The renovation of a 40-year building was tailored for RiverRock’s specific values, culture and philosophy, while creating a model for a hybrid workplace. The commercial real estate firm calls employees “rock stars” and prioritizes an environment that nurtures and supports staff and clients.

The free-standing, single-story building next to the 405 Freeway was a dark, closed-off building with a nondescript interior and no connection to the outdoors. It had been largely untouched for 30 years. But it had good bones, including skylights that brought abundant natural light into the interior space.

The new design opened the layout, providing an array of collaborative spaces and flexibility in how and where people work. One full wall was replaced with a glass wall, bringing natural light into collaborative spaces. Sliding glass doors connect the spaces to the exterior, expanding the workspace and creating natural ventilation and a healthier environment. Enclosed spaces were moved away from the existing skylights to allow the natural light into gathering areas. A round lobby, dubbed the “rotunda,” was added to create a transition between the outdoors and the entrance to RiverRock’s world.

In the new layout, there are fewer workstations than employees; lockers are provided to store work materials. Workstations are separated to give everyone a sense of space and security, while creating a central area for the “rock stars” to gather and work. LPA lighting designers helped define spaces and highlight art and different activity zones. Fixtures were integrated into the design to aid wayfinding, draw people through the space and create a rhythm to the different zones.

From the start, the layout was designed for flexibility, with the recognition that the firm’s work habits may change. The design also carves out two spaces for lease, which can be expanded or contracted depending on the company’s future needs.

At each step of the process, designers considered ways to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. Wherever possible, the building’s existing elements were reused. Private offices were maintained on the edges of the space. Furniture from the previous office was repurposed. Materials were carefully selected to reduce embedded carbon and to accent environments.

“The design process was inspiring and helped us understand where we needed to go and a vision of how to get there. In so many ways, we didn't know what we wanted, and LPA helped us figure that out.”
- RiverRock founder and principal John Combs

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