S.J. Berwin LLP; London
HOK International, hok.com, in association with Seth Stein Architects
$177 per square foot, $31.8 million totalRather than deny the workaholic ways of corporate lawyers, S.J. Berwin decided to embrace them and asked HOK (a design firm known for its work for AT&T, Cisco and Fortune's parent company, Time Inc.) to make its headquarters resemble a boutique hotel. "One of the senior lawyers said, 'I want this building to be the place to be,'" says Ralph Courtenay, director of HOK International.
So instead of a staff cafeteria, there are multiple cafés and a takeout deli, plus a dietitian to advise on eating for best performance. Sleep pods are available for naps, and there's a gym with yoga and Pilates classes. Bike storage and showers encourage compliance with London's emphasis on alternative transportation.
The partners also wanted the building to be a display case for clients, a hive of visible activity within the firm. HOK cut multilevel courts through the floor plates, and lawyers work from glass offices. All levels of staff can see daylight - and views of the Thames, from democratic "breakout spaces," wireless lounges with good coffee. Finally, the canteen has huge screens on which England's World Cup matches were shown. The only question: Can 500-thread-count sheets be far behind?