University of Pittsburgh – IT Department Hybrid Office

  • area / size 12,500 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • DesignGroup designed the IT Department Hybrid Office for the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Like many universities, particularly those on urban campuses, the University of Pittsburgh is running out of space.

    It’s part of the reason its information technology department decided to dive headfirst into adopting hybrid on-site and remote work, taking a leading role in economizing office space. The resulting reconfiguration, anchored by a $3.7 million renovation by architecture firm DesignGroup, reduced the group’s footprint by more than 66 percent.

    Though the IT team embraced a hybrid model even before COVID-19, creating the new space—one that downsized from their previous four locations into something singular, smaller and more efficient—kicked off in December 2020. Designing and constructing during the pandemic was just one of the challenges DesignGroup faced in revamping the off-campus building, a former health clinic at 3512 Fifth Ave. that was unveiled as IT’s new home this year.

    The renovated 12,500 square feet of space eschew wall-to-wall cubicles in favor of a balance between fully open and completely private workspaces for the department’s 310 team members, 50 of whom can comfortably work on-site on a given day. “Hoteling” offices in the style of telephone booths provide space for focused work, while spacious and open collaborative areas allow people to plug in alongside their teammates.

    More than 70 lockers are provided in lieu of desk drawers, so every IT team member who is on campus has a place to stash their things. Doors are glass, allowing colleagues to see who is in the office, while simultaneously prioritizing acoustic comfort with noise dampening pieces, including large textile lighting fixtures and decorative wall panels.

    A third-floor conference room upsends traditional office design expectations by doing away with the formal, intimidating conference table and instead designing around group seating, dividing the larger space into collaboration zones with sliding walls of glass marker boards. Large monitors create a stronger feeling of cohesion between onsite and remote workers by enabling employees who are video conferencing to appear more physically present in the room.

    The final touch, a subtle use of hues echoing or complementing Pitt royal blue and gold, stamp the space with campus spirit to align with Pitt IT branding.

    Design: DesignGroup
    Photography: CKP Studio