Design Consultation . Santa Monica, California
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Law Offices
Weehawken, NJ
June 1990

The law offices for this firm of three partners and three associates were to move from Hoboken and New York to a single location on a renovated pier on the Hudson River. The pier was converted from an abandoned ferry terminal to raw commercial space by the Hartz Development Corporation, which also was building the Riva Pointe Condominium development one pier south. They offered Hayden, Perle and Silber free architectural services with the signing of the lease, but their preliminary plan was so far from what the firm wanted they hired Whitehead & Co. (just formed and not yet incorporated) freshly out of school.

The design for the four thousand square feet had to reflect the individual personalities whic made up the firm (it was, in fact, a partnership of professional corporations, rather than individuals), and at the same time impress prospective clients with the unified, coherent image of a boutique law firm. The offices for the six lawyers were set along the south window wall in a saw- toothed arrangement. This gave each office its own identity when they were viewed from the large, open, secretarial area.

A client approaching the office was brought into the central work area visually, but waited in a comfortable area separate from it. The reception area and the main conference room were on the major axis of the space, both with views into the work area. The law library and the support spaces (copy room, minor conference room, and law library) were grouped along the north wall. A client would walk in a controlled circulation zone that fit between this support zone and the central work area, so they were shielded from the chaos of a working office.

The clients were pleased with the design, the senior partner of the firm, Joseph Hayden said at the final meeting, "Your creativity has made our lives better." For our first commercial and only project that was a mark of a resounding success.

(In 2004 the firm was dissolved and the next tenant gutted the space.)

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