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Global firm with NC State roots lands new office in downtown Raleigh

An international architecture firm founded 50 years ago by former N.C. State faculty members has established a permanent presence in downtown Raleigh.

Design Workshop has announced it will be moving into a new studio and office space at 301 N. West St. this month after growing out of a coworking space.

“We were in Spaces in The Dillon since July of last year while looking for permanent space and testing the waters and (considering) the size we wanted our office to be,” says Emily McCoy, co-office director with Design Workshop. “Finally, we were able to find a space near the Oyster Bar on West Street … that was converted to offices.”

She says the firm was attracted to the aesthetic of the century-old building that’s been adapted for reuse by boutique development firm Atlas Stark Holdings, which acquired the property about a year ago.

Talks to start a Design Workshop office in Raleigh began a few years ago, and last summer, McCoy launched the temporary studio in The Dillon to begin sourcing projects and building a presence in the region.

“It was just me initially,” McCoy says. “Our offices work really collaboratively. I was working really closely with our Houston and Austin offices.”

Today, the Raleigh office has five staff members, and the new space has room for twice that.

Meanwhile, new projects have been piling up, with the new office landing jobs with Wake County, the City of Raleigh, a church with properties in Durham. It is also collaborating on jobs in South Carolina, Canada and elsewhere.

And while the Raleigh office is the company’s first in the region, Design Workshop traces its local origins back to1969. Joe Porter, Don Ensign and two other faculty members at N.C, State University started the company as a space to collaborate and explore new ideas. Since then, the company has grown to include offices in multiple states and countries around the world.

The new Raleigh office is the company’s eighth in the U.S. McCoy says they chose Raleigh for its relatively central location in the Southeast and it’s livability.

Raleigh, we chose strategically as a central hub … of the Southeast,” she says. “We have a great airport, we have N.C. State, which is a huge asset – not only as a pipeline for high-quality talent but also as a brain trust – have high-quality living for potential new candidates whose spouse may be in the (medical) industry and other drivers to support families coming here and moving here.”

McCoy says the team is also excited to capitalize on the region’s growth and the need for high-profile public spaces that frequently proceed with rapid urban growth.

“Great cities have high-quality open space, and I think with (Covid-19), people’s interest in high-quality open spaces (is growing),” McCoy says. “And we hope to be a part of that movement of more investment in open spaces.”

Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal