Skanska regional office redesigned to meet Covid safety requirements

(Photo: duncan c/flickr)

Skanska USA’s new 17,000-square-foot Portland, Oregon, office is an example of how post-pandemic workplace design can help protect the health of employees but still retain the features that make working together in the right location a big draw.

The company spent almost $6.4 million renovating the top two floors of an historic warehouse in the city’s Pearl District, complete with rooftop deck. The renovation was in progress when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Skanska was able to make changes in the interest of health and safety, such as a layout that ensures 100% social distancing. The space also includes easy-to-sanitize surfaces, an open design with half-dividers and individual desks, conference rooms with clear plastic barriers between attendees, and an HVAC system equipped with ionization capabilities and MERV 13 filters.

Skanska started construction on the space in fall 2019 and completed the work in April 2020. The space is designed for 80 people, with 67 dedicated workstations and 11 flexible ones, according to Joe Schneider, Skanska USA senior vice president, but he added only 10 to 15 people are working there daily.

Other design features of the Portland office include:

  • A full bike room in the basement.
  • Showers.
  • An open staircase connecting the two floors of offices.
  • Large windows and a skylight to bring in natural light.
  • The Hub Collaboration Space, which offers the opportunity for open standup or sitting meetings and includes standing desks and large monitors.

The new office, Schneider said, is surrounded by restaurants, art galleries, brewpubs, shops and parks, and that, in addition to the vintage elements of the building, is why Skanska chose the location.

“It’s just a great part of town, and you have a lot of options,” he said.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that did not limit the interior renovations, Schneider said.

Read more at The Construction Dive